Poland to buy Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS MLRS

According to an announcement on Poland’s ministry of Defense website posted on Oct. 19, the country has provided the U.S. a letter of request for one M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, division as part of what it’s calling its HOMAR program. Poland had planned to buy the Lockheed Martin-made systems since 2015, but its original plans to share in production work for the HIMARS systems through PGZ, its state-run defense group, proved complex and ran up against several walls in the negotiation process.

Poland to buy Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS MLRS 2
Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) (Picture source: US Army)

The country announced this summer that it had decided to go the direct Foreign Military Sales route and buy the HIMARS systems from the U.S. government. After Romania, Poland would be the second Eastern European country to buy HIMARS. The U.S. State Department cleared a possible $250 million sale in November 2017 for 56 HIMARS launchers.

Poland also plans to buy missiles as well as a logistics and training package to go along with the rocket launchers. The next step, according to the ministry of Defense, is to negotiate a draft agreement with the U.S. government.

The M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is multiple rocket launcher system mounted to a 6x6 FMTV truck chassis. HIMARS was developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control under an advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) programme, placed in 1996. The purpose of HIMARS is to engage and defeat artillery, air defence concentrations, trucks, light armour and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations.

HIMARS is able to launch its weapons and move away from the area at high speed before enemy forces are able to locate the launch site. Offering Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) firepower on a wheeled chassis, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is the newest member of the MLRS launcher family. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of rockets or one ATACMS missile on the Army's new Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) 5-ton truck, and can launch the entire MLRS family of munitions. HIMARS is operated by a crew of three - driver, gunner and section chief - but the computer-based fire control system enables a crew of two or even a single soldier to load and unload the system.

HIMARS received approval to enter production in March 2003 and is currently in Full Rate Production. HIMARS successfully completed initial operational test and evaluation in November 2004. In May 2005, the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery was the first unit equipped with HIMARS. HIMARS has been a joint system since 2000 when the U.S. Marine Corps joined the program. It was successfully combat-tested in Operation Iraqi Freedom.