Northrop Grumman Corporation recently delivered the 10,000th Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) propulsion system to Lockheed Martin’s Camden, Arkansas, final assembly facility. The propulsion system will be integrated into GMLRS missiles – a free flight rocket designed to engage targets from 13 to 70 kilometers. The precision of the system makes it especially effective against embedded targets. To help meet the increased demand from the U.S. Army and other DoD services for higher quantities of GMLRS and related systems, Northrop Grumman designed and constructed a purpose-built manufacturing facility at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) in Rocket Center using lean manufacturing and digital engineering techniques. The facility provides for the efficient design, development and production of this critical weapon system component.
“Our investment in digital technologies has helped us to more efficiently produce our GMLRS insensitive munitions propulsion systems while increasing weapon safety on the battlefield,” said Rebecca Torzone, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman.
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270 MLRS) is an armored, self-propelled, multiple rocket launcher. The M270 system can fire MLRS Family Of Munition (MFOM) rockets and artillery missiles, which are manufactured and used by a number of platforms and countries. The M31 GMLRS Unitary rocket transformed the M270 into a point target artillery system for the first time. Due to GPS guidance and a single 200 lb (91 kg) high-explosive warhead, the M31 could hit targets accurately with less chance of collateral damage while needing fewer rockets to be fired, reducing logistical requirements. The unitary warhead also made the MLRS able to be used in urban environments. The M31 had a dual-mode fuse with point detonation and delay options to defeat soft targets and lightly fortified bunkers respectively, with the upgraded M31A1 equipped with a multi-mode fuse adding a proximity airburst mode for use against personnel in the open; proximity mode can be set for 3 or 10 metres (9.8 or 32.8 ft) Height Of Burst (HOB). The GMLRS has a minimum engagement range of 15 km (9.3 mi) and can hit a target out to 70 km (43 mi), impacting at a speed of Mach 2.5.
Northrop Grumman’s insensitive munition (IM) compliant propulsion system consists of a modernized solid rocket motor incorporating IM-enhancing technologies and an ignition safety device to further improve the weapon system’s safety characteristics. The resulting IM propulsion system is used to power the U.S. Army’s GMLRS missile. Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is an American multinational aerospace and defense technology company. With 90,000 employees and an annual revenue in excess of $30 billion, it is one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and military technology providers. The firm ranks No. 96 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations.