Every year, large-caliber multiple launch rocket systems are acquired by more armies in the world. The most important weapon of war - artillery - was one of the most important ever, now we have further growth trends in its development and acquisition, even despite the fact that the XXI century has generated a huge variety of aircraft and even managed, that not so long ago it was still only limit dreams of rockets being useful for various purposes.
This trend is not fading away due to the fact that there is a constant multidirectional improvement, development and refinement of artillery systems. To date, the most powerful caliber are multiple rocket launchers(MLRS). The development of these systems has led such that most powerful of them can wipe out entire army units and connections. Previously, 300 millimeter MLRS, only one was a proud of the Soviet Union, and now such systems become adopted by more and more countries, some of them have started their own production of MLRS.
Attracts attention is that the first in a privileged club of developers and owners of their own heavy multiple rocket launchers entered Japan, but she had to agree to certain rules and stipulations. In 1968, the Japan Self-Defense Forces has armed its own 307-millimeter-E complex "Type 67". In theory, the complex fell under the definition of MLRS. It included in its membership combat vehicles with a launcher that was installed on the vehicle chassis «HINO», which can reach speeds up to 78 km / h. Fighting vehicle there were two guides for firing rockets "Type 68". Their length was 4.5 meters and weight reached 573 kg. Japanese heavy MLRS produced by rocket and space division of the company of "Nissan Motor Co.." And the range of such plants reached 28 kilometers.To date, this heavy multiple rocket launchers already withdrew from the production, because Japanese military now prefers to buy equipment such as MLRS from their American partners.
The next country which has always tried to develop different patterns of itself is Israel. This country was able to use accumulated experience of many years to create the MLRS. State company «IMI» in 1965, began work on a 290 mm multiple launch rocket systems such as MAR-290. This system was taken up by the national armed forces in the late 1960s. To date, MAR-290 still serves as a defense of Israel, according to some estimates the country has the 20th units of the technique. After creating the system suffered a series of modifications. The first change is that the MRL of this type put on the chassis of the tank, "Sherman." Prickly operation was not entirely successful, so the developers decided to put the MAR-290 on the chassis owned by Britain's main battle tank - "Centurion". CP consists of four 6-meter-guide tubes. Full volley installation makes in 10 seconds. Mass combat vehicle is 50 tons, and the stock while walking 204 miles, Crew of 4 people. Firing range is 25 kilometers. Warhead weight of 320 kg of MS. For this missile system is characterized by the angles pointing unit guides in elevation from 0 (+ -) 60 (+-), azimuth values (+-). 360 Reloading launchers lasts about 10 minutes.
Today the foreign media, specializing in military subjects report that is developing an improved type of MLRS. It has already given the designation of MAR-350, the caliber of this installation is 350 millimeters. According to official data characteristics of the system will be established: selected two two-rocket blocks,which have the equipped mass each on 2 thousand kilograms, the unit will have a 6.2-meter long and 0.97 meters in width, height was 0.45 meters and the duration of the volley of four missiles about 30 seconds.
Great-grandson of "Katyusha"
The very first large-caliber and this MRL was released in the USSR 300 mm MLRS called "Smerch." It was developed by the union, led by Tula State Research and Production Enterprise "Fusion." It happened in the early 1980s.
Creating a "Tornado", a team of its developers was able to firmly prove in practice that an increase in effective firing range MLRS is possible. This rocket artillery to effectively shoot a 70 or even 90 kilometers. Creation of "Tornado" was shocking shock to the West. American experts, having long-term research and development have created MLRS MLRS, effective firing range which was 30-40 miles. At the same time, American scientists were absolutely sure that this is the maximum range for each MRL. It was believed that a further increase in the firing range will lead to too much dispersion of projectiles, which is unacceptable. How can this problem is solved by our experts? They managed to create shells with a unique design. What were they unique? They had an independent system for correcting the trajectory of the pitch and yaw. That's what provided the accuracy with which two or even three times higher ranges than foreign rates MLRS. According to some estimates, the figure was less than 0.21% of range start. Shooting accuracy from Soviet specialists were able to increase three-fold. Correction of the flight path of rocket projectile gasdynamic rudders.They worked on high-pressure gas, which is fed from the onboard gas generator. Also, there is a stabilization of the projectile in flight. It was achieved at the expense of its in-flight rotation around the longitudinal axis. Self rotation provides preliminary over-speeding of rockets while it was moving on the tubular guide; in flight it supported due to the fact that the blades were set drop-down stabilizer, which was revealed at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the projectile.
