Lockheed, Rheinmetall to Build Europe-made HIMARS-based Rocket Launcher: Report

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 10:40 AM, June 26, 2023
  • 640
Lockheed, Rheinmetall to Build Europe-made HIMARS-based Rocket Launcher: Report
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) @U.S. Army

Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall have teamed up to build a European-made rocket launcher based on the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The two companies have proposed GMARS- with the G denoting Germany. The system would be similar to HIMARS, but with a much larger chassis, provided by Rheinmetall, and a double loadout capability with two rocket pods instead of one.

“It’ll be our entrée into the European market with a European-produced version of rocket artillery … that can be offered throughout Europe,” Howard Bromberg, vice president and deputy for strategy and business development at Lockheed Martin’s air and missile defense business line, told Defense News on June 21 during an exclusive interview.

He added, “The GMARS system is envisioned as a wheeled artillery system replacing Berlin’s aging MARS 2 multiple launch rocket systems.”

The weapon would integrate a Rheinmetall chassis and a Lockheed Martin loader component, he explained.

GMARS’ chassis would be based on Rheinmetall’s protected, off-the-shelf HX 8x8 to maximize both parts’ commonality and interoperability with the existing, and growing, HX fleet, a Rheinmetall spokesperson informed Defense News in a June 23 email. It would be built in Vienna and measure about 12 meters long, although the dimensions are still being finalized, they said. A HIMARS truck measures about 7 meters long.

GMARS will feature about 80 percent commonality with the HIMARS munitions packages and logistics chain. It will require three personnel to operate, the same as HIMARS.

Lockheed’s launcher-loader component would then be integrated onto the back of the truck, with overall integration efforts taking place in Germany.

Some components of the system would have to be procured from the U.S. through so-called combined foreign military sales and direct commercial sales,. The Rheinmetall truck would be procured via direct commercial sale, he added.

Rheinmetall is interested in providing rocket motors, “which is a very viable option,” Bromberg said.

Meanwhile, Diehl Defence could provide some of the warheads along with Lockheed components.

“The ongoing war in Ukraine against Russian forces has demonstrated the demand for new rocket artillery on the continent,” Bromberg said at the Paris Airshow.

Germany has been in discussions with Rheinmetall and Lockheed Martin to find a replacement for its MARS 2 systems. A memorandum of understanding between the two companies was signed in April.

Berlin donated five MARS 2 rocket launchers and associated ammunition to Kyiv. “They want to backfill those [donated systems] quickly, and then move on to a modernized rocket artillery force,” Bromberg said.

Bundeswehr currently has 34 MARS 2 systems.

Once under contract, the initial five GMARS systems could be delivered for testing and acceptance as early as 2025. “Then, if the Germans wanted to have additional capability in the interim, they could request from the U.S. government to buy straight HIMARS, and then use that for a stopgap,” Bromberg said.

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