Based on the United States M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, the GDI MLRS units delivers multiple rocket rounds effective against infantry and vehicles, and somewhat less effectively against aircraft.
The MLRS is slow, lightly armored, and has a minimum range - it cannot accurately hit units or infantry that are immediately adjacent to it.
Known in-game as the "Rocket Launcher", the MLRS is the only long-range unit available to GDI. At the same price of a GDI Medium Tank, only situated much higher up the GDI tech tree, the MLRS occupies roles that the reasonably armored Medium Tank is not built for: long-range antipersonnel and antiaircraft firepower. If left untouched, the MLRS can deal relentless damage on lighty-armored targets on the ground and in the air. In contrast to the more primitive Nod howitzer Artillery, the MLRS has a turret to allow faster transition between firing and moving. Additionally, while Artillery are helpless against attacks from above, MLRS units can engage targets in the air. The MLRS fires two guided rockets per salvo at a quick rate.
Despite being classified as a rocket artillery, the MLRS can only partially outrange the humble Nod Turret. Using it as a siege unit against Nod requires careful coordination; this rocket artillery has a very small stand-off firing zone against Turrets. Making circumstances all the more difficult for this unit is its vulnerability to most attacks and a dead zone that prevents it from making accurate retaliatory shots against enemies adjacent to it. Lastly, while the $800 price tag is reasonable for the MLRS's capabilities, the availability of this weapon is restricted by an extreme technology requirement; in order to gain access to the MLRS, an Advanced Communications Center is required in addition to a Weapons Factory.
The MLRS is a valuable long-range asset to a mobile armored attack force which can keep up with the pace of tanks. Its multimission nature also makes it suitable for a force which requires fire support without resorting to the much more vulnerable Minigunners, Grenadiers and Rocket Soldiers as anti-personnel and anti-aircraft cover. Given its poor durability, the MLRS is best used behind a line of advancing troops which are better at absorbing enemy fire. These launchers should avoid encounters with Obelisks of Light and Advanced Guard Towers at all costs, unless other units are available to temporarily draw fire away from the launchers. Their ability to destroy aircraft makes them a useful mobile defense at discouraging Nod Apache and Chinook harassment.
In the campaign of Tiberian Dawn, the MLRS is exclusive to GDI. In multiplayer, the unit is available to both sides. It also appears as a Nod unit in several missions of The Covert Operations expansion pack.
- In the internal game configuration files, the MLRS bears the designation "MSAM" (Mobile Surface-to-Air Missile). The actual "MLRS" designation is given to the SSM launcher.
- The MLRS fires a maximum of two explosive anti-aircraft-capable rockets per salvo. The real-life MLRS fires up to 12 rockets per barrage with more than 400 submunitions per rocket. Unlike the game unit, the real-life MLRS is not an anti-aircraft weapon system.