The Lockheed Martin-produced M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) was first developed three decades ago and has been in service since 2010.
It was first employed in combat during the war in Afghanistan, and in one strike successfully targeted 50 high-ranking members of the Taliban.
It has also seen use in the Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi Civil War – but in the past year has been seen as a serious game changer for the Ukrainian military where it has been utilized to great success against the Russian invader.
HIMARS Production Set to Spike
In fact, demand for the platform from Kyiv has been so great that the United States Department of Defense (DoD) had to accelerate production last year.
In December, the United States Army awarded Lockheed Martin a nearly half-billion dollar contract to produce the M142 HIMARS at full rate production to replenish the stocks for the U.S. and its allies.
“When you have a combat proven system that is out there and in the news – daily – then that’s driving that demand,” Jennifer McManus, the vice president for operations of Lockheed’s missile business, told Reuters.
Work will ramp up at the company’s plant in Camden, Arkansas – outside of Little Rock.
The 282,000 square foot facility was recently upgraded to produce new model HIMARS and to refurbish older versions.
The production rate at the beginning of last year was 48 new HIMARS a year, which was increased to 60 – and on a recent earnings call, the aerospace and defense giant announced that efforts are being made to increase production to at least 96 units a year.
NATO Members Adopting the HIMARS
The success of the HIMARS in Ukraine has convinced NATO allies to adopt the mobile launcher – which can be operated by a crew of three, including a commander, driver, and gunner.
As its name suggests, the HIMARS is a mobile artillery platform that can target an enemy’s location, fire, and be on the move again before an adversary can return fire.
Earlier this month, Poland was cleared to purchase 18 HIMARS launchers and 468 launcher loader kits that could be installed on Polish-made trucks to turn them into a similar launch platform.
In addition, this week the U.S. military’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of up to twenty M142 HIMARS along with missiles to the Netherlands.
The package would include support and communications equipment.
“The proposed sale will improve the Netherlands’ military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies,” DSCA said in its announcement.
The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – all NATO members – have also expressed interest in the HIMARS.
Latvia is on track to purchase six of the systems and follows Estonia, which also signed a deal with the United States to acquire the same number.
Lithuania has inked a contract to purchase as many as eight of the launchers. Such weapons will likely serve as a serious deterrent against Russian aggression.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.