HIMARS Rockets Fired from Navy Amphib, Destroy Target
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — Rockets fired from a vehicle parked on the flight deck of a Navy ship destroyed a target 70 kilometers away during a demonstration of an innovative use of existing technology.
According to an Oct. 23 release from Expeditionary Strike Group 3, the launch was conducted Oct. 22 from the deck of the San Antonio-class amphibious platform dock ship USS Anchorage in the Pacific Ocean during Exercise Dawn Blitz. The rockets were launched from a 5-ton M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a normally land-based artillery system used by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.
“The HIMARS is a C-130 transportable, wheeled, indirect fire (IDF) rocket/missile system capable of firing all current and future rockets as well as missiles in the Multiple-Launch Rocket System Family of Munitions,” according to its entry in the January 2017 Seapower Almanac. “The HIMARS launcher consists of a fire-control system, carrier [vehicle] and launcher-loader module that performs all operations necessary to complete a fire mission. The basic system includes one launcher, one resupply vehicle and two resupply trailers. HIMARS accurately engages target ranges — in excess of 40 miles — with high volumes of lethal precision fires in all weather conditions and throughout all phases of combat operations ashore.”
In the Marine Corps, the HIMARS, built by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control, achieved initial operational capability on Sept. 20, 2014.
Fire support for Marine units ashore from naval vessels has been a persistent issue since the demise of the battleships and heavy cruisers and their large-caliber naval guns. The highly accurate HIMARS is one potential alternative solution, able to provide precision fire support from ranges in excess of those provided by conventional artillery and therefore able to support forces deeper inland from a landing zone.
“This portion of Dawn Blitz validated the commander’s ability to integrate HIMARS with ships to conduct a sea-based strike,” the release said.