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PostHeaderIcon US Army searches for cluster munitions alternatives

News - North America

The US military has taken a step forward in its efforts to replace its arsenal of cluster munitions with more reliable warheads, for which flight testing has begun.

On 22 May Lockheed Martin and ATK tested a new warhead for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) by firing it from an M142 HIMARS wheeled launcher for a 35 km flight before it detonated on its target. Two weeks earlier, the weapon, being developed under the Alternative Warhead Program (AWP), underwent ground-based testing, according to Lockheed Martin.

The AWP is intended to be a drop-in replacement for the Dual-Purpose Improved Convention Munitions (DPICM) bomblet warhead associated with the GMLRS M30 rocket variant - having equal or greater effect against materiel and personnel targets and over a similar area, but without leaving unexploded ordnance behind.

The event, at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, marked the first flight test of the new GMLRS warhead during the program's Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase.

Following a competition, prime contractor Lockheed Martin and subcontractor ATK were awarded a 36-month EMD phase contract for the programme in April 2012.

Flight testing for this phase of the GMLRS AWP development is expected to be completed in the next six months, with two more missions each firing a single round.

Last Updated (Friday, 07 June 2013 10:18)

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