This USAF Special Operations C-130 lands at an austere airstrip and a huge HIMARS Rocket Launcher rolls off its ramp. The C-130 takes back off and the rockets start flying. The way America’s air mobility capability can move big things to pretty much anywhere in the world on short notice is just mesmerizing.
This particular event was part of Exercise Emerald Warrior which has been underway for some time now.
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is a highly mobile, multi-launch rocket system based on the Army’s Medium Tactical Vehicle truck frame. It can carry six guided or unguided rockets or one of the giant MGM-142 surface to surface missile.
Its wide array of weaponry can be configured with all types of warheads and fusing options, including cluster munitions dispensers and air burst rounds. In fact, it uses the same rocket pods and large selection of ammunition as the much larger M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, although carrying just one pod instead of two at a time.
HIMARS weights 24,000 lbs, has a crew of three, and first saw combat in Afghanistan where it was deemed effective at providing rapid, short to long range (up to about 200 miles with the MGM-142) fire support. Because of its size and high-mobility, it could easily keep up with advancing units and as you can see in the video, it can be forward deployed and extracted rapidly via C-130.
Today, HIMARS serves with both the USMC and US Army along with the militaries of Singapore, UAE and Jordan.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com