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France secretly delivers to Ukraine two additional LRU rocket launcher systems.

| Defense News Army 2024

In a surprising revelation at the recent Artillery Coalition press conference, the French Ministry of Armed Forces has significantly expanded its military aid to Ukraine, delivering advanced artillery systems well beyond its previously announced commitments. According to the statement released by the French Ministry of Defense on January 25, 2024, France has supplied Ukraine with approximately thirty CAESAR wheeled self-propelled howitzers, a substantial portion of its arsenal, considering France only possesses 75 such units. France has already provided Ukraine with four LRU MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems), a French version of the American M270 MLRS.
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French Army LRU MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. (Picture source Army Recognition Group)

In addition to the CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, France has provided four LRU unitary rocket launchers, 155mm TRF1 towed cannons, and 120mm mortars. This marks a considerable escalation in support, as France had initially only declared the delivery of two LRU rocket launch systems, a domestic variant of the American M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System).

Further underlining this support, two additional modernized LRU rocket launchers were secretly transferred to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The French Army, which had acquired 55 M270s from the United States during the Cold War's tail end, has seen its stock reduce to 13 launchers due to post-Cold War adjustments and the shift towards low-intensity operations. These remaining launchers underwent significant upgrades in the early 2010s, incorporating the European Fire Control System (EFCS) developed by Airbus Defence and Space, enhancing their operational capabilities.

This bolstered arsenal places the Ukrainian forces in a stronger position, with a diverse range of artillery systems now at their disposal. They reportedly possess 6 M270B1 MLRS from England (in partnership with Norway), 8 M270 from Norway, 5 German M270 MARS II, 2 Italian M270A1 MLRS-Improved, and 4 French M270 LRU. This enhanced firepower, particularly with the addition of advanced French artillery, underscores the growing international support for Ukraine amidst ongoing conflicts.

The French LRU (Lance-Roquettes Unitaires) rocket launcher system, building upon the American M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), is a sophisticated artillery platform used by the French Army. It's designed to deliver a large volume of firepower rapidly against high-value targets such as enemy air defenses, artillery, and command and control centers.

Developed as an adaptation of the American M270 MLRS, the LRU incorporates several modifications and improvements. These include updates to its firing system and control units, making it a more versatile and effective weapon in the modern battlefield. The LRU is capable of deploying a range of munitions, allowing for flexible combat applications. This versatility is crucial in addressing the varying nature of targets in contemporary warfare.

A significant aspect of the LRU is its impressive firing range. The system can launch rockets to distances of several tens of kilometers, enabling it to strike targets well beyond the range of conventional artillery. This long-range capability is instrumental in keeping the launcher safe from counter-battery fire, while still effectively engaging enemy positions.

In terms of munitions, the LRU can fire different types of rockets, including standard MLRS rockets and advanced GPS-guided rockets like the M31 GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System). The M31 GMLRS, known for its precision, allows for high-accuracy strikes over long distances, minimizing collateral damage and enhancing strike effectiveness.

The LRU's mobility and ruggedness also make it suitable for a wide range of terrains, enhancing its operational flexibility. This mobility ensures rapid deployment to various strategic locations, crucial in dynamic combat situations.

Defense News January 2024

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