The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has successfully rehearsed the launch of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The rehearsal, called combined joint HIMARS rapid insertion (CJHIRAIN), was conducted during exercise Cobra Gold 2020.

HIMARS was employed for the first time with Royal Thai Marines at Chandy Range, Thailand.

The CJHIRAIN mission saw several executions of HIMARS operations.

The US Air Force 353rd Special Operations Command 17th Special Operations Squadron was also part of the rehearsal.

This launch marked the first employment of the system with joint forces for the 31st MEU.

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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit commanding officer Colonel Robert Brodie said: “The 31st MEU is the only MEU in the Corps with HIMARS.

“Working with joint and multinational forces, we were able to rapidly deploy the HIMARS demonstrating our collective capability to respond to any threat under any circumstance.”

During the mission, marines of the Royal Thai Marine Corps and 31st MEU low altitude air defence detachment provided bilateral security.

Rehearsals saw the use of AFSOC 17th Special Operations Squadron MC-130J Commando II. HIMARS was transported on the modified version of the C-130 Hercules transport.

Following the landing of MC-130J, HIMARS conducted a simulated fire mission and then completed a coordinated bilateral and multi-service operation.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit fires officer major Brock Lennon said: “The interoperability we achieved with the Royal Thai Marine Corps provides true flexibility in the delivery of long-range precision rocket fires.

“During this evolution of Cobra Gold, the US and Royal Thai Marine Corps team delivered HIMARS into the fight by both air and sea, improving our combined capabilities.”