The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Finland of a M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) upgrade and related equipment for an estimated cost of $395 million. The Government of Finland has requested to buy the M270A2 upgrade for its M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). The upgrade will include: intercom systems; radio communication mounts; machine gun mounts; battle management system vehicle integration kit; publications for MLRS; spares; services; support equipment; and other related elements of program and logistics support. The principal contractors will be Lockheed Martin Inc., Grand Prairie, TX; Chelton Inc., Marlow, United Kingdom; Leonardo DRS, Arlington, VA; and Loc Performance Products, Inc., Plymouth, MI.
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (M270 MLRS) is an American-developed armored, self-propelled, multiple rocket launcher. The U.S. Army variant of the MLRS vehicle is based on the chassis of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The first M270s were delivered in 1983. The MLRS were subsequently adopted by several NATO countries and other countries. The MLRS first saw service with the United States in the 1991 Gulf War. The MLRS has been upgraded to fire guided missiles, and has been used by Ukraine in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. M270A2 is a 2019 upgrade program to the US Army variant, which includes the new Common Fire Control System (CFCS) to allow the use of the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM). The update also includes a new 600 hp engine, upgraded and rebuilt transmission, and improved cabin armor protection.
The agreement takes advantage of current full-rate component production for U.S. MLRS contracts. Finland joins other countries that have recognized the combat-proven precision advantages that the MLRS Family of Munitions delivers. This is Lockheed Martin’s third international M270 launcher upgrade contract. The launcher upgrade extends strike distance with the Universal Fire Control System, which is also common on new High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) models. It also provides GPS-guided precision fires capability for the first time, and enables M270 launchers to launch Finnish-furnished practice rockets, exemplifying the ease of integrating new products into the system. The enhanced MLRS M270 launcher can move away from the area at high speed following missile launch and can be transported to and from conflicts using NATO cargo aircraft.
The Finnish Defence Forces has two types of multiple rocket launchers: the heavy rocket launcher 298 RSRAKH 06 (M270 M270D1) was purchased in the 2000s, and the light RAKH 89 M1 (RM-70/85) launchers were purchased from Germany in the 1990s. 22 M270 were bought from the Netherlands in 2006 and upgraded to M270D1 in 2011. The M270D1 use the M142’s Universal Fire Control System instead of the standard M270A1 Improved Fire Control System. A further 6 refurbished M270D1 were obtained from the US in 2014. The remaining 12 former Danish M270 are used for driver training only. The enhanced MLRS M270 launcher will improve Finland’s capability to meet current and future threats, and will enhance interoperability with U.S. forces and other allied forces. Finland will have no difficulty absorbing this upgrade into its armed forces.