The Swedish Armed Forces has conducted a joint exercise with the 56th artillery command, stationed in Germany, using HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). The 56th artillery command is a reinforcement force that travels Europe, conducting HIRAIN, HIMARS Rapid Infiltration.
At the Vidsel airbase, the Hercules exercised with Swedish K 3 units that provided target coordinates. The target in the exercise area was a fictitious command post consisting of vehicles and containers, placed approximately at a 30-km distance. The HIMARS system launched six rockets and hit the target.
“The outcome of the exercise proves that, in cooperation with partners, we are able to fight long-distance targets, which is crucial in order to avoid being defeated”, says deputy Chief of the Army, Laura Swaan Wrede.
The HIMARS unit is handled by three individuals; the firer, the driver and the artillery piece officer and the system may be loaded with various types of ammunition. In the Vidsel exercise, six 227-mm M31 rockets with a 91-kg high explosive warhead were used. The rockets are self-propelled and GPS-guided, which enables high accuracy. The HIMARS artillery system has a maximum range of 300 km.
The deputy Chief of the Army maintains that the war in Ukraine has clearly indicated the need for long-range precision strike systems against high-value targets. With a rocket artillery system such as the HIMARS system, Gotland could be defended from the mainland, or the Baltic States from Gotland.
“Today’s exercise stresses the importance of long-range artillery in a modern army. A combination of gun barrel artillery and rocket artillery is a potential, future solution for the Swedish Armed Forces”, says Laura Swaan Wrede.