On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed the delivery of additional weapon systems to Ukraine including three PzH 2000 155mm self-propelled howitzer and three MARS II which is a German version of the American-made M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System).
Citing information from the German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, Germany has already delivered five Gepard 35mm mobile self-propelled anti-aircraft armored vehicles and in the coming months, Ukraine will receive 30 Gepard and around 60,000 rounds of ammunition coming from the German army stocks as well as the Gepard air defense vehicles and the MARS II MLRS.
The MARS II also called MLRS-E is an upgraded version of the MARS which is the German version of the American-made M270 MLRS. The MARS II is able to fire 12 guided and unguided rockets in less than 60 seconds. It has a launcher pod mounted at the rear of tracked chassis which is equipped with 12 launcher tubes.
The MARS II of the German army is equipped with a new European Fire Control System (EFC) enabling the firing of guided rockets called GMLRS. It can also fire M31 GMLRS, M31A1, M32, AT2 and 110 mm rockets, but not of M26, M26A1, and M30, so as to ensure full compliance with the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
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 MARS II rocket has a minimum engagement range of 15 km and can hit a target up to 70 km. It also integrates a 90 kg unitary warhead, providing precision strikes for point targets.
The obsolete hydraulic laying drives have been replaced by an electric laying system (Electrical Launch Drive System – ELDS) developed by the German company KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann), which enables rapid laying and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.