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​Rheinmetall Demonstrates GMARS Ground Launcher for JASSM Standoff Cruise Missile

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Global Mobile Artillery Rocket System (GMARS) / Photo credit: Rheinmetall
Global Mobile Artillery Rocket System (GMARS) / Photo credit: Rheinmetall

At Eurosatory 2024, Germany's Rheinmetall showed GMARS — a Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS upgraded to make capable of launching JASSM air-to-surface missiles

German defense giant Rheinmetall at the Eurosatory 2024 arms exhibition, opened June 17th in Paris, showed the most interesting further development of the M142 HIMARS: a modification named GMARS (Global Mobile Artillery Rocket System).

It was created in a joint effort with Lockheed Martin. At first glance, it seems to have gotten just a different chassis, the Rheinmetall 8x8 HX truck, and double the rocket capacity — essentially making it a wheeled M270. However, the innovations extend beyond that.

Read more: ​Rheinmetall Will Make the Frankenstein Systems for Ukraine that Combine 2 Modern Technologies

GMARS integrates new types of ammunition. In addition to the standard GMLRS, GMLRS-ER, and ATACMS, logically, it will support the latter's long-range derivative PrSM. But on top of that, the "future munitions options" outlined by Rheinmetall mention the popular 122mm caliber and an unspecified cruise missile:

However, regardless of Rheinmetall's decision not to write the name, the new type of supported munition is obvious: it's the AGM-158 JASSM, another weapon manufactured by Lockheed Martin. In the base version, JASSM has an attack range of 370 km, coinciding with the official information.

That said, the range of its advanced and (no less importantly) mass-produced version, the JASSM-ER, exceeds 960 km; and the JASSM-XR can fly as far as 1,600 km. Worth noting that in March 2024, the German Ministry of Defense began the procurement procedure for 75 AGM-158B/B-2 JASSM-ER air-launched cruise missiles.

Besides, the notice of the JASSM as a prospect for GMARS indicates that Lockheed Martin continues developing the ground-launched variant of this missile. But it shouldn't be much of a problem to finish, considering the company in 2016 successfully conducted test launches of the LRASM anti-ship missile (based on JASSM) from an Mk 41 vertical launch system.

LRASM vertical launch from a U.S. Navy self defense test ship, 2016 / Defense Express / Rheinmetall Demonstrates GMARS Ground Launcher for JASSM Standoff Cruise Missile
LRASM vertical launch from a U.S. Navy self defense test ship, 2016 / Photo credits: Lockheed Martin, USNI News

This way, Rheinmetall's GMARS wheeled rocket launcher demonstrates the most pragmatic solution that combines the existing developments into a single product.

Side note, MBDA is also developing its cruise missile for HIMARS, called the JFS-M. Though apparently, a surface-launched JASSM will appear much earlier.

Also, most certainly, JASSM will join the arsenal of weapons of the conventional HIMARS after its modernization. This means that pretty soon the capabilities of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps might be increased thanks to a mass-produced cruise missile, which can now be launched from the surface.

Read more: In the U.S. Urges Transfer of AGM-158 JASSM Missiles to Ukraine for F-16 Fighters