The U.S. Marine Corps is testing out yet another way of deploying its far-firing artillery rocket vehicles for quick precision bombardment of enemy forces.
In mid-August 2019 as part of a wider amphibious-warfare experiment, the Marines rolled a wheeled High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, onto a landing craft and sent it across the beach as part of a simulated raid.
Combining landing craft and HIMARS could help the Marines to hit enemy troops from long distance and with a greater chance of surprise.
Megan Eckstein described in detail the wider experiment in an article for the news website of the U.S. Naval Institute.
“U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is investing in exercises this year that test out the naval force’s ability to distribute its people across large swaths of land and sea – and its ability to bring the firepower, logistics and sustainment and sea-control needed to be successful despite the challenges of operating as small units far from the conveniences of a consolidated strike group at sea or land base ashore,” Eckstein wrote.
The experiment took place on and around Japan’s island prefecture Okinawa, where the Pentagon maintains a huge air base and other facilities.
In one phase of the experiment, Marines flying in MV-22 tiltrotors and KC-130 tanker-transports quickly set up an improvised airfield on an island and practiced treating and transporting wounded troops.
In another phase, a three-ship amphibious group centered on the assault ship USS Wasp rehearsed a long-range airfield seizure, a mechanized raid, a long-range vertical assault and the amphibious raid involving the HIMARS.
“Ingredients: three amphibious ships at sea; one HIMARS battery; F-35B Joint Strike Fighters; three companies from a battalion landing team; several islands; one leadership team providing command and control across the whole force at sea and ashore,” Eckstein wrote.