JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Test firing of Reduced Range Practice Rockets (RRPR) this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is delayed. The firings are delayed because an important safety feature on the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System vehicle alerted field artillery Soldiers Friday that there was insufficient tree-top clearance at the firing point.
Leading up to this week’s scheduled test firing, about one acre of trees were removed from the Hayes Hill firing point on JBLM Lewis Main to ensure the 27 HIMARS rockets would not hit any trees during launch.
A field artillery crew rehearsed with the HIMARS vehicle on the Hayes Hill firing point on Friday to prepare themselves for Tuesday’s first RRPR test fire. During the rehearsal the HIMARS fire control computer indicated that more (tree) clearance may be needed to ensure the rockets could be fired safely and accurately.
This week’s RRPR test firing is delayed while JBLM and field artillery experts work through several options to determine whether the tests can be done in the future. At this time, no decision has been made. The earliest the tests could be conducted is next week, March 22-24.
The base will only conduct the tests when they can be done safely and accurately, thereby protecting the surrounding communities and the Soldiers who are conducting the tests.
We understand the communities’ interest in these tests. Moreover, we appreciate everyone’s patience while we consider our options, and we apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause our neighbors.