LRU (Lance Roquette Unitaire – Unitary Launch Rocket) is a European upgrade of M270 involving Germany, Italy and France. In September 2011, a contract for the LRU upgrade was awarded by the French Army Procurement Agency with a Franco-German consortium including Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, alongside Airbus Defence and Space, Sagem, and Thales to modernize the LRM (M270) MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) with new firing system and rockets. LRU is equipped with a new fire control system (EFCS – European Fire Control System) designed par Airbus Defense and Space. The first upgraded LRU was delivered to the French army in February 2014 to the 6th Artillery Regiment, based at Gresswiller for testing, which are now delivered to the 1st Artillery Regiment to be operational.
France is upgrading its M270s to fire the 227 mm M31 high explosive (HE) unitary warhead Guided MLRS (GMLRS). This change was required following France’s ratification of the Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2008, which banned France’s existing munitions for the M270. French army had a fleet of 55 M270s, only 13 units are receiving the upgrade to the LRU configuration, with the rest having been withdrawn from service. LRU program addresses the need to conduct all-weather precision ground strikes metric, up to 70 km. The acquisition, carried out in cooperation with Germany and Italy, is to turn it into rocket unit of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), entered service in the early 90’s.
Compared with the earlier French MLRS rockets, which were armed with submunitions, the M31 features a single 90 kg HE warhead; includes GPS and inertial navigation system guidance to provide a circular error of probability of less than 10 m; and doubles the missile’s range to 70 km. EFCS enables firing of M31, M31A1, M32, AT2 and 110 mm rockets, but not of M26, M26A1 and M30, so as to ensure full compliance with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The LRU uses the new rocket M31 also called GUMLRS (Guided Unitary MLRS). In France, the M31 rocket is manufactured by the U.S. company Lockheed Martin with an engine supplied by the French Company Roxel.
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270 MLRS) is an armored, self-propelled, multiple rocket launcher; a type of rocket artillery. Since the first M270s were delivered to the U.S. Army in 1983, the MLRS has been adopted by several NATO countries. Some 1,300 M270 systems have been manufactured in the United States and in Europe, along with more than 700,000 rockets. The production of the M270 ended in 2003, when a last batch was delivered to the Egyptian Army. MLRS was developed jointly by the United Kingdom, United States, West Germany, France and Italy, developed from the older General Support Rocket System (GSRS). The M270 MLRS weapons system is collectively known as the M270 MLRS Self-propelled Loader/Launcher (SPLL).