But that's not all of the outstanding features of MRL "Smerch." A further feature is that for the "tornado" was developed by an arsenal of ammunition, firing range that reached 70 miles. It was a family of rockets 9M55. We achieved firing range, 90 miles by rockets 9M52 and 9M53 families. They were equipped with warheads completely different types. These included: a cluster possessing submunitions fragmentation type, cassette with penetrating fragmentation submunitions; monoblock high-explosive, cluster with fragmentation submunitions contact detonation; cassette with shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions; blast, which was a penetrating warhead type, cluster or with anti antipersonnel, thermobaric warhead, a cluster, with standard or small-sized homing homing submunitions, as well as a cluster of anti-or antitank mines.
To date, the Russian army used an improved type of multiple launch rocket systems 9A52-2. Several other countries also use this weapon as a reactive system. For example, countries such as Ukraine, which uses 94 MLRS, Belarus, with 40 instances in Peru in the use of 10 systems, Algeria has 18, and Kuwait, which uses 27 units. It is worth noting that it was from Kuwait was drawn up and implemented the first contract to export MRL "Smerch": In 1995, Russia provided the nine reactive systems in the possession of Kuwait and, later, in 1996 another 18. Also in 1996, a contract for the export was made from the UAE, according to which they were given six nine A52-2, an automated command and control system "Vivarium", and six-TRV 9E234 2.
One of the last countries who have bought the "Smerch", has become India. In 2003, the preliminary application has been signed for the delivery of 36 armored "Tornado-M" set on the chassis «Tatra». The transaction value was approximately 450 million.Because some of the events of a contract has been postponed and held only 31 of December 2005. Under the contract, India received 28 combat vehicles 9A52-2T, standing on the chassis of the car «Tatra» T816. Some data stipulate that have been sold yet 38 combat vehicles. The transaction value was approximately $ 500 million. In May 2007, was sent the first batch of orders, and in July the same year, India signed an agreement for an additional 24 combat vehicles, the cost of which amounted to 600 million dollars. Another deal was struck with Turkmenistan in June 2007. Order of the complexes was 6 and the cost was identified in 70 million.
For China there was an unusually interesting situation: according to official data, multiple launch rocket system fire "Smerch" was never delivered to the territory of the country, but to date, Chinese enterprises of military-industrial complex created two copies of "Smerch." This country has more or less copy of the system of type A-100, and the PHL-03. As it turned out, China has managed to make an exact copy of the PHL-03, and hence have a question about the availability of specialists in the Russian version of China's "Smerch", as there are huge uncertainties that such a replica can be the result of studying the photographs and videos of various visual observations. Experts hold the version that if Russia really does not sell these MRL, it is likely that China secretly acquired a system in the countries - former Soviet republics. These suppliers may well have become a Belarus or Ukraine.
"Tornado" - the son of "Cyclone"
Once has been adopted "Smerch", Tula State Scientific-Production Enterprise "fusion" now has developed modernized version: 9K52-2. It differed from its predecessor, the reduced crews (with 4-it was reduced to 3-) and enhanced, improved automation of combat processes. 9A52-2T, which is granted on exports went to the chassis «Tatra» T816 (10 * 10). There is another modification of the "Smerch". The new "Smerch" appeared recently. The system is a four-wheel drive vehicle chassis, namely the "KAMAZ-6350". To date, there are two sub-options such fighting vehicles: a conventional tube-type PU 9YA295 as well as PU with removable container MH-196. Already the new complex was created under the concept that was used in creating the U.S. multiple launch rocket systems HIMARS. HIMARS - a compact 227-E analog and mixed-millimeter complex multiple launch rocket systems OTR ATACMS. Also equipped with a new set of modern fire control system, which allows you to distribute the battery on the ground and repeatedly to increase its efficiency in targeting enemy countermeasures. In this system, installed computers that process information without the person in this process. Testing was still a fighting machine from the family of "Smerch," which was performed on chassis MAZ. This system has a PU with two removable containers for six rockets each. Sometimes this fighting machine called the "Tornado".
The development of multiple launch rocket systems "Tornado" is not terminated. Improving the war machine is in the interests of the Defense Ministry. The modification in the direction of equipping the DCS control systems & improving range.The new system, over the way government works Research and Production Enterprise "Fusion" is called "Tornado-C". This reactive system has retained size of its predecessor, it was 300 mm.
Exotic or variations on a theme
There is no doubt that progress will never stand still. Each country seeks to conceive at their disposal samples of armament, military and special equipment such as large-caliber long-range MLRS. In general, to date, clearly expressed trend of increasing number of countries using large-MLRS. But this is not the only trend that is also markedly increases the number of states, military-industrial complex which is able to develop and start production of such systems on their own, sometimes using a method called "unlicensed copying."
