The M270 MLRS is currently one of NATO’s most destructive non-nuclear weapon. Compared to the M142 HIMARS, the M270 has a much stronger combat capability.
NATO’s most powerful M270 MBRL is capable of accurately striking targets deep inside the enemy territory with a normal range of 80 kilometers and up to the range of 300-500 kilometers with tactical ballistic missiles.
The M270 can carry upto 12 rockets or 2 tactical ballistic missiles, thereby allowing the weapon system to perform twice as many hits as the M142 HIMARS.
The M270 rocket artillery complex is one of the most advanced and deadliest weapon system designed and developed by the United States. It’s range and destructive firepower have been regularly increased and improved by adding upgrades with time. Many military experts, call the M270 as the 80 kilometers range sniper rifle of the United States Army.
When it was commissioned by the US in 1983, the sole mission of each M270 complex was to destroy a 100-hectare area with its 12 M26 Rockets.
Each M26 rocket carries 644 M77 sub-warheads, from a maximum distance of 45 km. The US Army linked this weapon type to a option of bombing enemy targets without the help of air force aircrafts.
During the Desert Storm campaign, (1990-1991), these MLRS complexes showed their enormous firepower even when using the basic M26 ammunition. At that time, the United States began to develop rockets with a range of up to 45km, but still using the M77 warhead.
Not long after, this warhead was replaced by the newer and improved M85 varient, which has the same destructive power but with only 1% failure rate as compared to the 5% failure rate of the M77.
However, the weakness of the M270 at that time was that the rockets do not have a guidence system, making them have a low accuracy, easy to cause unintended damage on the battlefield.
Afterwards the United States developed a new version, known as the M30 rocket equipped with a seeker and 404 M85 sub-warheads, although reducing the damage but significantly increasing accuracy.
The latest M31 varient of the M270 MLRS is considered an effective solution to destroy targets in hills and cities with maximum accuracy.
The M85 cluster warhead was replaced by a 100kg High-Explosive, allowing it to destroy a single high-value target without causing unexpected damage to the surrounding area.
The new warhead is equipped with a Inertial navigation system and satellite navigation, allowing it to hit targets within a radius of 10 metres around a pre-determined target.
The range of the rocket is improved and increased to a maximum of about 80km, in addition to the ability to respond to most conventional rocket artillery systems, ensuring the battlefield survivability of the M270 MLRS.
Also, the M270 can also launch the MGM-140 missiles, which is considered as one of the most advanced and deadliest tactical ballistic missiles in the world.
The MGM-140 ATACMS is a line of tactical ballistic missiles developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation for the US Military and some allied countries. The MGM-140 ATACMS has the striking range of 150-300 kilometers depending on the varient used.
After being introduced into active service with the US Army, Lockheed Martin continued to develop the ATACMS project with the release of next advanced varients of the MGM-140, including MGM-140B-Block IA, MGM-164 ATACMS – Block 2 and MGM-168 ATACMS – Block 4A.
Each varient is developed for individual type of missions in which MGM-168 ATACMS – Block 4A possess the longest range upto 300 kilometers with the ability to carry a powerful warhead of 230kg.
The MGM-140 missile weights 1.6 tons, is 4 meters long, and has the body diameter of 610mm.
This type of advanced warfare missile can carry a variety of warheads including High Explosive and Fragmentation warheads capable of delivering a devastating damage over a wide area.
The MGM-140 ATACMS Missile is guided by the Global Positioning System and Inertial guidence.
Recently, the United States has restarted the project to develop a new longer-range missile with the striking range of more than 500 kilometers.
The M270 MLRS has been transferred to the Ukrainian Battlefield by the United Kingdom and Germany, recently Berlin announced that they will soon deliver two units of MARS 2 rocket artillery systems, a version of the original M270 produced by Germany.
Along with the M142 HIMARS, the M270 has been used by Ukraine to counter-attack the Russian Army.
Currently, this weapon with US-supplied M31 rockets is creating certain advantages for Ukraine.