The United States is stepping up its weapon supply to Ukraine by offering highly advanced rocket launchers that have long been requested by the officials of the war-torn country.

The appeal was also backed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said in a statement that offering the rocket systems  “would enable them [Ukrainian military] to defend themselves against the brutal Russian artillery, and that’s where the world needs to go down.”

The MLRS, which stands for Multiple Launch Rocket System, is an armoured and self-propelled system that launches rockets that are mounted on vehicle platforms. The MLRS MFOM, which stands for MLRS Family of Munitions, has the ability to fire in less than 60 seconds by a crew of three individuals.  

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MLRS was co-created by the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy, and developed from the conventional General Support Rocket System (GSRS).

The first M270s, which date back to 1983, were used by the US Army. Since then, the rocket system has been utilized by several NATO nations. The United States and Europe have manufactured about 1,300 M270 systems along with over 700,000 rockets.

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The rockets launched from the automatic system can strike targets between 20 and 40 miles away. More advanced models of the rockets can travel over 100 miles, according to Newsweek.

The MLRS MFOM that can be fired from M270 systems consists of two Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), four Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM) and 12 Guided MLRS (GMLRS) or Extended Range (ER) GMLRS rockets.

Aerospace company Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with Red River Army Depot, is under contract to recapitalize over 50 M270 launchers of the US Army. The companies will upgrade the system as “zero-time” launchers. The refurbished launchers will consist of Improved Armored Cabs (IAC), new Common Fire Control System (CFCS), and new engines. Changes like improved system parts and transmissions will also be a part of the upgrade.