The greatest interest at present are Brazilian and Iranian development. Regarding the first to say that in 1983 began to supply multiple launch rocket systems «ASTOS II» in some units of the Brazilian army. Name of the system, stands for Artillery SaTuration Rocket System. This system is designed and produced by one of the local companies, namely, "Aerospatiale SA Avibras." It is worth noting that in the course of work on its missile Brazilian developers have implemented a number of categorical new technical solutions. And this is what distinguishes this from other reactive system with a similar class. Thereby «ASTOS II» attracted a number of countries, and therefore the system is not only in Brazil but also in Iraq, Saudi Arabia. MRL «ASTOS II» was used in the operation in 1991 - "Desert Storm". The Brazilian military also tested their rocket systems in the fighting.
One of the most important distinguishing features of MRL «ASTOS II» is the ability to integrate several calibers via Universal multiple launcher AV-LMU. This naturally affected the ammunition of the installation. Its variations, or a block of thirty-two rounds, having the type of SS-30 and 127 mm caliber and a range of nine to thirty kilometers, the length is 3.9 meters and weight 68 kg. Or the second option: the block into sixteen rounds, type SS-40, 180 millimeters caliber and range from 15 to 35 kilometers.This equipment has a length of 4.2 meters and weight 152 pounds. The third option set - this unit for 4 rounds of type SS-80, which has a range of up to 90 kilometers, is the most striking warheads.
Not long ago, Brazilian developers envisages the use of tactical missiles, launch range which is 150 kilometers via MLRS. The specific type of missile has not been specified, but we know that it can be fitted with warheads completely different type. In addition to unitary and another cluster warhead, there also were created three types: tape, with a shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions (KOBE, the basic part of a rocket-type SS-40 - 20 KOBE, the base of the rocket type SS-60 - 65 KOBE), high-explosive anti-tank and a cassette tank-killing mine . For the scrapping of the runway airfields in rockets warheads can be put of penetrating type. They are able to penetrate into the soil to a depth of two feet, which will safely disable any airfield zones. This effect is due to delay detonation.
"It will integrate with the cruise missile TM AV-300-km range, in the stage of testing and certification," explains Hassuani for whom "the venture will enable the Army in 2020, for example, integrate the Astros on defense antiaircraft gun, creating a way to use common platforms, trucks, parts of electronic sensors and command vehicles"
Another feature is using the flight control system for precision. This is possible because the motion of the rocket is adjusted for pitch and yaw. This scheme is similar to that used in Russia, "Smerch", and thus improves accuracy. But then the correction of the trajectory of pitch and yaw are the signals of the control system. This is achieved by means of gas-dynamic control surfaces. Their drives are beginning to act on high-pressure gas coming from the onboard gas generator. The composition of MLRS include an automated control system guided by fire. Everything of «ASTOS II» are placed on three-axle chassis with high cross (6 * 6). Their capacity reaches 10 tons and can develop speed up to 90 km / h. Crew is of four people.
On the basis of «ASTOS II», was created a modified MLRS «ASTOS III». It uses existing missiles. These included 12 rockets namely SS-60, which range up to 60 kilometers, 12 SS-80 projectiles, but with a range of 90 kilometers, and the new SS-150, firing range at up to 150 kilometers.The caliber is not indicated of the latter, but only two projectiles are accommodated into each block PU; therefore it is possible to draw the conclusion that these are not rocket projectiles, but tactical or operationally tactical missiles.
Argentina with the assistance of Israel developed MLRS, which belongs to family VCLC.. VCLC - Vehiculo de Combate Lanza Cohetes. This was followed by the development of 160 mm version of the LAR-160. This is put on TAM light tank. But work on this version was discontinued after the establishment in 1988, only one prototype.
Iran, by the price of improbable efforts has also obtained its own system of salvo fire.. This is a 320-millimeter MLRS "Oghab," which translates as "The Eagle". This MRL was developed Tehran «DIO». PU has three tubular guides, & put on a chassis «Mercedes-Benz» LA911B (4 * 4). Rocket mass is equal to 360-kilograms, the mass of high-explosive fragmentation warhead is 70 pounds, length is 8.82 meters, and the range is approximately 45 kilometers.
In 1986 Iran conducted the first firing. Argued that they were firing and were in the vicinity of Basra (Iraq). In 1988, the system has been increasingly applied in the "War of the Cities". It was then released around 330 shells on the top ten cities in Iraq. In late 1987, began mass production of the MLRS. On known data, this issue was made in part due to capacity of Chinese enterprises.System is actively trying to sell abroad, but so far not successful, because today there are more efficient systems of this class. The Western press distributed "horror stories" about the possibility of MLRS rockets, which can be filled with chemical warheads. Though that option clearly can’t be excluded, especially when you consider that during the Iran-Iraq war, both countries worked hard to create chemical weapons. And it should be noted that the MRL - is the most effective means of delivering chemical warheads in combat.
