Finland approves the procurement of US Guided Rockets for M270 227mm rocket launcher systems

According to information published by the Finnish Ministry of Defense on February 11, 2022, Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen has approved a proposal to procure ammunition for the  Multiple Launch Rocket System M270 from the United States. The Ministerial Finance Committee supported the procurement in its session on 10 February 2022. Procurement deliveries are estimated to start in 2025.
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M270 MLRS (registry Ps 529-3) on display during Finnish Defence Forces 2013 Flag day in Ekenäs harbour. (Picture source Wikimedia)

The procurement from the United States will provide the Finnish Defence Forces with Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warheads (ER GMLRS AW) for area targets and Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary (ER GMLRS UNITARY) ammunition for point target effect.

The procurement is based on the guidelines of the Finnish Government’s Defence Policy Report and the long-term development plans of the Defence Forces. The assignment to procure munitions was given in 2018. The procurement will ensure that the artillery’s capabilities are maintained and developed to correspond to the general level of development.

The new munitions will significantly improve the performance of heavy rocket launchers and extend their range. The effectiveness of the ER GMLRS AW and UNITARY munitions corresponds to the GMLRS AW and UNITARY procured by the Defence Forces in 2016. The procurement is part of a plan to ensure the usability and performance of heavy rocket launchers into the 2050s.

The new guided rockets will enable the more efficient use of heavy rocket launchers purchased in 2006 and they will diversify the range of munition used by heavy rocket launchers. The use of guided rockets will be possible due to an upgrade done in 2012–2015 on the fire control system.

The area target AW rockets spread preformed tungsten fragments when they explode above the target while the effect of the point target UNITARY rockets is based on explosions and blast effects. The range of both munitions is some 150 kilometres.

The procurement’s overall value is about EUR 70 million and the funding is included in the defence spending. The ammunition manufacturer in the United States is Lockheed Martin.

According to the military balance, the Finnish army has a total of 56 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems including 34 RM-70 122mm MLRS and 22 M270 227mm MLRS.