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67 posters

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S

    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Sun Sep 04, 2022 3:14 am

    Yes, it is very confusing... we have seen upgraded vehicles based on the old Smerch and the old Grad vehicles, but we have also seen new heavy vehicles able to carry two rocket pallets and a light vehicle to carry one rocket pallet.

    My expectation was that they would use the heavy new vehicle with two pallets for either Grad or Uragan or Smerch batteries, but in situations where mobility is difficult or high speed units (like VDV or Naval Infantry forces) the light vehicle with the single pallet would be used for its better mobility.

    But that does not seem to be the case as the new Grad looks like the old Grad and does not seem to use pallets at all.

    The new Smerch looks like the old Smerch and the new Uragan appears to be the old Uragan with new electronics and systems.

    The new TOS looks totally different and is truck based and various mine launching vehicles appear to use new pallets, but their rocket artillery seems to look the same.

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 81c29510

    This is the new two pallet carrying vehicle, in this case each pallet carries 15 rockets which I assume to be 122mm Grads... 2 pallets means 30 rockets which is only a 10 rocket decrease from the Grad.... perhaps why they are continuing to use Grad?

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 Uragan10

    The same new truck with two pallets of 300mm Smerch which equals the normal vehicle capacity of 12 rockets.

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 Ffm6nf11

    This is an image from a 2022 calendar showing and ungraded Smerch on the left with 12 rockets (300mm) ready to launch and on the right the new light weight more mobile and cheaper single pallet vehicle with one pallet of 6 x 300mm Smerch rockets.

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 Fiugqd10

    This is a DT based arctic two chassis tractor with 122mm rocket tubes in the rear chassis...

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 Uragan11

    A model showing the new heavier two pallet vehicle with a 300mm and a 122mm pallet with 6 and 15 rockets each respectively.

    The situation appears rather complex and I am not sure they have made any final decisions yet.... suffice to say Grad and Uragan and Smerch are all being very very effective in the current conflict when good C4ISTAR is applied.

    Note, I was sure I had a photo of a third pallet type presumably with 220mm rockets that held 8 rockets per pallet, so the large new vehicle could match existing vehicles in terms of rocket numbers except with 122mm rockets, but with a more modern cheaper vehicle, while the light vehicle could carry half the rockets of previous vehicles but being much smaller and lighter would be cheaper and able to operate places older vehicles couldn't operate in.

    It is really not clear what they are doing... pallets are a good idea, but not the way most western "experts" describe it.

    Being able to reload in 5 minutes is not as valuable as it sounds because you need to move away from your firing position as soon as you fire... moving to a new location you can take all the time you need to reload there because the new position should not be obvious to the enemy till you fire again and you will be moving immediately afterwards anyway.

    Pallets might be a good way of rapidly changing ammo types or mixed rocket attacks... in this case with the larger vehicles with two pallets you could use 40km range extended 122mm rockets together with 300mm or 220mm rockets, where the 122mm rockets hit the troops, while the 6 or 8 tubes of larger calibre rockets could launch a UAV and if they try to run or retreat the remaining 5 or 7 rockets with cluster munitions or anti armour bomblets to harrass them as they retreat or mine the roads and exit routes.

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    The-thing-next-door
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    Post  The-thing-next-door Sun Sep 04, 2022 10:58 am

    GarryB wrote:

    This is the new two pallet carrying vehicle, in this case each pallet carries 15 rockets which I assume to be 122mm Grads... 2 pallets means 30 rockets which is only a 10 rocket decrease from the Grad.... perhaps why they are continuing to use Grad?

    Judging by the length I would assume them to be Uragan rockets or a new type of 220mm rocket.

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    franco
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    Post  franco Sun Sep 04, 2022 2:04 pm

    I too thought the 15 rocket pod was 220mm.

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    Post  ALAMO Sun Sep 04, 2022 3:40 pm

    It is.
    2x 15 missiles block.
    30 ready to fire Uragan system rockets.

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    franco
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    Post  franco Sun Sep 04, 2022 4:05 pm

    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 Ffm6nf11

    This is an image from a 2022 calendar showing and ungraded Smerch on the left with 12 rockets (300mm) ready to launch and on the right the new light weight more mobile and cheaper single pallet vehicle with one pallet of 6 x 300mm Smerch rockets.


