The US Army Tests Unmanned High Mobility Artillery Rocket System

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The US Army has recently demonstrated its AML (Autonomous Multi-Domain Launcher) prototype that’s meant to offer increased firepower and magazine depth without the risk of human casualties.

During the tests, six reduced-range practice rockets were fired from the modified High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), three of which were fired successively. The launcher reportedly moved on its own from a hidden position to a firing point following a waypoint navigation, then remotely received instructions to adjust its direction and fire control commands. Furthermore, its transportability via C-130 aircraft offers increased firepower without a corresponding increase in personnel.

According to The Defense Post, the “cabless AML” autonomously follows waypoint navigation, and could also do so as part of a convoy. It is also designed to use the same ammunition pods as the M142 HIMARS and the M270 MLRS, including various 227mm precision-guided rounds, as well as the Army Tactical Missile System and Precision Strike Missile.

AML project manager for DEVCOM AvMC Lucas Hunter stated: “The AML team leveraged three major Army S&T investments, the Palletized Field Artillery Launcher, Autonomous Transport Vehicle System and Secure Tactical Advanced Mobile Power to rapidly and economically develop the AML prototype.”

This mobile launcher has been in development for the last four years, and this latest demonstration paves the way for the launcher’s participation in the Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team (LRPF CFT), meant to begin in 2025. The LRPF CFT aims to deliver “cutting-edge, surface-to-surface fire systems that significantly increase range and effects over currently fielded US and adversary systems,” according to a statement by the US Army.

The director of the LRPF CFT Brig. Gen. Rory Crooks has said: “We are skillfully integrating humans and machines into formations that optimize the natural advantages that both bring… Our collective efforts allow humans to determine how to best utilize terrain to accomplish the fire support mission while offloading burdens and risk of executing them to machines.”