More MLRS Fun

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I still can't find the other pictures I alluded to yesterday, but here's an email I got in May of 1998 about the time a couple of launchers on a Fort Sill firing range experienced what is technically referred to as "a small oops"...


> If you haven't heard by now, there was a small oops
> registered at Fort Sill last week (11 - 15 May 98). About
> Wed, a unit managed to misplace a few MLRS rockets[1]. Reports
> say that 3 rockets got away. Two were found near Elgin, OK.
> The third is still missing and presumed to be lost in a lake.
>
> Best information indicates that the unit was operating on the
> East Range. There were three MLRS units on the range at the
> time and all must have been loaded and firing because the
> innocent units have not been identified and cleared yet. The
> rockets were the Reduced Range Practice Rockets (RRPR pronounced
> ripper). These rockets have a blunt nose causing the max range
> to be approximately 15 Kilometers. It has a smoke charge in the
> nose designed to produce a puff of smoke when it impacts so the
> observer can spot the impact (if the wind isn't blowing, the
> sun is in the right position in the sky, and the observer has been
> a very, very, good boy, the round may be seen by human eyes).
>
> All of this is contrary to the initial reports. The rockets were
> not loaded with HE[2] or even better, the DPICM[3] submunitions.
> (Yes, the submunitions are HE shape charges but they are not a
> large chunk of explosive packaged together as a single explosive.)
> The incident did not occur on the West range with the rounds
> impacting near Roger's Lane and 82d street[4].
>
> This event could be caused by several different factors. If MET[5]
> data was incorrect, it could cause the rounds to go some place
> other than the expected impact area. If bad target location was
> input the end location could be wrong. If the launcher did not
> do a good calibration run or input the wrong location, the rounds
> could go in the wrong place. Some one mentioned the launchers
> were using new software. Unfamiliarity with the software could
> have produced the incident. Fin failure is not likely if three
> rounds went astray. Lose a fin and litteraly lose a rocket.
> My unit in Germany is still looking for the rocket that lost a fin.

[1] MLRS: Multiple Launch Rocket System. An artillery system
comprising a launcher and 12 rockets with a range of about 35KM.
[2] HE: High Explosive. One big bomb.
[3] DPICM: Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional munitions. An MLRS
rocket loaded with DPICM contains several hundred softball-
sized bomblets designed to kill personnel in the open and
destroy soft-skinned vehicles. The deployment pattern saturates
an area larger than a football field. Verrrry nasty.
[4] This area is a residential neighborhood. Live rounds impacting
here would have been a bit more than "a small oops."
[5] MET: Meterological data--wind speed, direction, temperature, etc.
Kind of important when you're flinging a big chunk of metal a long
distance through the air.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on August 20, 2002 2:13 PM.

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