The Ministry of Defence is investigating ways of providing the UK’s Armed Forces with a new lightweight artillery system capable of accurately firing missiles at up to twice the range of existing rockets.
According to the MoD, the Lightweight Mobile Artillery System (Rocket)(LIMAWS(R)), will give the UK’s light forces a major advantage on thebattlefield as it is light enough to be transported by Chinook orHercules, but powerful enough to launch precision Global PositioningSystem (GPS) guided rockets to ranges of more than 60 kilometres.
The lightweight LIMAWS(R) vehicles will each carry six rockets that are 10times more accurate than existing rocket systems. These can be fitted with a variety of different warheads depending on the intended target.
An Assessment Phase contract has been awarded to Bedfordshire-based INSYS Ltd. This will see the design, build and trial of a systemsdemonstrator before work begins on final development in the next two years. The system is expected to enter service in late 2007. The entire programme is expected to cost approximately £100 million.
‘Although similar long-range systems do exist, this one is unique thanks to its very lightweight design, meaning it can be moved by a Hercules aircraft or carried underneath a Chinook helicopter,’ said Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach. ‘This means it can access difficult areas extremely quickly – providing high-volume precision fire support to ground forces.’
The system is made up of three parts: a six-wheeled, four-wheel drive Supacat vehicle and self-loading launcher mechanism from Lockheed Martin, and a three-man cab from ABT.