Introducing the MLRS, otherwise known as Hell from above
The MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) was first introduced in the MLRS & Desert Base Update on the 4th of November 2021. It has quickly become its own unique raiding tool within the RUST community, taking the form of 1-12 large rockets (at player discretion) raining hellfire and destruction onto a chosen target location from a fixed point on the map.
The static in-game launching mechanism, located at the Abandoned Military Base found in the desert biome of appropriately sized procedural maps. Those wishing to use the system must first battle the stationed Scientists guarding the base and any other players that might have their own business on site.
How to acquire and use MLRS rockets
MLRS Rockets, the only ammunition type of the MLRS launcher, are unlimited-range ballistic missiles obtained through a variety of methods, chief among them is the destruction and looting of the Bradley APC. While regular elite crates and the Patrol Helicopter have a slight chance of dropping a single rocket, Bradley will almost always drop one per crate (boxes can exceed capacity, and MLRS can rarely be omitted from the loot).
Obtaining the rockets is only one part of the puzzle. In addition to having the ammunition and securing the firing site, players must also acquire an MLRS Aiming Module for every barrage they intend to fire. The only collection method for this item is within Locked Crates, dropped by the Transport Chinook at select monuments, those found on Cargo, or Small and Large Oil Rig. The drop rate is a virtual coin toss, with the chance of acquiring one set at 50/50 per crate. Cargo Ship is your friend.
Press the button!
After acquiring the rockets, the targeting module, breaching the gates of the Abandoned Military Base, dealing with other players, and standing before the launching truck-back platform… did anyone remember to mark the target we intended to blast?
Yeah, it happens.
If it’s your first time using the MLRS system, there are a few preparations that you should consider before heading out to AMB… Using the in-game map system to ‘mark’ the location you intend to pelt is probably the most important. Unfortunately, death markers don’t appear on the targeting screen when choosing the blast zone, but that handy self-placed yellow indicator pin absolutely does.
The firing process itself is quite straightforward. Begin by loading your MLRS rockets into the launch tube manifold on the back of the vehicle. This portion swivels in real time to point toward the target location. It will update its pathing as players change the intended target.
Mount the front of the vehicle as you would any other vehicle and pause a moment to not prematurely press any buttons. On the far left-hand side is a large launch button, and on the right, there will be a panel to insert the aiming module. Just to the left of said aiming module is the target screen that players should interact with once the module is inserted. Do not prematurely hit Fire. The vehicle doesn’t offer refunds.
When aiming MLRS rockets, a red and a white circle will appear on your targeting screen. The red crosshair circle indicates the desired target location, while the white crosshair circle indicates the actual expected area in which the rockets will impact. The rockets impact without prejudice and will damage both enemy and friendly entities alike. Upon firing the inserted payload, the vehicle will become disabled for a brief period of 10 minutes, with the rockets inserted being used up and the aiming module being destroyed. You will require a new aiming module for all further barrages.
Practical uses for the MLRS
Early iterations of this weapon were a bit overpowered, but the current MLRS system has reached a decent balance of damage over an area. Before recent patches, you could foundation wipe a 2×2 structure with a full barrage. The rocket spread and area of effect damage have diminished ever so slightly, and while still very destructive, the barrages are better served against larger targets.
Here’s the before and after with a full barrage from the MLRS on a 2×2 with a high wall.
Probably the single greatest utility of the MLRS strike is for online raids or those against bases with High External Stone Walls, electrical systems, and Auto Turrets. They’re also highly effective at neutralizing ‘roof campers.’
For a solid metric as to damage output, any Twig or upgraded Wooden structure directly impacted will be immediately destroyed by the first rocket. Stone, Metal, and High Quality Metal structures will take exactly 150 damage per missile strike, with consequent partial damage being taken for the nearby area of effect blasts. In simple mathematical terms, It would take just over three direct missile strikes to take out a stone wall, double that for Metal and quadruple for High Quality Metal.
Due to the nature of the aerial strike, the damage is quite spread out, encompassing the entirety of the white circle blast indicator. Favorable strikes could take down a few walls or foundations immediately, with less favorable strikes doing mild to moderate damage depending on the number of rockets sent.
Preventative measures to defend against MLRS
Once locked on and deployed, MLRS rockets cannot be stopped from impacting the target destination unless there are SAM Sites present at the site. It takes roughly three individual SAM sites with sufficient ammo to shoot down a full 12 MLRS rocket barrage successfully. While the damage pattern is random, it will not leave the confines of the targeting circle.
Though terrifying to be on the receiving end, base owners might consider some considerations besides rather expensive SAM sites – starting as early as when selecting their base location. Angle plays a large part in MLRS strikes, with the strike coming directly from the location of the AMB at a slant.
Additional structure on a base, especially things that increase its overall mass or height, like upgraded double door frames, will mitigate a good deal of the area of effect impact damage. High-placed Wind Turbines are highly susceptible to this attack and are often the first thing to go. When firing, consider whether you intend to hit the top or side, as side impacts often open up more of the base.
If your base is positioned appropriately, Cliffsides with overhangs might mitigate or deflect some of the damage directly. A rather unconventional but brilliant method is the Launch Site monument itself. Building right next to the Launch Site monument – particularly on the opposite side of the AMB monument, nearest the Red Puzzle Rocket tower building – will potentially enable the monument and its built-in SAM sites to protect you. While outlandish in theory, this has been proven to work through exhaustive testing. It is extremely map-dependent.
Though frowned upon by some, building in caves is the cheapest, easiest method of never succumbing to an MLRS attack. If none of these measures tickle your fancy, we recommend not angering the zerg that is farming the Bradley APC or making sure your base is tucked away and rather small.
MLRS Rockets cannot target monuments or safe zone areas, so you’ll have to devise another devious plan for those thinking of raining hell on innocents.