The MLRS has been in use in German Armed Forces since 1990 under the designation MARS Medium Artillery Rocket System. MARS II/MLRS-E is a European upgrade of M270 involving Germany, Italy and France. In cooperation with various European partners, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) upgraded and modernised the MLRS for several nations: Germany (from MARS to MARS II/MLRS-E), Italy (from MLRS to MLRS Improved) and France (from MLRS to Lance Roquette Unitaire (LRU)). MARS II/MLRS-E is equipped with a new fire control system (EFCS – European Fire Control System) designed par Airbus Defense and Space. EFCS enables firing of M31, 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.
During networked operating command, the MARS was an effective partner for engaging area targets in conflict scenarios in general and operative fire missions. MARS can fire different types of ammunition at individual targets over distances of 10 to 40 km. Integration in the European Fire Control System (EFCS) with the additional function of firing guided GMLRS rockets. Replacement of the obsolescent hydraulic laying drives by an electric laying system developed by KMW, which enables rapid laying and reduces maintenance and repair effort as compared to the hydraulic system. Installation of a fully automatic halon and CFC-free fire extinguishing system which uses nitrogen as the extinguishing agent for the engine compartment.
The German Armed Forces will procure another 1,818 unitary guided missiles for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) with a unitary warhead. At a cost of around 213 million euros ($239 Million), the defense against enemy missiles will be improved, and sufficient missiles will be available for the NATO VJTF (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force). The MARS II/MLRS-E together with the guided GMLRS UNITARY artillery rocket forms a system which, with its outstanding range of over 70 km, completes tasks with the necessary precision and desired effect under any operating conditions.
GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strike beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The GMLRS AW was the first munition developed to service area targets without the effects of unexploded ordinance. GMLRS unitary rockets exceed the required combat reliability rate and are cost-effective. Each GMLRS rocket is packaged in an MLRS launch pod and is fired from the Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS or M270 family of launchers. Currently, both GMLRS variants “Unitary and SMArt” are supported by the MARS II Fire Control System. To increase its terminal efficiency, the MARS2 offers a high accuracy to limit the number of rockets needed to treat a target but also a graduation effects by several modes of triggering its military load.