Further all countries in the field of creating their own large-caliber long-range reactive systems of salvo fire could visit China. Only in the last thirty years there has been created about a half dozen of these systems. First, China has tried his hand in the establishment of remote mining areas, resulting from Chinese enterprises reached 284-millimeter "Type 74" and 305-millimeter "Type 79". To date, armed with the People's Liberation Army of China, there are 300-millimeter "Type 03" and 320-millimeter Rocket Systems WS-1B.
The very first of these systems was developed by a Chinese company «NORINCO». Truly, it is a copy of Russia's "Tornado", except for certain items. Similarity noticeable to the naked eye, because system even look almost indistinguishable. The most notable exception is that the MLRS consists of Chinese development and production. Also present are transport-launchers reconnaissance and target designation - UAVs.
MLRS 320 mm WS-1B was developed and is actively produced under the direction of the company "China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation." Its members include BM HF-4, put on the chassis of Mercedes-Benz, which have a high cross-country capability - 2028A (6 * 6), their capacity is 10 tons. They also have two quadruply packages TLV QY-88B and engine rig DZ-88B, which are equipped with survey and weather station. For rockets available warheads: monoblock high-explosive ZDB-2, with 26 thousand trained various fragments and the steel ball elements, or a cassette SZB-466-Tew anti-tank submunitions. The mass of such combat vehicles 11,200 pounds, the rate of developing up to 90 km / h, ready for action in 20 minutes, the length of the rocket is equal to 6.18 meters, while the mass of WS-1B rockets is 708 pounds, in the case of WS -1 - 520 pounds. Effective range vary from from 80 to 180 miles, the other option from 20 to 80 kilometers. ‘
In the last comparison trials with Chinese multiple rocket launchers PHL-03 eventually is a modern 300 mm MLRS - A-100. The latter was developed in cooperation by CALT and CPMIEC. It is reported that this system is also designed in the likeness of "Smerch."
A-100 is designed for surface targets and enemy forces. An example is the large armored and mechanized units, military bases, missile launch sites, airports and airbases, harbors and naval bases and many other important objects. Artillery of the war machine consists of a pack of 10 smooth-tube rails, which are equipped with screw U-shaped groove. Mounted it on improved vehicle chassis WS-2400 (8 * 8), which has a high cross-country ability.This military machine has a lot of automated systems: fire control, communications, and onboard equipment. Weight of this machine is 22 tons and maximum speed varies from 60 to 80 km / h, power reserve of 650 kilometers. Prepared to shoot projectiles in 6 minutes, while leaving the immediate combat position after volley of about 3 minutes. Recharges in 15-20 minutes. Range is from 40 to 100 kilometers, some data suggest about 120 kilometers.Fighting means are adjustable rockets length 7.27 m, weight - 840 kg, warhead weight 235 kilograms will be. For rockets were several types of warheads: cluster, which are equipped with a 500 shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions to destroy enemy personnel and lightly armored vehicles or five homing submunitions with armor penetration to 70 mm homogeneous armor (at 30 (+ -) from normal). Correction of missiles in flight is achieved by gas-dynamic control surfaces, which are driven by a high pressure gas from a gas generator on board. Accuracy of fire due to this increased to 33%.
In January 2000, Chinese developers have announced that work on this project completed.Systems are made available to first artillery battalion stationed in Guanchzhousskom . According to official figures A-100 lost the competition PHL-03, but still went on trial operation.To date, produced about 40 units and related machinery support. It was also announced plans of marketing the system in the foreign market. Already in September 2008, foreign media reported the signing of a contract between Pakistan and China. In accordance with China delivers first an unknown quantity of MLRS (A-100). In 2009 came to light information that Pakistan was ready "to put into operation," about two regiments of the A-100 with 36 fighting machines. Chinese developers report that are working to create a corrected rockets, which range of 180 kilometers.
At the moment of China's defense industry are engaged in supplying the international market of export-oriented heavy multiple rocket launchers. Of these, the most interesting are:
1. 300-millimeter AR1A.
2. 400-mm or WS-2, also known as SY-400. This system is developed based on the cooperation corporation "China Precision Machinery Import & Export Corporation" and the Chinese Academy of research in the field of technology boosters. Work on this version is almost complete, now China is ready for commercial production. It is said that China sold a few of these machines Sudan. The first time MLRS put out in November 2008 at the 7th China International Aerospace Exhibition. It happened in Zhuhai.WS-2 - is controlled with MLRS ammunition or Guided Multiple Launch System. For rockets developed 4 types of warhead: a cluster equipped with 560-or 660 antitank submunitions, high-explosive, with a pre-harvested striking elements - steel balls, high explosive, with its increased capacity, the bulk of the explosion. The Chinese military is already using guided missiles, while in Russia they just created. This development in Russia is put on the shoulders of the project "Tornado-C".