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Old 11-24-2017, 11:30 AM
waltky waltky is offline
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Rockets Obliterate Taliban Drug Labs...

Watch HIMARS Rockets Obliterate Taliban Drug Labs
November 22, 2017 - First the F-22. Now HIMARS? The U.S. military is turning to some serious firepower to go after Taliban drug labs in Afghanistan.
U.S. and Afghan forces this week attacked Taliban opium-production facilities with the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which features a launcher mounted on an M1140 truck frame. As my colleague Oriana Pawlyk wrote in back-to-back stories here on DefenseTech, the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made F-22 Raptor on Sunday made its combat debut in Afghanistan.

But as Pawlyk reported, the stealthy fifth-generation, twin-engine fighter developed for air-to-air superiority conducted a ground-attack mission, pummeling suspected drug labs in the country with small diameter bombs. Similarly for the counter-narcotics mission, U.S. commanders turned to HIMARS, which is also made by Lockheed and carries a six-pack launcher or one MGM-140 ATACMS missile on the bed of a medium-duty truck.

U.S. and Afghan forces attacked Taliban opium-production labs with the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a launcher mounted on an M1140 truck frame

The technology seems to be increasingly versatile — the Navy and Marine Corps just last month test-fired the system from the deck of the amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD-23) to gauge its ability to conduct precision fires at a shore target. In that exercise, the HIMARS destroyed an unidentified land-based target from a distance of 70 kilometers, or roughly 43 miles, using a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary, or GMLRS-U.

It’s not immediately clear whether the F-22 and HIMARS strikes suggest an evolving counternarcotics mission for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the world’s main source of opium and heroin production — and the Taliban generates an estimated $100 million to $155 million annually in illicit income from the drug trade, potentially more than a quarter of total Taliban annual revenue, according to a 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service.
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