​While Ukraine Is Waiting for ATACMS, the US Is Actively Preparing the Production of ER GMLRS, PrSM Missiles

PrSM missile / Photo credit: US DoD
PrSM missile / Photo credit: US DoD

There are no export barriers for the ER GMLRS missile. At the same time the long-range PrSM missile, although intended for the US Army, is still important from the point of view of providing Ukraine with ATACMS

The issue of the transfer of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine has been discussed for more than a year, but there are still many indications that Washington is now as close as possible to their transfer. Although, obviously, this issue depends on the final decision of the US President Joe Biden.

While the status of ATACMS remains uncertain, Lockheed Martin is actively testing new missiles for the HIMARS MLRS. We are talking about the version of the Extended-Range GMLRS missile, which has been under development since the early 2010s in a version called GMLRS+.

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While Ukraine Is Waiting for ATACMS, the US Is Actively Preparing the Production of ER GMLRS, PrSM Missiles, Extended-Range GMLRS, Defense Express
Extended-Range GMLRS

The ER GMLRS has a range of up to 150 km, almost double the 80 km of the conventional version. With similar dimensions and weight of the warhead, a longer range was achieved thanks to the new fuel and the transfer of the control rudders to the tail part of the missile.

September 1 the defense giant announced that it has conducted another successful launch of the ER GMLRS from the US Army's HIMARS. These tests differed from ordinary fire tests in that they were carried out using the Stockpile to Target Sequence method. It involves testing weapons with a complete repetition of all the features of its real conditions of storage, transportation and other aspects of logistics.

That is, the test cycle itself is at a fairly high level of completion. Production of the ER GMLRS was originally scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2023, but Lockheed Martin is running out of time to accomplish this task, as it ends on September 30.

But in any case, the start of serial production of these missiles is a matter of a very short perspective. And there is already a queue of export customers on ER GMLRS. In particular, 532 such missiles were ordered by Poland as part of an extremely ambitious project to produce 486 HIMARS.

Lockheed Martin is also actively working on the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), which is a direct replacement for the ATACMS. The development of this missile has been ongoing since 2016, and the first flight took place in 2019. The launch range of the missile itself was gradually increased to 500 km, and the desired range is now considered to be 650 km.

Completion of work on PrSM is scheduled for spring 2025. Although there is still a lot of time before that, appropriate progress here may have some significance for Ukraine to receive ATACMS. Because it is one thing to have guarantees of the existence of replacement of these ballistic missiles with new models. It is a completely different matter when ATACMS missiles remain a hard-to-renew resource for the Pentagon.

While Ukraine Is Waiting for ATACMS, the US Is Actively Preparing the Production of ER GMLRS, PrSM Missiles, PrSM missile / Photo credit: US DoD, Defense Express
A launch of PrSM missile / Photo credit: US DoD

Thus, although the PrSM is unlikely to be approved for sale for export in the foreseeable future, the development and timing of the start of production of this missile may still have an impact on the decision of the US leadership regarding the transfer of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine.

As Defense Express reported earlier,Ukrainians Eliminate russians With High-Precision Weapons – 9 Enemy Targets Destroyed in the Bakhmut Area. We also wrote, that It Became Clear How russians ‘Shoot Down’ HIMARS Rockets by the Hundreds.

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