M31 Guided MLRS rockets and M57 T2K missile systems to be sold to Bahrain
The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Bahrain of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary Rocket Pods and Army Tactical Missiles System (ATACMS) Unitary missiles for an estimated cost of $300 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.
M270 MLRS (Picture source: U.S. Army / Spc. Ashley Hayes, Fort Irwin Operations Group)
The Kingdom of Bahrain has requested to buy 120 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M31 Unitary Rocket Pods (6 rockets per pod, for a total of 720), and 110 Army Tactical Missiles System (ATACMS) M57 T2K Unitary missiles. Also included are publications, personnel training and training equipment, software development, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The overall total estimated value is $300 million.
The MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATacMS) is a surface-to-surface missile (SSM) manufactured by Lockheed Martin. It has a range of over 100 miles (160 km), with solid propellant, and is 13 feet (4.0 m) high and 24 inches (610 mm) in diameter. The ATACMS can be fired from multiple rocket launchers, including the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). An ATACMS launch container has a lid patterned with six circles like a standard MLRS rocket lid. The first use of the ATACMS in a combat capability was during Operation Desert Storm, where a total of 32 were fired from the M270 MLRS. During Operation Iraqi Freedom more than 450 missiles were fired.
An M270 MLRS tracked launcher – of which Bahrain already operated 9 units in 2017 - can hold up to 12 rounds of M26-M31 227mm rockets, or up to 2 ATACMS missiles that can strike from over 200km away. The nature of Bahrain’s upgrades is not described, but a number of American MLRS launchers were upgraded to M270A1 status under a 2000 contract by adding improved fire control and mechanical systems. The British followed suit with their own upgrades, and recently installed a unique set of modifications for Afghan use that include air conditioning, improved side and underbody armor, and a remotely-operated machine gun for close-in defense.
This proposed sale will enhance the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO ally that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.
The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, Texas. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. or contractor representatives in Bahrain.