M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, better known by the acronym HIMARS, is a light and highly mobile multiple launch rocket platform. It is a very versatile weapon, which can be used with several different types of missiles. However, it is mostly focused on ground targets, but this might change very soon.
HIMARS was developed at the end of the previous century and entered service in 2010. It can be armed with regular MLRS rockets, which have a range of around 70-80 kilometers, or one ATACMS missile, which can reach targets up to 300 kilometers away . HIMARS is a highly versatile platform, used by many countries. Including Ukraine, which received these systems to defend itself against the ongoing Russian invasion.
In theory, HIMARS could be used to attack ships, but that would require those vessels to be in range and unsuspecting. However, answering to Australia’s requirements to defend the continent-state against a possible seaborne invasion Lockheed Martin is suggesting arming HIMARS with LRASMs.
AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) is a stealthy American anti-ship missile, in service since 2018. It carries a 450-kilogram blast-fragmentation penetrator warhead and can be launched from a variety of different military planes. It can fly for something like 370-560 kilometers before penetrating the hull of its target.
During the Land Forces Defense exposition held in Brisbane Australia in early October, Lockheed Martin showed how LRASM could be adapted to be launched from HIMARS.
LRASM is quite a long missile – it is actually longer than any other HIMARS-launched missile. This means that the nose and back of it will poke out of the launch box. Lockheed Martin will create some adaptations, but they are confident. LRASM is highly compatible with HIMARS. And HIMARS wouldn’t lose any of its mobility carrying a large anti-ship missile.
It is not revealed now how ground launch would affect the range of LRASM. It might shrink, we suspect, but it shouldn’t be dramatic. HIMARS with LRASM would be quite a combination, which, more than likely, would interest other countries as well, not just Australia.
HIMARS can be quickly deployed by a transport airplane or simply driven at speeds of up to 85 km/h. This means that HIMARS could be quickly adapted to fire LRASMs and delivered to coastal regions to defend against suspected threats. That would be quite a combination, especially since then the same HIMARS could be changed back to attack ground targets.
Source: Navalnews.com , Wikipedia