Germany to provide Ukraine with three MARS German M270 rocket launcher systems


According to a statement published by the U.S. Department of Defense on June 15, 2022, after the American HIMARS and the British M270 MLRS Multiple Launch Rockets Systems, Germany has announced the transfer to Ukraine of three M270 Mittleres Artillerie Raketen System (MARS) rocket launcher vehicles and GMLRS guided ammunition from German army stocks.
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German army MARS M270 MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. (Picture source KMW)


The United States, United Kingdom, and Germany are deeply committed to supporting Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia's invasion. To help Ukraine defend its citizens and sovereign territory, the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany have committed to provide Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) with Guided MLRS (GMLRS - Guided Multiple launch Rocket System) rockets.

Ukraine has specifically requested this capability, which will allow the Ukrainian Armed Forces to engage Russian army positions with accurate fire at ranges of approximately 70 kilometers.

The United States announced on June 1, 2022, that it would provide four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and GMLRS munitions. On June 6, the United Kingdom announced it would donate three M270 MLRS launchers with GMLRS munitions.

On June 15, 2022, at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels, Belgium, German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht announced that Germany would transfer three M270 Mittleres Artillerie Raketen System (MARS) launchers and GMLRS ammunition from Bundeswehr stocks.

The transfer of these MLRS systems and the associated training our three countries will provide to Ukrainian operators is crucial to Ukraine's self-defense. The necessary training has already begun on the U.S. HIMARS and UK M270 systems for their deployment in the coming weeks, and training on the German MARS launchers will begin very soon so the systems and their Ukrainian crews can be deployed urgently and without delay.


Germany to provide Ukraine with three MARS German M270 rocket launcher systems 925 002
The MARS is a German upgrade of the American M270 MLRS based on the same tracked chassis and using the same launcher pods. (Picture source KMW)


The MARS is a German upgrade of the American M270 MLRS which has the same layout consisting of two pods of six launcher tubes able to fire unguided 230 mm rockets mounted on a tracked chassis with a crew cab. All the firing operations can be performed from inside the crew cabin which is fitted with an overpressure ventilation system to prevent rocket fumes from entering the cab. Equipment capabilities permit a reduced crew, or even one person, to accomplish a complete fire mission including the loading and unloading operations.

The latest generation of German-army MLRS, the MARS II/MLRS-E has a crew of three including the driver, commander, and gunner who are seated in the fully enclosed cab at the front of the vehicle offering protection against the firing of small arms and artillery shells fragments by aluminum armor and louvered windows.

The upgraded MARS II/MLRS-E with the new GMLRS is now able to conduct high-precision engagement of point and individual targets and is used as an artillery sniper weapon. The obsolete hydraulic laying drives have been replaced by an electric laying system (Electrical Launch Drive System – ELDS) developed by the German company KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann), which enables rapid laying and reduces maintenance and repair effort as compared to the hydraulic system. The vehicle is also fitted with a fully automatic halon and CFC-free fire extinguishing system which uses nitrogen as the extinguishing agent for the engine compartment. It enables automatic fire monitoring and fighting, even up to 24 hours after the MARS II/MLRS-E launcher has been shut down. This retrofit package is –unlike the other two upgrade measures – currently only used in Germany and Italy.

The MARS II/MLRS-E is motorized with a Cummins VTA-903 turbocharged 8-cylinder diesel engine developing 500 hp at 2,400 rpm coupled to General Dynamics Land Systems HMPT-500 hydro-mechanical transmission. It can run at a maximum road speed of 64 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 483 km.


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