M142 HIMARS [REVIEW + SPECS] | Defence Database
M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launcher
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M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a multiple rocket launcher capable of firing six 227 mm M270 series rockets or one MGM-140 ATACMS tactical ballistic missile.

Developed in 1996 and produced by Lockheed Martin, the rocket launcher system is mounted on an M1140 truck manufactured by BAE Systems Mobility & Protection Systems (formerly Armor Holdings, Inc.).

Author: U.S. Army photo
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Being mounted on a M1140 6x6 truck, HIMARS is lighter than the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System and basically being the wheeled version of the M270, the ammunition of these two artillery systems is interchangeable. Also, due to its dimensions, HIMARS can be easily transported by air with C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Designed as a highly mobile rocket launcher, HIMARS has only one pod unlike the heavier M270 MLRS which has two pods and carry twelve 227 mm M270 series rockets.

The M1140 truck

The M1140 truck is part of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) that are based on a common chasis.

Is has a 6x6 chasis with the cabin protected by light armor. The truck itself weights 5 tons. The total weight with the rocket launcher system installed is 11,000 kg (24,000 lb).

The dimensions of the M142 HIMARS are 7 m in length, 2.4 m in width and 3.2 m in height.

The vehicle has a range of 480 km, and a maximum speed on road of 85 km/h. This make HIMARS ideal for fire-and-move tactics. It can engage a variety of ground targets including armored vehicles an infantry and after launching its payload it can quickly leave its location.

M142 HIMARS has a crew of three persons including the driver, the gunner and the Launcher Chief. The cabin is armored and its windows are made of glass and layers of sapphire.

Missiles Used:

- The 227 mm M270 series rockets

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System can fire the same 227 mm rockets as the M270 MLRS. While MLRS has two pods with six rockets each, HIMARS has only one pod.

The heavier tracked M270 MLRS artillery system and HIMARS, its lighter wheeled version uses the MLRS Family Of Munition (MFOM) including the 227 mm series rockets.

The rockets from the 227 mm (8.94 in) caliber series, have a lenght of 3.94 m (12.93 ft) and are propelled by a solid-fuel rocket engine. This series include:

- The M26 artillery rocket: M26 is an unguided rocket armed with 644 M77 DPICM submunitions. DPICM (Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions) are anti-personnel and anti-materiel munitions which before hitting the target, are dispersed in mid-air and detonate on impact. M26 is the standard MLRS rocket, weighs 306 kg (675 lb) and has a range of 20 mi (32 km). - M26A1 is armed with 518 M85 DPICM submunitions, has a range of over 45 km (28 mi) and weights 296 kg (650 lb). - M26A2 rocket is armed with 518 M77 DPICM submunitions, having the same range and weight as the M26A1. - M30 rocket is guided through GPS (Global Positioning System) and INS (Inertial Navigation System). Armed with 404 M85 DPICM submunitions it has a range of 70 km (43 mi). - The M31, as the M30 is a GPS/INS guided rocket with the same range of 70 km (43 mi). It is armed with unitary HE with a weight of 90 kg (200 lb). - AT2 SCATMIN is a scatterable anti-tank mine with a range of 39 km (24 mi) and a weight of 254 kg (561 lb).


The HIMARS pod can also be armed with one ATACMS rocket instead of the six 227 mm rockets.

MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a tactical ballistic missile with a maximum range of 300 km (190 mi) that can be fired from both the older M270 MLRS and the newer M142 HIMARS.

Designed in 1986 by Ling-Temco-Vought and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, ATACMS was first used in 1991 in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, when 32 such missiles were fired by M270 multiple rocket launcher.

MGM-140 ATACMS came in four variants, the latest being Block IVA:

- MGM-140A Block I (innitialy designated M39): is an unguided missile having a range of 80 mi and armed with 950 M74 anti-personnel/anti-materiel (APAM) submunitions. - MGM-140B Block IA (innitialy designated M39A1): is a GPS/INS guided missile with a maximum operational range of 103 miles (165 km) and armed with 275 M74 submunitions. - MGM-164 ATACMS Block II (initially designated M39A3, later MGM-140C): this variant supposed to be armed with 13 Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) submunitions was eventually canceled. - MGM-168 ATacMS Block IVA (initially designated Block IA Unitary / MGM-140E): is a GPS/INS guided missile armed with a range of 300 km (190 mi) and armed with M74 bomblets.

Current operators:

- United States: United States Army and United States Marine Corps - Singapore: 18 units - United Arab Emirates: 20 units - Jordan: 12 units

Future operators:

- Romania: ordered 54 launch vehicles, 81 M31A1 Unitary rockets, 81 M30A1 Alternative warhead rockets and 54 MGM-140 ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles in a deal worth $1.5 billion. - Poland: the central European state finally decided in October to purchase 56 HIMARS launch vehicles.

Possible users:

- Canada - Qatar: plans to spend an estimated $406 million on seven HIMARS systems along with 60 M57 MGM-140 ATACMS Block 1A T2K unitary rockets and 30 M31A1 GMLRS unitary rockets - Spain plans to replace it aging Teruel MRL systems with M142 HIMARS

M142 HIMARS - General Data and Specifications:
Type Rocket artillery, Tactical ballistic system
Place of Origin United States of America
Manufacturer and Builders Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control
BAE Systems (Chassis)
Program & Unit Cost Unit cost:
$5.1 million (2014)
Mass / Weight 35,800 lb / 16,200 kg
Length 7 m / 23 ft 0 in
Width 2.4 m / 7 ft 10.5 in
Height 3.2 m / 10 ft 6 in
crew 3
Speed 85 km/h / 52.8 mph
Operational Range 480 km / 298 mi
Armor Light armor
Caliber 227 mm / 8.9 in
Rate of Fire 1, 2, 4, All 6
Firing Range Effective firing range:
between 2 km (1.2 mi) and 300 km (190 mi)

Maximum firing range:
300 km (190 mi)
Traverse 360