The Marines seek "a self-contained vehicle that can fire rockets; a box of rockets on a truck that fits in the back of a tiltrotor of '53-K," Maj. Gen. David Coffman, a senior warfare official, said at the National Defense Industrial Association's conference on expeditionary warfare. The King Stallion heavy lift chopper will be ready for deployment in 2018.
Whether it's physically possible to make such a weapons system has yet to be determined. "I don't know what's in the art of the possible, physics-wise, to get a vehicle that can withstand the recoil of firing, and be a stable enough platform, and still be light enough to be lifted by a helicopter and all that," Coffman told Military.com's Hope Seck.
The weapon would not be too different from a miniaturized version of the popular High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The service would also like for the smaller artillery system to fire at targets 70 km (43 miles) away.
"I don't know what industry can do, whether that's possible or not," Coffman says, but that is what the Marines "need."
One option the service might consider is the lightweight Fletcher rocket system, produced by Arnold Defense, which shoots 2.75 inch laser-guided rockets. "The idea is that this is transplantable onto anything," a company official told the Army Times October 11. "The great thing about the rocket system is that it's open on both ends, and as such, it has very little, if any recoil," the official said. The Fletcher only has a range of 5 km, though.
On Sunday, the Marines fired a HIMARS round from the deck of an amphibious assault ship, the USS Anchorage, for the first time ever.