From today's Examiner.com, a report on the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), which has revolutionized artillery support for close-quarters battle. In the battle to retake the Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, the system delivered a precision strike on a terrorist safe house--in the middle of the city--from a range of 40 miles.
To reach its target, rockets fired by a GMLRS battery fly a high, parabolic arc, forcing Army commanders to "deconflict" airspace with the other services. Actually, that requirement is nothing new for the MLRS system. The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which is also launched from the MLRS platform, also requires airspace deconfliction. More than 20 were fired during Desert Storm, and over 400 ATACMS rounds were launched during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which also required airspace coordination. Latest variants of the missile are equipped with GPS guidance, for improved accuracy.
But GMLRS is even more accurate than ATACMS and delivers a smaller warhead, which is essential for minimizing collateral damage in urban environments. The 2005 strike in Tal Afar destroyed the safe house, without harming other structures nearby. According to the Examiner's Rowan Scarborough, some attacks in Iraq that are described as airstrikes are actually the work of GMLRS.
Somewhere, that old French artilleryman must be smiling.