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Rheinmetall eyes German Army requirement with new artillery rocket system

19th June 2024 - 07:24 GMT | by Christopher F Foss in Paris

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The Global Mobile Artillery Rocket System (GMARS) is based on a an RMMV HX-series 8x8 truck. (Photo: Rheinmetall)

The GMARS wheeled artillery rocket launcher offers greater mobility than the tracked M270 MLRS and double the firepower of the M142 HIMARS, and can support next-generation munitions. Germany has a requirement for 70 launchers and many other NATO armies are looking to renew or supplement their indirect fire capabilities.

Rheinmetall and Lockheed Martin have teamed up to launch the Global Mobile Artillery Rocket System (GMARS), displayed at Eurosatory this week.

GMARS uses a Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) HX-series 8x8 truck chassis with protected cab fitted with a new two-pod launcher capable of firing the existing Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Family of Munitions (MFOM) to achieve long ranges and high precision.

One potential near-term market for GMARS is the German Army which intends to increase its surface-to-surface rocket fleet, currently standing at 36 M270 MLRS 12-round launchers which have been upgraded to the European MARS II standard.

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The total requirement is for a fleet of 70 launchers which could be more upgraded M270s, the US HIMARS or GMARS.

An alternative bid from KNDS Germany with the EuroPULS (Precise Universal Launching System) mounted on a tracked or wheeled (8x8 or 6x6) chassis cannot fire the MFOM missiles already in stock with the German Army.

The GMARS launcher offers the same capabilities as the original tracked M270 but in a smaller form factor.

The current production M142 High HIMARS is based on a standard Family of Medium Tactical Trucks (FMTV) with protected cab and a pod of six rockets at the rear. It is air-transportable in a C-130 Hercules.

Key advantages of the new GMARS are that it has double the firepower of HIMARS, and the 8x8 platform has improved cross-country and urban mobility, plus greater speed.

The HX is already in use in many NATO and allied countries around the world as a logistics truck and carrier for high-value systems such as the Patriot and IRIS-T missiles. It is also a candidate for the US Army’s Common Tactical Truck.

In addition GMARS enables rapid emplacement into and out of action because no outriggers are required for firing. It has a boom and hoist system integrated onto the launcher that enables safe and rapid reload under all weather conditions.

Rheinmetall quotes the maximum gross weight of the complete system at 37,500kg which offers a lot of growth potential as the actual in-service weight will be significantly lower.

It has a maximum road speed of up to 100km/h and a typical operating range of up to 700km. The Level 3 protected cab has seats for three, but GMARS can be operated by a crew of two.

It has the latest Universal Fire Control System (UFCS) and an inertial navigation system, enabling it to carry out shoot-and-scoot missions, thus avoiding counter-battery fire.

It can fire the complete Lockheed Martin MFOM range including Guided MLRS with a range of more than 70km, Extended Range GMLRS with a range of 150km and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) with a range of 300km.

A unique feature is that it can launch the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), currently in preparation for low-rate initial production, with a maximum range of over 400km. Both ATACMS and PrSM benefit from the double launcher pod as it can carry two or four rounds respectively ready to fire.

Also supported are 122mm training rockets with a range of 22km and surface-launched cruise missiles with a range of over 370km are a future growth potential.

Rheinmetall spokesperson Marius Meyering said: “No other Western contractor can offer the long-range capability and firepower of the battle-proven and cost-effective MFOM in combination with the best tactical truck on the planet at much lower life cycle costs as tracked systems.”

Initial firing trials of GMARS will take place at the US Army White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in the first quarter of 2025.

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems

MLRS

HIMARS

Christopher F Foss

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Christopher F Foss


Christopher F Foss is an internationally recognised authority on armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and other weapon systems, …

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