Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ukraine Gets MARS On Top Of HIMARS; Kyiv’s Campaign Bolstered By German MLRS As Russia ‘Breathes Heavy’

Germany has sent its version of HIMARS to Kyiv to boost the Ukrainian counteroffensive that has overwhelmed the Russian troops and uprooted them from the positions they occupied since the launch of the invasion.

According to local Russian reports, Germany has sent about 52 pieces of equipment as an emergency measure that has already arrived in Ukraine. This includes about 50 armored personal carriers and two MARS II Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

While EurAsian Times could not independently verify if the equipment has already been delivered, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said earlier that the country would supply two more multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine.

“We have decided to deliver two more MARS II multiple rocket launchers, including 200 rockets, to Ukraine,” she told a Bundeswehr conference. She added, “On top of this, we will send 50 Dingo armored personnel carriers to Ukraine.”

Local reports from Russia suggest that the German MARS II multiple-launch rocket launchers were allegedly first employed by the Ukrainian forces against Kreminna in Luhansk. According to these reports, the Ukrainian military is laying explosives remotely on the city’s territory, although no strikes have yet been conducted using these systems.

German mines were installed remotely using the German MLRS MARS II on the stretches of the territory. The report further noted that the Armed Forces of Ukraine use mines that cannot be deactivated on their own. Previously, Ukrainian troops used similar tactics in Liman, intending to cut off the approaches to the city.

The delivery of MARS II was expected to be spread over several weeks, but there has been evidence that all the equipment announced by Germany had already arrived. The Dingo armored vehicle, for one, was extensively used by the Germans in NATO’s military operation in Afghanistan.

MARS 2 rocket launcher
MARS II MLRS: File Image

The first batch of Medium Artillery Rocket System (MARS II) consisting of three units of the MLRS had arrived in Ukraine in early August, a week after Lambrecht announced the delivery of the system to the war-torn country.

Russian media cautioned that the delivery of MARS II systems to Ukraine is of particular concern because these may simultaneously launch multiple strikes with M30 and M31 missiles within one minute, causing catastrophic destruction if they are not intercepted.

The US-supplied HIMARS and British M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, which are already in operation with the Ukrainian armed forces, have wreaked havoc against Russian positions and have turned the tide in Ukraine’s favor. The Russian air defense systems have been mainly futile in intercepting and killing long-range rockets fired from Ukraine.

The Ukrainian armed forces recently released a video showing the launch of HIMARS rockets, demonstrating a unique feature of the HIMARS multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), which protects it from counterfire.

MLRS systems supplied by NATO allies are significant as they allow Ukraine to strike assets deep into Russian territory. With the HIMARS and M270 already in operation, the German MARS II is a considerable addition, even as Putin has warned against longer-range weapons for Ukraine.

MARS II Multiple Launch Rocket Systems

The German Armed Forces have used the MARS Medium Artillery Rocket System since 1990. Germany, Italy, and France use MARS II/MLRS-E, a European upgrade of the M270. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) modernized and enhanced the MLRS for several nations in collaboration with numerous European partners, including Germany.

Along with the HIMARS, multiple rocket launchers from the US, and the M270 MLRS from the UK, MARS II is the third long-range artillery weapon the West has sent to Ukraine.

 

MARS II has a length of 6.97 meters, a height of 2.59 meters, and weighs about 26.6 tons. Its main armament includes one rocket with 12 tubes, allowing the system to fire 12 missiles in just 60 seconds. It can fire numerous types of rockets and target-dependent, optimized sub-munitions.

In contrast, the HIMARS has a length of 7 meters, a height of 3.2 meters, and weighs about 17.85 tons. The HIMARS can fire the standard MLRS round and the entire MLRS family of munitions, including the extended-range rocket. It can also fire tactical missiles with a maximum range of 300 kilometers.

The M142 HIMARS rocket system is an adaptation of the M270 multiple-launch rocket system. Both systems use the same unified container pod, which can hold six 122mm rockets or a 610mm rocket.

M270 can fire 12 Guided MLRS (GMLRS) or Extended Range (ER) GMLRS rockets, four Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM), or two Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).

HIMARS
File Image: HIMARS

As opposed to the MARS IIs capability to fire 12 rounds in 60 seconds, the M270 can fire 12 rockets in 40 seconds and two rounds of missiles in 10 seconds.

Powered by a 368kW engine, MARS II system has outstanding mobility, and long-range and rapid relocation capability, also known as ‘shoot and scoot.’ It is configured to accommodate future ammunition type and capacity expansions.

Together, the MARS II and the guided GMLRS UNITARY artillery rocket create a system with a remarkable range of more than 70 kilometers that performs duties with the required precision and intended outcome under all operational circumstances.

MARS II, along with M270 MLRS and HIMARS, could be an absolute nightmare for the Russian military, who have had to resort to Soviet-era rockets due to the shortage of precision-guided munitions. As Ukraine proceeds with its counteroffensive, the long-range, precision-guided MLRS from the West will come in handy.

The delivery of MARS II comes at a time when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire at home and abroad for his government’s failure to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine. The new aid comes as pressure mounts on Germany to explain why it refuses to supply Kyiv with German-made Leopard and Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

 

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