Artillery: June 19, 2002


To keep it's MLRS crews well trained, and keep costs down, the U.S. Army provides the crews with cheaper ($2,820 each) reduced range practice rockets. It's buying 5,600 of these rockets for fiscal 2003. These rockets have a maximum range of 15 kilometers, meaning they can be safely used in all North American artillery ranges. Regular MLRS rockets have a range of 40 kilometers or more. The practice rockets have no explosives in the warhead (although there is non-explosive material to equal the weight of the missing explosives), and a smoke cartridge to help spot where the rocket lands. Even so, the practice rockets are so expensive that most crew training involves practicing reloading the MLRS and computer simulations of aiming and firing.


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