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Artillery Rocket Systems Seek Greater Range and Accuracy

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Sistemas de lanzamiento de Cohetes multiples
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   ihs.com Page 1 of 7 © Copyright IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved.  International Defence Review Fire works: Artillery rocket systems seek greater range and accuracy [Content preview  –   Subscribe to Jane’s International Defence  Review for full article]   The number of countries that have developed and deployed rocket artillery has increased rapidly in recent years, with a clear focus on improving range and precision. Christopher F Foss reports on recent developments Artillery rocket systems (ARS) are traditionally area-effect weapons capable of rapidly putting down a considerable amount of firepower over a fairly large target area. They also typically consist of the launcher and rockets as distinct elements, but there is now an increasing trend toward the supply of complete systems - including resupply and associated technical support vehicles - that can offer a precision effect without requiring the traditional massed launch for impact. This process has seen systems include complete target acquisition and fire-control systems (FCSs), the latter often integrated into the platform, along with sophisticated day and night observation packages incorporating laser rangefinders, target acquisition radars, battery- and battalion-level FCSs, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). As with conventional tube artillery, the ability to accurately locate the target and swiftly pass this information through the chain of command to the launch platform is key, particularly as ARS' firing ranges have increased hugely and today they are often sited well beyond the line-of-sight (LOS) of the forward observer. This increase in range has been achieved in a number of ways, with more energetic propellants and, for instance, smaller warheads in Russian 122 mm and US 227 mm rockets, lightening the load and freeing up more space for fuel. Safety has driven a number of developments. For example, some NATO countries are now insisting that all types of ammunition, including artillery rockets, are Insensitive Munition (IM)-compliant, including the propellant and the warhead, which is all possible, but increases costs, so is unlikely to be adopted by all ARS operators. Until recently most rockets were fitted with conventional high explosive (HE) or cluster munition (CM) payloads, but the general stigmatisation of CM and what are seen as submunitions' unacceptably high failure rates has resulted in them being withdrawn by many operators and widely condemned. ARS can also carry various other types of payload, such as anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines (the former have been banned by signatories to the Ottawa convention) as well as more precise top-attack weapons, the latter however are very expensive and not widely deployed. Another role for ARS is firing fuel air explosive (FAE) rockets to clear minefields, with China known to have fielded this type of system. [Continued in full version…]     ihs.com Page 2 of 7 © Copyright IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved.   Brazil  AVIBRAS has been engaged in the design, development and production of its Artillery Saturation Rocket System (ASTROS II) for many years, with systems in service locally and exported to Iraq, Malaysia, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, among others. The standard ASTROS system is based on a 6x6 forward-cab chassis, with a power-operated launcher at the rear. A rocket resupply vehicle is also available on a similar chassis. ASTROS can fire a variety of unguided rockets from the 32-round SS-30, the SS-40 with 16 rockets, SS-60 and SS-80 (with four rockets each) launchers, including - unusually - rockets configured for the coastal defence role for Brazil's army. The Brazilian Army's ASTROS 2020 Strategic Project aims to equip units with the latest version, which will be capable of firing the entire family of ASTROS rockets and tactical missiles. The latter has a maximum range of 300 km using a new Mk 6 version of the Universal Multiple Launcher Vehicle (UMLV). China  China has developed the largest range of ARS, with NORINCO a predictably key player producing a host of wheeled ARS firing calibres from 122 mm up to 270 mm (it has ceased production of its older 107 mm and 130 mm systems). The latest NORINCO Type 90B 122 mm 40-round ARS is carried on the rear of a 6x6 unprotected cross-country truck chassis. The Type 90 series has been exported to a number of countries including Peru, which is currently awaiting delivery of the system. NORINCO's SR5 is also based on a 6x6, with a modular package of two pods, each holding 20 122 mm rockets or six 220 mm rockets. The pods can be mixed to give a range of effects, the pods loaded using a mechanical onboard system. At the heavier end of the scale is NORINCO's AR3, which is based on an 8x8 cross-country chassis available in either eight-round 370 mm or 10-round 300 mm configurations, capable of launching unguided and guided rockets, the latter having a range of 280 km. [Continued in full version…]   Israel  Israel Military Industries' (IMI) Light Artillery Rocket (LAR) 160 mm system has been continually developed over the years to have greater range, accuracy, and the ability to use different warheads. Today's standard LAR 160 mm system has two pods of 13 rockets each, able to reach out to a maximum range of 45 km with the autonomous, GPS-guided ACCULAR rocket. IMI has also helped Romania to upgrade some of its locally developed Aerostar 122 mm 40-round APRS launchers, resulting in the LAROM system, which has two pods each of 13x160 mm rockets. Poland     ihs.com Page 3 of 7 © Copyright IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved.  