Pentagon sending additional MLRS battalion to South Korea

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Daniel Wasserbly, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
23 March 2015


A GMLRS M31 rocket is shown here launching from an M270. GMLRS rockets received considerable praise from US and UK users for their accuracy and responsive fires in Iraq and Afghanistan. Source: Lockheed Martin

US forces in South Korea in June are to receive additional artillery as the US Army reorganises its brigade structures and focuses on the Asia-Pacific region.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter approved a plan to send a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) battalion to Camp Casey in South Korea for a nine-month rotation, the Pentagon announced on 20 March. US Army units now deploy on a nine-month rotational basis to South Korea, whereas under the previous structure brigades were based there and populated by soldiers on individual year-long tours.

About 400 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, will be the first to rotate in and will leave their full battalion set of MLRS systems at Camp Casey with the 210th Field Artillery Brigade for subsequent rotations to fall in on.

"The addition of this MLRS battalion to the 210th [Field Artillery Brigade] is part of an army-wide reorganisation that will raise the number of MLRS battalions in all field artillery brigades from two to three," the Pentagon noted.

The US Army originally received more than 800 M270 MLRS systems and upgraded 226 with a new Improved Fire Control System and Improved Launcher Mechanical System. The upgraded systems are designated as the M270A1; the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, is equipped with these newer variants.

A standard M270 launcher has two pods each of six 227 mm rockets (understood to have reached a 90 km precision-strike capability with the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems: GMLRS), or it can carry two Army Tactical Missile Systems to engage longer-range targets (out to 300 km).
Pentagon sending additional MLRS battalion to South Korea - IHS Jane's 360
 
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