GAW High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS):

The M-270 was the United States Military's main artillery missile platform and was based on the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle's chassis. The vehicle was too heavy to be air transported so a lighter missile vehicle was developed using the FMTV series of five ton trucks. The design is around 15 tons compared to around 27 tons for the M-270 MLRS. It only carried half the missiles / rockets of the M270 and the truck had some other limitations compared to the tracked M-270 but still was extremely capable in a wide variety of terrains.

Eventually, a large number of these vehicles entered combat service. They mostly served in the United States Military but a number were used by other militaries. Also, a number of militaries adopted the missile launcher but mounted it on different truck chassis. They were not armored like the M-270 and instead were usually used from concealed positions and avoided direct combat. With the introduction of longer ranged guided projectiles, this became far less of a problem although they still could get easily into trouble.

Like the M-270 itself, the HIMARS was rendered obsolete by the revolution in incredibly high strength composites and alloys. They were initially retired to reserve units. Most of them were later scrapped but a surprising number simply sat forgotten in virtually abandoned National Guard Armories for many years. Others were left in military bone yards. Because many of these locations were in extremely rural locations, some of the bone yards were virtually desert, and a surprising number survived. The dry weather of some of the bone yards also prevented corrosion from destroying the vehicles.

With adventurers combing what had once been the United States, it was only a matter of time until some of these vehicles were rediscovered. Many of these were also recovered and refitted. Golden Age Weaponsmiths is one of the most common companies asked to refit these vehicles. They also manufacture several common truck designs including one based on the FMTV series of two and a half and five ton trucks. Military trucks are often more all terrain capable than civilian designs and with the quality of roads, all terrain vehicles are virtually a necessity. The refitted HIMARS, even with their weaknesses, are extremely popular due to their incredibly low cost.

Their refit includes the thorough restoration of the engine and other systems. With their manufacture of a similar truck design, they can also replace destroyed engines if needed. Of course, the vehicle is outfitted with new composite and alloy armors so that they can withstand at least a little bit of damage in the post Rifts battlefield. The missile launcher is refitted with the new missiles which were developed since the vehicle was designed. A total of six long range missiles or a single cruise missile can be carried. Due to flexibility, most crews prefer six long range missiles over a single cruise missile. One weakness is that long range missiles mostly rely on their own guidance systems. In addition to the missile launchers, a single light weapon mount can be added to the vehicle, normally on the roof of the cab. A light energy weapon or rail gun is common for vehicle defense.

Even though the company manufacture virtually the same truck as is the basis for this design, the company does not appear to be interested in manufacturing a similar vehicle. Still, there is a long range missile box launcher with a capacity of six long range missiles available to be mounted on a truck chassis which allows for a surprisingly similar vehicle. The vehicle is much more expensive but is still much cheaper than most armored vehicle designs.

Model Type: GAW M142 HIMARS
Vehicle Type: Wheeled Mobile Missile Artillery
Crew: 3 (Gunner, Driver, and Section Chief)

M.D.C. by Location:

Missile Launcher (1)60
[1] Tow Winches (Optional - Front / Rear)5 each
[1] Headlight (2)2 each
[2] Tires (6):10 each
Crew Compartment50
[3] Main Body:120

[1] These are small and difficult targets to strike, requiring the attacker to make a “called shot,” but even then the attacker is -4 to strike.
[2] If one tire on a side is destroyed (not including front wheels), the vehicle is reduced in top speed by 20% and has a -25% to piloting rolls when being operated off-road. If two tires on a side are destroyed, the vehicle will be immobilized. The loss of a single front wheel will also immobilize vehicle.
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the unit down completely, making it useless.

Ground: Cruising speed on land is 58 mph (94 kph) on roads and 46.6 mph (75 kph) off road maximum.
Water Capabilities: Not Amphibious but can ford water up to 2.5 feet (0.762 meters) deep.
Maximum Range: 300 miles. (482.8 km) The vehicle is designed to traverse virtually all terrain and can climb at up to a 40% grade although at a much slower speed (About 10% of maximum road speed). It can also climb barriers and ford trenches. The vehicle can also handle side slopes of up to 20%.

Statistical Data:
Height: 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) launcher stowed
Width: 7.9 feet (2.4 meters)
Length: 23.0 feet (7.0 meters)
Weight: 24,008 lb (10,890 kg) fully loaded.
Power Source: Caterpillar 6.6 Liter Diesel Engine (6 cylinder / 290 hp)
Cargo Capacity: Effectively none (Missile Launcher replaces cargo bed) - Crew can carry small arms in cab along with standard equipment (4 cubic foot storage area behind seats)
Black Market Cost: Refitted Pre-Rifts Vehicle costs 85,000 Credits. New Manufacture vehicles with Six Long Range Missiles cost 520,000 Credits (Vehicle costs 120,000 Credits with Long Range Missile Launcher costing 400,000 Credits.) Tow Winch & Cable costs 2,000 credits each

Weapon Systems (One light weapon mount can be added):

  1. Missile / Rocket Launchers (1): Where the cargo bed is normally carried, the vehicle mounts a single box launcher which can mount either long range missiles or cruise missiles. The launcher can carry six long range missiles or a single cruise missile. The launcher has been refitted to either carry a total of twelve long range missile or two cruise missiles. In many cases, long range missiles will be unguided to reduce the cost of ordinance used. The launchers can rotate 360 degrees.
    Maximum Effective Range: As per long range / cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies with long range / cruise missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time (New launchers can fire volleys of one (1), two (2), or three(3) missiles per volley.)
    Payload: Six (6) Long Range Missile or One (1) Cruise Missile. (New launchers are limited to six long range missiles).

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2008, Kitsune. All rights reserved.