    Perhaps the experience of this conflict with the HIMARS, will confirm the need for the lighter vehicle also with it's mobility and easier to conceal ability.
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    Post  GarryB Mon Sep 05, 2022 5:19 am

    Judging by the length I would assume them to be Uragan rockets or a new type of 220mm rocket

    Actually looking at the tube diameter on that model I would say you are probably right and that the 15 shot pallet probably is a 220mm rocket pod.

    That means fitting that to the light truck model makes the light truck the almost equivalent of a Uragan vehicle which had 16 rockets ready to fire... the much smaller lighter vehicle would have 15 rockets ready to fire.

    The full sized vehicle with 30 x 220mm rockets actually matches TOS-1... it has 30 rockets doesn't it? {nope... 24}

    But of course TOS rockets are all bomb and less rocket, while these pallets carry smaller bombs to much greater distances.

    The new bigger vehicle can therefore carry 220mm and 300mm rockets... I wonder if there is a 122mm rocket pallet or if they will just continue to use Grad.

    That would mean at present they have the three old vehicles of Grad and Uragan and Smerch, and three new vehicles seem to be a new two pallet vehicle able to have the same payload as the current Smerch vehicle or almost double the payload of the old Uragan, and a smaller lighter vehicle with one pallet that could be used as half a Smerch or a Uragan substitute, and the third vehicle would be a Grad vehicle with electronics and systems upgraded but not using a pallet system.

    You could make the bigger two pallet vehicle more mobile by not loading any pallets till it reaches the launch position and then drive away with the empty pallet in place to be removed and replaced when it arrives at the next launch position.

    I wonder if the smaller lighter vehicle will be produced in numbers or if it might be reserved for lighter wheeled forces like Typhoon and Boomerang units...

    This current conflict shows how potent even single artillery vehicles can be... as long as you can send target coordinates to them they can fire from anywhere at potential targets with a decent modern C4IRSTAR allowing coordination so the rounds from different vehicles hit at the same time rather than one after the other.

    All at once is most effective because it leaves no time to take cover... once the target is alerted and under cover you would need 10 times more ammo expenditure to get good kills.

    All at once is also more shocking... and more difficult to stop from different directions at once.

    Perhaps the experience of this conflict with the HIMARS, will confirm the need for the lighter vehicle also with it's mobility and easier to conceal ability.

    It is very possible but the core reason for HIMARS to exist is that traditionally rocket artillery was cheap and simple and highly mobile and Grad and Uragan and Smerch are already that.

    M270, which is the US equivalent of Uragan is expensive and based on a tracked vehicle, and because the rest of HATO has to buy it that becomes a problem because the M270 is based on the Bradley IFV which few HATO allies actually operate and it is not a cheap or simple vehicle.

    The result is that HATO members had to introduce a new vehicle with a new engine and new transmission and wheels and tracks that has nothing in common with the vehicles they already operate. In terms of cross country performance it is quite good being tracked it can operate on rough terrain, but rocket launcher vehicles don't usually travel on the front line through the mud... their rockets having a flight range of 40km plus means they are normally kept back in rear areas and generally traverse on roads where tracks are a disadvantage... much higher maintenance and fuel consumption and their extra mobility means nothing at all.

    The small light single pallet vehicle looks good, but Russias need for such a vehicle in normal operations is not as great as the wests need for HIMARS because Grad and Uragan and Smerch are already affordable and mobile.

    As I said the small single pallet vehicle will be more mobile and likely cheaper and fit better into aircraft and landing boats and with a 15 tube launcher for 220mm rockets it is basically an Uragan vehicle.... which is rather good compared with 6 x 227mm rockets for HIMARS, but it could equally carry a 6 tube pallet for 300mm rockets too if that is what you wanted so it is flexible.

