UK had to upgrade M270s, but sends them with M31A1s to Ukraine

LONDON ($1=0.80 British Pounds) — Britain will send long-range artillery to Ukraine, and these are M270 multiple launch rocket systems. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the news, stressing that Britain could not build aside while Russian long-range artillery attacked cities and towns.

British M270 MLRS to get a new engine, armored cab, control system
Photo: Cpl Jamie Peters RLC

As wrote earlier this month, the aid comes with the permission of the United States, and in reality, it is American aid. Since the beginning of the war, it has been the practice of the United States to send its weapons systems, which are already in service in partner countries. The announcement that Britain will supply M270 MLRS to Ukraine also means that London and Washington have agreed and it is likely that Britain will receive either compensation by supplying similar weapons systems to maintain the kingdom’s combat capability, or at a later stage. London will receive new weapons systems at a serious discount from the United States.

In addition to the M270 MLRS London sends to Ukraine M31A1 munition on a large scale. M31A1 is a evolved version of M31. M31 is derivative of the M30 with a 90 kg (200 lb) unitary high-explosive warhead for use in urban and mountainous terrain.

Political circles in London have commented that the changing tactics of Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine mean that countries that support Ukraine must also change their position, including Britain. recalls that Britain was the first country to supply Ukraine’s deadly weapons systems since the start of the war, such as anti-tank guided missiles, armored vehicles, infantry vehicles, and anti-aircraft systems.

Britain was preparing an update

The news that London is sending its M270 MLRS to Ukraine comes just a month after London announced it would upgrade its M270s with a new engine and a new weapon system. An agreement has already been signed between the government in London and the American company Lockheed Martin for nearly $224 million for new engines, improved armored cabins, and a common fire control system, as well as enhanced transmissions and modernized system components.

The UK has a total of 42 M270A1 units that had to be upgraded to the M270A2 version by the end of 2026. With London’s agreement to donate M270 MLRS to Kyiv, it is unclear exactly how many weapons systems it will send, whether those remaining on the island’s armaments will be upgraded, and how this changes plans not only for the British defense but also for Lockheed Martin.

About M270 MLRS

M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System [M270 MLRS] is an American-made armored, self-propelled, multiple rocket launcher. In 1983 he enlisted in the United States Army. A total of 20 other countries around the world continue to have or have had this missile system. Production of the M270 MLRS has already been discontinued and has not been produced since 2003.

Bahrain upgrades its armored self-propelled M270 MLRS to M270A1
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The M270 MLRS was designed in 1977 by Lockheed Martin. There are also units manufactured in Europe by Diehl BGT Defense and Aérospatiale. It registered in three wars: the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, and Iraq. There is no confirmed information, but Ukraine claims to have used the M270 MLRS in the war against Russia.

The system can fire 18 rockets in a minute – all 227mm caliber or 2 missiles in a minute. Depending on the modification of the projectile, the operational range of the system is different: from 32 to 70 km. However, the M270 MLRS can multiply the maximum range of damage at least three times if it uses the ATACMS surface-to-surface missile [SSM]: then it strikes at a distance of 165 to 300 km. If used by Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile [PsM] M270 MLRS strikes up to 499 km.

The M270 MLRS is powered by a Commins diesel engine. It provides the rocket launcher with 500 hp [373 kW]. 480 km is the maximum distance that the M270 MLRS travels with a fuel tank to the top, and the maximum speed it can develop reaches 64 km / h [39.8 mph].


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