Poland is one of many countries to retain its Russian-supplied 40-round BM-21 122 mm ARS, and has upgraded them to extend their operational lives under the local designation of the WR-40 Langusta. That work saw the srcinal Russian chassis replaced by a locally manufactured 6x6 chassis with a protected forward-control cab, and the weapon system enhanced with a locally designed and built FCS. The srcinal launcher is retained, but it can fire a range of new, longer-range rockets including an HE-configured version with a 41 km range. Russia  Russia has long been a keen proponent of wheeled ARS with the Splav Scientific Production Concern the main contractor for ARS in Russia, although many other contractors are involved in the field, including the Motovilikha Plants Corporation for the launcher and other contractors for the platform. The largest system currently deployed is the 12-round 300 mm BM 9A52 Smerch, which entered service with the Russian Army in around 1987 and is based on a MAZ-543 series 8x8 chassis with a transloader resupply vehicle based on a similar platform. Rocket reloads are conducted individually by a crane on the resupply vehicle, which is obviously a slower process than the now-traditional podded approach, but it does enable mixed loads to be fitted in the field and reloads to be conducted after partial salvo or individual firings. New rockets can reach 90 km with a range of warhead natures in service or development. Although its srcins are now rather elderly, Smerch has been a huge success on the export market, with systems deployed by Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, India, Kuwait, Syria, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Venezuela. More recently, the Splav Scientific Production Concern has developed the CV 9A52-4 'Tornado' ARS, based on a KAMAZ-6350 8x8 chassis with an unprotected forward control cab. It was shown off in 2007 and entered service in 2011. Tornado-G will have two pods each of 15x122 mm rockets, Tornado-U pods of 220 mm rockets and Tornado-S pods of 300 mm rockets. Pods can be swapped wholesale for another pod carried by the 9T234-4 dedicated transloader vehicle to speed up reload times. [Continued in full version…]   Turkey  Turkey's Roketsan has swiftly established itself as a leading light in the design, development, and production of ARS, with the four-round 300 mm system - comprised of the T-300 MultiBarrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) and the TR-300 Artillery Rocket (AR) - as the largest system. This unguided system, mounted on a MAN 6x6 cross-country chassis, can reach targets between 40 km and 100 km away. It was srcinally developed for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) but has also been exported to the UAE.   ihs.com Page 4 of 7 © Copyright IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to IHS and its affiliated and subsidiary companies, all rights reserved.  Roketsan's 122 mm (40-round) T-122 MBRL has been deployed by the TLFC since 1996 and is also based on a MAN 6x6 forward control cross-country chassis, carrying rockets in two pods on the rear. These can be loaded for various effects, including HE warheads fitted with an impact fuze or a fragmentation effect package containing an HE warhead that contains 5,000 steel balls and fitted with a proximity fuze. [Continued in full version…]   UAE  The UAE has deployed an interesting mix of imported ARS over the years, including Russian BM 9A52 Smerch 300 mm rockets and the United States' M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), along with Italian FIROS-30 systems that have recently been upgraded by Roketsan and fitted with new pods of 122 mm rockets. More recently, the UAE has taken into service new systems developed by Jobaria Defense Systems with the assistance of some foreign partners, including Turkey's Aselsan. The first of these systems was the enormous 122 mm Multi Cradle Launcher (MCL) - also referred to as the Dinosaur - shown off at the IDEX defence exhibition with four rocket launcher pods mounted on a trailer towed by an Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transporter. [Continued in full version…]   United States  The US now fields a balanced fleet of M270 227 mm (12 round) tracked MLRS and the more recently introduced M142 HIMARS. The MLRS family has been successful internationally, if not on the scale of the simpler Russian systems. The US Army srcinally took delivery of over 800 M270 MLRS systems, with additional systems built for the export market. Co-production of the M270 launcher and its associated 227 mm M26 unguided rocket was undertaken in France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, while other European countries - including the Netherlands and Norway - purchased their M270 launchers and M26 rockets directly from the US. The Netherlands and Norway have now phased these systems out of service, the Dutch systems being sold to Finland. The UK has upgraded its MLRS with a new US FCS and a small batch were upgraded under Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) funding for deployment to Afghanistan, where they fired large numbers of the latest GMLRS rockets to provide a 90 km precision-strike capability. The US has also upgraded 226 of its fleet of M270s with a new Improved FCS (IFCS) and Improved Launcher Mechanical System (ILMS) redesignating the system as the M270A1 in the process.
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