The Netherlands is set to become the first foreign customer of the Israeli Precise and Universal Launching System (PULS) multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), a new and advanced system that can fire rockets with high precision and flexibility.
The Dutch Ministry of Defence announced on 3 April that it will procure 20 PULS MRLs in 2023–26, as part of a plan to enhance the fire support capabilities of the Royal Netherlands Army.
The PULS MRLs are developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems, a leading Israeli defence company. According to Elbit, the PULS is a modular and scalable system that can launch various types of rockets and missiles from a single platform, using a universal launcher pod. The PULS can fire rockets with ranges from 10 to 150 km, and can also launch guided munitions such as the EXTRA and LORA missiles. The PULS can be mounted on different types of vehicles, such as trucks or tracked vehicles, and can be operated remotely or autonomously.
The PULS MRLs will replace the ageing M109 howitzers that the Dutch army currently uses for fire support. The M109s have a limited range of 30 km and require a large crew and logistics support. The PULS MRLs will offer a longer range, larger payloads, faster target acquisition and reduced vulnerability to counter-battery fire. The PULS MRLs will also complement the existing 155 mm PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers that the Dutch army operates.
The procurement of the PULS MRLs is part of a broader effort by the Dutch Ministry of Defence to strengthen the military’s firepower and deterrence, especially in light of the growing tensions in Europe and beyond. The Dutch Navy and air force are also acquiring long-range weapons, such as the Tomahawk cruise missiles for frigates and submarines, and the JASSM-ER air-launched cruise missiles for F-35 fighter jets. These weapons will enable the Dutch armed forces to strike targets at distances of more than 1,000 km and to penetrate heavily defended areas.
The acquisition of the PULS MRLs and other long-range weapons demonstrates the Netherlands’ commitment to NATO’s collective defence and security. The Dutch Ministry of Defence stated that “the war in Ukraine shows once again that fire support over short, medium and long-range is essential. This applies on land, from the air and from the sea. With the new systems, the Ministry of Defence further substantiates NATO’s common combat power and deterrence.” The Netherlands is also one of the few NATO members that meet the target of spending 2% of its GDP on defence.