May 20, 2023:
The U.S. Army has placed a multi-year contract for 10,000 GMLRS guided rockets a year (up from 6,000) through 2026, at a cost of $170,000 per rocket. An unspecified number of the rockets will be the longer range (150 kilometers versus 70) SDB version which uses an SDB glide bomb as a second-stage. The SDB uses multiple guidance systems to pit targets, including moving one, with more precision. Some of the SDB version have been used in Ukraine and found effective. Plans are being made to increase production to 14,000 GMLRS rockets a year total because of growing export orders from other countries. Currently Ukraine is the largest user of GMLRS. In the last year Ukraine has received about 3,000 GMLRS rockets plus at least 20 HIMARS launcher vehicles. That makes Ukraine the largest user of GMLRS rockets in combat. Previously American forces had used GMLRS in Iraq and Afghanistan. GMLRS entered service in 2004 and the smaller, truck-based HIMARS launcher became available in 2005. The combination of GMLRS and HIMARS proved very popular with a growing number of export customers.
The 227mm GMLRS is a guided version of the original (1983) unguided MLRS rocket. After the guided (GMLRS) version came along, Russia and China were quick to adopt the concept of guided rockets. South Korea also developed its version; the 239mm Chunmoo guided rockets that are similar to GMLRS with a range of 80 kilometers. There is a 400mm version with a range of over 200 kilometers. These entered service in 2017 using a launcher similar to HIMARS. South Korea has received orders for Chunmoo from some NATO countries.