- Yes, as a TT vehicle
- Yes, as an event/premium vehicle
Special thanks to @CaID and his old suggestion post
History & Introduction
The MAR-290 was a commissioned MLRS by the IDF-GF to the Israeli Military Industries in 1973. During the fourth Middle East war, Israel captured a number of BM-24 MLRS, and desired that it needed a MLRS of a similar attribute, with the intention of demolishing well protected buildings from a safe distance. The said weapon, developed on the M-50 chassis, known as the Episkopi, was the first iteration of the NURS 290mm launcher. This is also arguably the first Middle Eastern design of a “siege MLRS”, which was abandoned by Israel after the 2,000s, but was adopted by Iran during the 1980s and spread across the Arab world, creating weapons such as the famous Golan-1000 from Syria. The topic aims to introduce the MAR-290 mounted on a Sho’t chassis: the Eshel ha-Yarden prototype, as a tank destroyer for Israel.
The original MAR-290 Episkopi:
The Eshel ha-Yarden never made it into the full production of the IDF-GF, but it was deployed in the 1982 Lebanon war with no known results, which likely disappointed the army and canceled it. Yet, the machine, having been starred in the RTT game Wargame: Red Dragon, has become the meme for derp artillery, and there has been calls for it to enter War Thunder as well.
The only MAR-290 Eshel ha-Yarden in present day, located at Batey ha-Osef Museum, Israel:
Mobility and protection wise, the Eshel ha-Yarden is based on the Sho’t chassis, a modified centurion mk.3, crewed by four. Given its BR in game, it may be well protected around 6.0 to 7.0, but anywhere higher would make its protection worthless. The huge rocket launchers also meant a huge target profile, since they are over five meters long and can detonate themselves in a huge explosion if being shot at. The modified Eshel ha-Yarden weighs 50.6 tonnes, and was powered by a 640 horsepower engine, giving it no more than 35 kilometers per hour on road. A self-defense pintle mounted 7.62mm GPMG is also located on the prototype, most likely being the FN MAG, the mass-used machine gun by the IDF-GF vehicles.
The firepower is arguably what this vehicle is all about: four 600 kilogram-NURS 290mm rockets, mounted atop of the tank, which can be emptied in 10 seconds. The launcher can traverse full 360 degrees and it may also elevate between 0 and 60 degrees. They feature the “Eivri” HE-FRAG and “Chaviv” cluster warhead, the HE-FRAG being the only plausible weapon in war thunder. Each of the rockets contain a 325 kilograms of warhead with unknown explosive fillers, assuming it is TNT, its warhead may range anywhere from 100 to 150 kilograms equivalent. Being intended as an indirect MLRS, the MAR-290 features a similar trajectory to the sturmtiger, where a slow boost is supported by a sustained launcher. There are no clear attributes to the speed, but the previous forum post suggested about 400 maximum and 270 upon contact of targets, in real life conditions. Given the situation of War Thunder, it will be around 360 m/s, which still requires careful lead calculations against moving targets. However, were a rocket to land even near an enemy vehicle, it is more than certain to receive that 150 kilograms of kosher salt and an express ticket back to the hangar screen.
The MAR-290 firing its rocket:
Role in war thunder:
The game has never had a shortage of derp tank destroyers. The M4 calliope, rocket pershing, and more recently, the sturmtiger and BM-31-12 andryusha. More practical vehicles such as the M109 or type 75/99 SPH have also found their solid role in the game. Rocket launcher-type tank destroyers often do not provide a game-turning significance or high kill-rates for rewards, but a lot of dopamine and joy when a player scores a kill with its comically big rockets. Given its 25.2 kilometers max range, it is likely to be unable to provide indirect fire due to its over-flat trajectory, yet the slow muzzle velocity requires a good lead calculation. The fact that it features four sturmtiger-sized rockets that can be fired at once and a 360-degree rotating turret meant that urban brawling would be more feasible or on maps with medium-range engagements such as the Abandoned Factory, Gold Mine or Poland.
Israel is known for improvised or semi-improvised tank designs, the MAR-290 being an example of these. In-game, it has the potential to receive multiple indigenous SPH designs such as the M50/155 latrun, the merkava sholef and the M-72 soltam, which was passed to the devs as well. This would make it unique compared to other tech trees, featuring a unique derp gun lineup.
The MAR-290 in the game Wargame: Red Dragon, which gave it the infamy of being the derp launcher: