The United States Marine Corps (USMC) conduct a training shot of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System on White Sands Missile Range. The development is part of a push by the Corps to plug capability gaps in its long-range artillery and rocket systems as major adversaries like Russia and China continue to make new developments that threaten global U.S. military supremacy. The M142 HIMARS, formally known as the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System, was designed for use on land, but the Marines are thinking about using it at sea too. The precision rocket system is traditionally a land based all-weather artillery system, which has seen high use in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Marines. But as the Corps worries about future access to enemy littorals in the age of a great power competition the Marines are looking for unique ways to aid its force in fighting its way ashore.
The United States Marine Corps plans to double its investment in the precision rocket artillery system known as HIMARS and needs dozens of armored resupply vehicles to support that expansion. A $134 million budget request this year from the Corps for HIMARS represents an increase of about $68 million from the past year. That investment is slated to grow the Corps’ HIMARS capabilities to include the reactivation of an old unit. That means the Corps will also need new vehicles to support the effort. To meet the demand, the Corps wants to modify 40 existing Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements, or MTVRs, to serve as HIMARS resupply trucks.
The new fiscal year 2019 budget request includes investments in technologies one would associate with a Cold War adversary, and not the counterinsurgency conflicts the Marines have been embroiled in for the past 16 years. On top of reactivating the 5th Battalion, 10th Marines as a HIMARS unit, the Marines are also sinking money into mobile ground based air defense systems and mobile networking communications systems. Tech that has not been generally needed in the permissive environments of Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of the Corps’ increased investments into HIMARS is directed at the reactivation of the Marine HIMARS unit and the new modified MTVRs will support that effort as well.