After six years of extensive research, engineers at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center have conducted a successful test flight of an advanced tail-controlled missile system.
The Tail Controlled Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (TC-GMLRS) performed its first flight test earlier this year at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System entered production in 2003 and is the Army's primary precision strike artillery weapon. The current production GMLRS has control surfaces on the front end of the rocket, which contribute to precision effects but were not designed to maximize the range of the system. During the first flight test, the missile system reached a distance of 112.9 km, or roughly 70 miles.
The performance achieved with the first flight test demonstrates the successful design, development, and integration of new advanced capabilities into the GMLRS form factor by AMRDEC. These capabilities include an insensitive munition compliant composite motor case with an integrated wire tunnel, innovative electro-mechanical actuators with folding fins, aerodynamic efficient ogive and tail fins, and novel and robust flight software that guided and controlled the rocket over 112 km downrange to a near-vertical impact within two meters of the target.
TC-GMLRS, designed and built by AMRDEC, demonstrates a concept to increase the range of effects of the GMLRS system and add maneuverability for future missions. There are currently 66 MLRS-class foreign rocket systems that either meet or exceed the maximum range of GMLRS, including non-state actors. TC-GMLRS is pathfinding the technology required to dramatically reduce this overmatch in range. Increasing the strike range of the GMLRS will greatly enhance the Army's readiness and provide economy of range and precision.