Canadian American Strategic Review



FLCS Project


Option  for


Background  — Artillery  —  Long-Range Precision Rocket System

DND's Long-Range Precision Rocket System (LRPRS) project calls for 17 launchers, missiles, plus associated equipment and ancillary vehicles, as well as the usual in-service support and  training. This project is at the Letter of Interest stage and  there's little in the way of choice or options in the way that  the LOI has been laid out. The LRPRS must be a MOTS (Military off-the-Shelf) purchase, systems must  be proven in NATO service, and, obviously, the projectile must meet  DND performance standards as laid out in the LOI and  SOR. [1]

Long Range Precision Rocket System –  LM's Multiple Launch Rocket System by Another Name?
The conditions and  requirments of  this LOI  effectively limits the choice to Lockheed Martin's MLRS which is in widespread NATO service and combat-proven. The new variants include GPS-guided projectiles [2], this GMLRS have now entered US and UK service. The British chose the US M2 Bradley-based  M270 tracked launcher (even though the 'donor' vehicle is not in UK service ). Canada faces a similar dilemma – do we accept the non-standard tracked launch vehicle like Britain did  or  look for other possibilities? There is another MOTS option.

HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
The US  has another MLRS vehicle in service, the M142 HIMARS consisting of  a 6-round  launcher on a 5-ton FMTV truck. Although an M142 carries only half  the number of  rockets as the M207, this truck-based MLRS also weighs half as much as an M270. So, DND must decide between the vehicles' transportability and tractability.  In other words, is getting the launcher anywhere in the world quickly the top priority or is it more important for the launcher vehicle to be able to tackle any form (or condition) of terrain once it gets there?

Shortening the LRPRS Field  –  Outsiders and Also-Rans
DND's LOI makes clear that precision guidance and proven NATO service are paramount for the LRPRS. That rules out several potential candidates. The UK's Lightweight Mobile Artillery Weapon System - Rocket ( LIMAW-R, left ) never made it beyond the prototype stage (DND has no desire to break in a new system – especially in such small numbers). The NATO system similar to the 227mm MRLS is a Turkish 220mm rocket by Roketsan (right) but this system offers no precision guidance. By default,  that  leaves the US  MRLS.

[1] The LOI gives no specifics about  the desired performance of  the projectile or its launcher vehicle. That will be spelled out  in the SOR.
[2] The terminology becomes rather confused. Originally, multi-launch rocket systems were, by definition, unguided. Their purpose was to 'saturate' a target rather than strike with accuracy. As with GPS-guided artillery shells, the line between 'artillery' and a 'missile' has blurred.