A Reserve Royal Artillery Regiment has been firing one of the British Army’s most sophisticated weapons platforms in the south west of Scotland this week.

The Ministry of Defence say that the Reserve soldiers from 101 Regiment Royal Artillery, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, fired the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) at Kirkcudbright Ranges on the Solway coast, in Dumfries and Galloway.

This is the first time in the last 15 years, that the GMLRS has been fired in Scotland.

Image Crown Copyright 2020.

The GMLRS is a self-propelled, armoured missile and rocket launcher, which can fire 12 rounds per minute to a distance of up to 180 miles. It is one of the Royal Artillery’s most powerful weapons.

“The reservists, who only get to fire live MLRS very rarely, were doing so as part of their Annual Deployment Exercise, which sees them practice all of their basic soldier and specialist Artillery skills for two weeks. This is in addition to the training they get on Drill Nights at their Army Reserve Centres, and on weekend exercises and deployments.”

Describing the weapon system, the British Army website says:

“The state-of-the-art M270B1 Multiple Launch Rocket System, firing the M31 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) munition, is the mainstay of the British Army’s deep and shaping fires capability.

The system provides pinpoint accuracy, delivering a 200 lb high explosive warhead to its target with over twice the range of other artillery systems used by the British Army. The MLRS also represents the bulk of the Army’s precision fires capability, with the GPS guidance capability integral to the system and highly accurate beyond 70 KM. 

The weapon system is manned by a small crew of three Gunners and is mounted on a tracked armoured launcher, which is highly robust and manoeuvrable.”

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Jack

If the threat of a Russian ground invasion in Eastern Europe is considered a serious threat, shouldn’t we and our NATO allies be acquiring many more of these and increase the frequency of training ? The Russians seem to have our current155mm artillery well beaten in terms of range and numbers.

ChariotRider

HI Jack,

Simple answer is yes, along with better long range tube artillery.

As for the British Army, it is in a very poor state equipment wise with most of our armoured vehicles and artillery at least 20 to 30 years old, despite spending about £5b on fudged projects!

Cheers CR

Crabfat

I just watched a YouTube video of a UK M270 MLRS Shoot and Scoot demo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPJyTyQyFLo

Very impressive. Then I checked the time between the first round being fired and the vehicle moving away. Almost a full minute and a half. Much of it taken up by lowering the firing platform. I have no knowledge of artillery systems at all but – a question for those who know about these things – would 1.5 minutes be enough for a Counter Battery System to locate and bring down fire on the vehicle?

Dern

I remember loading one of these on my first major exercise, great fun. 90 seconds is a very small amount of time to get fires on to something, I suppose if you where lucky and had a predesignated target, and the gun crews ready to go, otherwise I’d suspect you’d only be getting your first ranging shots down-range, remember you also have to factor in the flight time of a round (eg a mortar battery 5km away will probably need 20 seconds between firing and the first round actually arriving on target). There’s also I think a certain amount of… Read more »

Crabfat

Thanks, Dern.

BB85

Do it hold a total of 12 rounds between reloads?

Daveyb

If we are talking about Russia, then yes definitely. The have significantly more artillery systems than NATO put together, both tube and rocket. Therefore, they have the scope to have a number of systems set up deliberately for counter-battery fire. MLRS has the benefit of being used well behind the forward line of conflict, thus making it harder to target especially by the current tube 152mm artillery. The rocket artillery systems like Smerch and Tornado have a similar range, so they would be the main threat. Unlike us they still have a cluster munition which is pretty similar to MLRS’s… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Interesting.

I wonder why they did not use Otterburn TA, which I think is the usual place for MLRS firing? It’s next door to their regional locations!

Dern

Probably already booked by another unit.

Daniele Mandelli

Ta Dern.

john melling

I think we have 42 of them in the RA.

We definitely need more! and I think the upcoming review was going to include possible increases, upgrades or replacements ?

Bill

63 was the original purchase number way back when, but we only have one RA regiment using these now. Maybe only 18 immediately available.

BB85

I don’t think the delivery vehicle itself is overly complex. With the UK being at the FURTHEST reach of the Russian border and it being a US product, if we desperately needed more units, money would be made available and hundreds purchased if needed.
We seem desperately short on mobile mortar systems due our over reliance on uav and close air support. Hopefully it gets addressed properly by Boxer or the MRV 6×6 option.

Last edited 29 days ago by BB85
Daniele Mandelli

Lots of goalposts moved with these over the last decade.

First a Regiments worth in 39RA. Then that regiment was cut, but it’s component batteries split amongst the 3 AS90 Gun regiments of the Armoured Infantry Bdes, with a troop of Exactor thrown in. Now those batteries are back together in a single regiment again, as another AS90 regiment is due the chop.

Plus the Reserve regiment featured.

Is the distance in the article correct? Over 180 miles?? Didn’t realise that they were that long ranged.

Dern

Thats the American version, using a missile I don’t think the UK has ever procured. I’m not sure off the top of my head what the maximum range of our MLRS is, but it’s not 180 miles (I’d guess it’s about 50miles).

Daniele Mandelli

Right. I thought not. Still, that is mightily impressive.

pkcasimir
Ian M.

Listed range of the M31 Unitary round is 65Km but in Afghanistan the range was gradually pushed out to 80+Km with little loss of accuracy. Speaking of accuracy; the system pictured is the M270 MLRS, the rounds being fired are the Reduced Range Practice Rockets with a range of c. 8Km. The GMLRS Unitary round used by the UK is incorrectly used to name this system often.

Dern

50miles was a pretty good off the top of my head guess then.

Jason Holmes

Aren’t these training rounds?

Ian M.

RRPR (Reduced Range Practice Rockets), a sub-calibre round that is loaded from the rear into special pods, connected up then ready to go. Range of about 8Km so can be used on STA. The round exercises the full FFCS and crew but doesn’t cost a squillion quid each.