July 16 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin was awarded a $492.1 million contract for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems M142 launchers and associated hardware for the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Romania and Poland.
The contract includes Poland's first acquisition of HIMARS launchers. In February, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, at a meeting in Warsaw with President Andrzej Duda and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, signed an agreement worth $414 million for 20 HIMARS launchers, including two trainers, as well as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems missiles and Army Tactical Missile Systems ammunition.
In November, the State Department approved a possible contract $655 million in foreign military sales with Poland for the total weapons system. A Defense Security Cooperation Agency official could not confirm for UPI what part of that deal covers HIMARS.
The Lockheed contract for Poland, Romania and the United States, will include product data definition package maintenance, training, support equipment, qualification testing, initial spares/repair parts and software, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday.
The launchers will be "produced from the ground up" at Lockheed's plant in Camden, Ark., according to the company. Work also will be performed in Boca Raton, Clearwater and Palm Bay, Fla.; Budd Lake and Whippany, N.J.; Dallas; Archbald and York, Pa; Jackson, Miss.; and Brownboro, Ala. The estimated completion date is May 30, 2023.
Army fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $66.4 million have been obligated at the time of the award.
The HIMARS rocket launcher, which was developed in the late 1990s for the U.S. Army, is transportable via C-130 and larger aircraft for rapid deployment. Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets and Army Tactical Missile System missiles are fired from a standard Army M1140 truck frame.
HIMARS consists of a launcher loader module and fire control system mounted on a 5e-ton truck chassis. A specialized armored cab provides additional protection to the three crew members that operate the system.
The system can launch six guided rockets with a range of 37 miles or a single MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, missile up to a range of 187 miles, according to Lockheed. The solid-fueled missiles can carry a 160-247 kg payload.
ATACMS is the only long-range tactical surface-to-surface missile ever employed in combat by the U.S. Army.
In June, Lockheed secured a $561.8 million foreign military sales contract for the production of ATACMS.
"The procurement of the munitions and procurement of the launchers are frequently separate, meaning as our customers have different requirements, they make contracts for the munitions, missiles separately from launchers," a Lockheed spokesman told UPI. "The contract we just announced is specific for launchers."
Last week, U.S. military personnel participated in HIMARS rapid infiltration training in Queensland, Australia, as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.
The systems were unloaded to rapidly conduct fire missions, then reloaded and relocated to further objectives. The method minimizes detection and counter fire missions after use.