On 5 December 2018 representatives of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and the company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG (KMW)signed the contract for the upgrade of 18 further MARS rocket launchers to MARS II.
Subsequent to the approval of the defence and budget committees and today’s contract signature both sides will begin to implement the contract. The upgrade of 18 further rocket launchers will be concluded by 2022.
“The contract conclusion paves the way for fully equipping the artillery units with the medium-range artillery rocket system MARS II” said Dr. Michael Krein, Technischer Regierungsdirektor and project manager.
This upgrade enables the rocket launchers to fire GPS-based M31 Unitary rockets with the European Fire Control System (EFCS). Apart from an improved hit accuracy the rocket has an enhanced range of 75 kilometers.
Every launcher will also be equipped with new electrical drive systems and a fire extinguishing system. The rocket launcher has two launch pods with six rockets each that can be fired in less than one minute.
The MARS rocket launcher was developed by the United States, Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy as early as the 1980s in the context of the international MLRS program (Multiple Launch Rocket System). The MARS system was fielded in the Bundeswehr in 1990.
The first lot of rocket launchers was upgraded to MARS II before 2013. This new contract will conclude the full equipment of the artillery with this system.