The Marines’ New Unmanned Ship Killing Missile Launcher Truck Breaks Cover

There remain limited details about the underlying ROGUE-Fires vehicle, which looks to use a largely unmodified 4×4 JLTV chassis and retains that vehicle’s hood over the front-mounted engine, but dispenses with the cab and the standard rear body arrangement. in 2015, the JTLV won a competition to become the replacement for the iconic Humvee in the U.S. Army and Marines Corps. These vehicles, which come in various configurations, including armed versions and light utility types, are now starting to replace those older Cold War-era 4x4s elsewhere across the U.S. military.

We don’t know yet the extent of ROGUE-Fires’ unmanned capabilities, such as whether or not it is simply remote-controlled by personnel on the ground or if it can operate in some kind of tethered, semi-autonomous mode where it could follow manned vehicles or dismounted personnel, or how close operators might need to be to the vehicles in either case. It’s similarly unclear whether it has more robust autonomous capabilities or if the Marines plan to add in that kind of functionality in the future. Oshkosh, which makes the JLTV, has already worked with the Marines, in cooperation with the Navy, in the past on driverless versions of other light tactical vehicles and trucks.

As a general concept, unmanned launch vehicles, networked together and with other offboard assets, could enable smaller units to bring significant strike capability to bear across a relatively broad area. At the same time, it could enable the launchers and their operators to be positioned in a more distributed manner, and be more readily able to move from one location to another, increasing their flexibility while also reducing their vulnerability to counterattacks. The U.S. Army is presently exploring the possibility of using unmanned launchers for its future Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM) for the same reasons.

It’s also important to point out that the Marines have, at least in the past, planned to use ROGUE-Fires vehicle as a launch platform for various kinds of munitions. The first artwork of the system that emerged in 2018 showed it fitted with a version of the launcher found on the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which is capable of firing 227mm guided artillery rockets and Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) short-range ballistic missiles. The Army plans to use that same launcher to fire the PrSM, too. Separately, the Marine Corps is also looking to field larger, longer-range missiles than NSM, such as the Tomahawk cruise missile, using ground-based launchers.

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