United States to increase long-range fire support in Europe with MLRS M270A1 rocket launchers

On October 28, 2019 at the U.S. Army Base in Grafenwoehr, Germany, the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, 41st Field Artillery Brigade began New Equipment Training and new software fielding of the Multiple Launch Rocket System Field Artillery Launcher. As the only U.S. rocket artillery brigade in the European theater, the unit prepares to deliver long-range precision fires to defend NATO allies and deter aggression from near-peer adversaries using M270A1 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. 

United States to increase long range fire support in Europe with MLRS M270A1 rocket launchers 925 001
The 1-6 Field Artillery Battalion conducts dry fire missions with mock pods in the training fields at the U.S. Army Base in Grafenwoehr, Germany. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The U.S. Army Europe reactivated the brigade in November 2018 with the battalion officially reactivating on September 19, 2019. The 1-6 FA is the first of two MLRS battalions within the 41st Fires Brigade. The next battalion, 1-77 FA, is slated to reactivate in fall 2020.

In September 2019, it was announced that M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) along with several support vehicles have been deployed to Europe. The unique 41st Field Artillery Brigade, the only U.S. rocket artillery brigade in Europe, has received various military wheeled and tracked vehicles at the 7th Army Training Command’s Rail Head, Grafenwoehr, Germany, September 11, 2019.

Thirteen years have passed since USAREUR has seen MLRS in its command. The 41st Brigade and the M270A1 MLRS launcher share a battle-tested, long-standing legacy and have served in a combined seven wars. Lieutenant Colonel Angel M. Llompart Monge, 1-6 Field Artillery Battalion commander, is excited to welcome the arrival of the Soldiers along with the launcher's enhanced capabilities. "The 41st Brigade has a rich history that traces back to World War I," Lt. Col. Llompart said. "It's a great opportunity to continue to build on this lineage and let the world know that big Army Europe is back."

The M270A1 is an upgraded version of the American-made M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) designed and manufactured by the U.S. Company Lockheed Martin. The M270A1 MLRS is a combat proven, mechanized artillery weapon system that provides the combat commander with highly lethal, all-weather, precise rocket and missile fires that defeat point and area targets in both urban/complex and open terrain.

The M270A1 carries and fires two launch pods, each containing either six rockets or one missile that can be fired individually or sequentially. Rockets have a range beyond 30 km, and the Army TACMS Block IA missile can reach beyond 300 kilometers. The M270A1 can fire different types of rockets including the extended-range (ER) rocket, the reduced-range practice rocket (RRPR) with a range of 8 km to 15 km and the AT2, which dispenses 28 antitank mines. The M270A1 can fire all munitions in the current and planned suite of the MLRS Family of Munitions, including Army Tactical Missile System missiles and Guided MLRS rockets.

As the 41st FA Brigade continues to grow, the USAREUR is now fully equipped to deliver long-range precision fires in support of U.S. Joint and Multi-national Forces and Allies.