UK to deliver Ukraine with more M270 rocket launchers and M31A1 guided rockets

According to information published by the British MoD (Ministry of Defense) on August 11, 2022, the United Kingdom will send further M270 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) to Ukraine as well as a significant number of precision-guided M31A1 rockets which can strike targets up to 80 km away.
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Pictured is a British Army Royal Artillery GMLRS rocket launcher Firing during Exercise Steel Sabre. (Picture source British MoD)

The UK was the first European country to supply lethal aid to Ukraine and has since provided thousands of anti-tank missiles, anti-air systems and armored vehicles to Ukrainian forces.

On June 6, 2022, the British MoD (Ministry of Defense) announced the delivery of three M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) coming from the British army inventory. The decision came in response to requests from Ukrainian forces for longer-range precision weapons in order to defend themselves from Russian heavy artillery, which has been used to devastating effect in the eastern Donbas region.

Those last weeks, Ukrainian troops were trained on how to use the rocket launcher systems in the UK, so that they can maximize the effectiveness of the systems. Britain previously announced that Ukrainian personnel would be trained to use a variety of armored vehicles which the UK donated, including Mastiff, Husky and Wolfhound wheeled armored vehicles. Other European countries as Denmark and Germany have already supplied M270 MLRS to Ukraine.

According to the military balance 2021, the British armed forces have a total of 35 M270B1, 227mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. The M270B1 is an improved version of the American M270 MLRS.

The M270B1 is the British army upgrade of the M270 which is similar to the American M270A1 but it is fitted with an enhanced armor package providing more protection against IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks. The three-man crew consists of the driver, gunner and section chief, all of whom are seated in the fully enclosed cab at the front of the vehicle.

The M270A1 can carry two launch pods, each containing either six Guided MLRS (GMLRS)/MLRS rockets or one Army Tactical Missile System missile. When firing GMLRS-Unitary precision rockets, MLRS can achieve ranges of 70-plus kilometers, attacking the target with low-collateral damage, enabling danger-close fires (within 200 meters) in support of friendly troops in contact, as well as engaging high-valued point targets in open, urban and complex environments.

The M31A1Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System-Unitary (GMLRS-Unitary) is a Global Positioning System (GPS) guided rocket with a 90 kg unitary warhead. The M31A1 GMLRS-Unitary has a multi-mode fuse with point detonate, delay, and proximity capabilities. The rocket is capable of attacking targets out to ranges of 70 km and uses Inertial Measurement Unit guidance along with GPS to enhance accuracy. GMLRS-Unitary can be launched from the M270A1 MLRS based on a tracked chassis and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) based on a wheeled truck chassis.

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