U.S. Marines simulated amphibious raid with HIMARS M142 rocket missile launcher

U.S. Marines with 3rd Marine Division demonstrated the mobility and lethality of the M142 HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System during a simulated amphibious raid, Aug. 14, 2019.

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A landing craft, utility assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), lowers its ramp to unload a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, as part of a simulated amphibious raid, at Kin Blue, Okinawa, Japan, August 14, 2019. (Picture source U.S. DoD Lance Cpl. Joshua Sechse)

The training provides an opportunity for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy to enhance their interoperability and develop new methods of integrating Marine assets into the naval expeditionary force. During the operation, a HIMARS platoon from 12th Marine Regiment successfully loaded personnel and equipment onto a U.S. Navy landing craft, utility, where it was then transferred to another location and offloaded onshore for follow-on missions.

This capability makes HIMARS a more lethal and extensive asset. “This exercise helps showcase our unit’s mobility and the mobility of the HIMARS in the Indo-Pacific,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Pablo Villegas, a HIMARS operator who participated in the training. He went on to say that HIMARS are typically driven over land or inserted into an area of operations via aircraft, now that HIMARS are able to be transported via an LCU, there are no limits to where the HIMARS can be.

This operation is the first of many opportunities 3rd Marine Division will have to incorporate HIMARS with naval assets. “We brought the launcher out here because it allows us to integrate with other agencies in the Navy and Marine Corps,” said 1st Lt. Emil Bruch, the platoon commander for the HIMARS platoon that participated in the exercise. “We’ve never integrated with the 31st [Marine Expeditionary Unit] and this is a way to further enhance our relationship going forward.”

Having HIMARS in the Indo-Pacific allows U.S. forces to shape the battlespace, whether in the air, land or sea. The extended range and high accuracy of the system make it essential for expeditionary advanced base operations.

The M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is multiple rocket launcher system mounted to a 6x6 FMTV truck chassis. HIMARS was developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control under an advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) program, placed in 1996.

The HIMARS can fire the standard MLRS round, but also entire MLRS family of munitions, including the extended-range rocket, the reduced-range practice rocket and all future variants. It can also fire the extended range guided rocket GMLRS, with a range of more than 70 km. The HIMARS is also capable to fire the TACMS Tactical Missile with a maximum range of 300 km.

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