    A 45 tube pallet for 122mm rockets would be interesting... especially with two on the larger vehicle...  Twisted Evil


    Last edited by GarryB on Wed Sep 07, 2022 9:41 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Post  BliTTzZ Tue Sep 06, 2022 7:57 pm

    ALAMO wrote:You have missed the point.
    220 mm Uragan has been upgraded, and accepted for duty -  modernization is progressing. Uragan-1M.
    Tornado-S has been redesigned to carry both calibers, so there is no need to implement a dedicated platform for a middle layer of tube artillery. The Big Guy S can take care of it, up to 200 km.
    Russkie still has a 3 layers of tube artillery, assisted by the 3 layers of a classic one.
    Just chassis has been combined, for a part of them.
    If we call Uragan-1M as a modernization of BM-27 Uragan, then it's more like a complete overhaul I'd say. Because of the completely different chassie, bicaliber weapons system and pallets for reloading.
    From what I've seen and read it uses 2 containers with six 300mm or fithteen 220mm rockets each.

    Tornado-S is a deep modernization of Smerch. It improves electronics (satellite commlinks, new FCS) and includes new rockets (with improved range and guidance). But it still only uses 300mm rockets.
    The same can be said about Tornado-G, which is deeply modernizned Grad. But it still uses only 122mm rockets.

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    thegopnik
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    Post  thegopnik Wed Sep 07, 2022 12:33 am

    I guess its going take awhile until drones are launched from MRLS because a drone production plant is needed and that production plant needs a good electronics production industry to start. I think the war will be over before MRLS is launching drones.
    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Wed Sep 07, 2022 9:54 am

    If we call Uragan-1M as a modernization of BM-27 Uragan, then it's more like a complete overhaul I'd say. Because of the completely different chassie, bicaliber weapons system and pallets for reloading.
    From what I've seen and read it uses 2 containers with six 300mm or fithteen 220mm rockets each.

    Tornado-S is a deep modernization of Smerch. It improves electronics (satellite commlinks, new FCS) and includes new rockets (with improved range and guidance). But it still only uses 300mm rockets.
    The same can be said about Tornado-G, which is deeply modernizned Grad. But it still uses only 122mm rockets.

    Which suggests Tornado-S and Tornado-G are actually just upgrades, while the Uragan-1M is a new vehicle, as is the small single pallet vehicle.

    The question then becomes moving forward are they making all four, or are the upgrades just to existing models and the only new models will presumably be Grad and Uragan-1M because between the two of them they cover all the options and then the small vehicle will be built on an as wanted basis.

    My logic there being that essentially the Uragan-1M can replace essentially Smerch and Uragan with one vehicle... it is equal to Smerch and or doubles Uragans rocket numbers or offers an almost full Uragan and a half Smerch at once... but no visible option for 122mm rockets, so Uragan-1M plus Tornado-G could cover all previous options... the Tornado-G having the added advantage of being light and cheap.

    The interesting thing is that while the Grad lacks range in terms of anti armour guided weapons it can actually have more top attack munitions per load than Smerch... but launches them over shorter ranges.

    The 122mm Grad rocket can carry 2 sensor fused top attack submunitions per rocket compared with the 5 in each Smerch 300mm rocket... the 9M217 can send two sensor fused anti tank top attack submunitions to 30km range, while the 9M152 300mm equivalent launches 5 munitions to 90km... but 40 x 2 = 80 submunitions per volley to 30km for the Grad vs 12 x 5 = 60 submunitions per volley for the Smerch to 90km.

    Regarding the light single pallet truck... I would think something based on a standard shipping container would make more sense in terms of concealment and hiding...

    And they have been showing unguided artillery rocket fired drones for years... if they haven't got one yet that is on them... but having said that I think a custom designed drone with more endurance and speed and better cameras etc is more useful than one you can launch via a launch tube.

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    Post  BliTTzZ Mon Sep 12, 2022 8:25 am

    GarryB wrote:Which suggests Tornado-S and Tornado-G are actually just upgrades, while the Uragan-1M is a new vehicle, as is the small single pallet vehicle.

    The question then becomes moving forward are they making all four, or are the upgrades just to existing models and the only new models will presumably be Grad and Uragan-1M because between the two of them they cover all the options and then the small vehicle will be built on an as wanted basis.

    My logic there being that essentially the Uragan-1M can replace essentially Smerch and Uragan with one vehicle... it is equal to Smerch and or doubles Uragans rocket numbers or offers an almost full Uragan and a half Smerch at once... but no visible option for 122mm rockets, so Uragan-1M plus Tornado-G could cover all previous options... the Tornado-G having the added advantage of being light and cheap.

    They will continue to upgrade existing Smerch and Grad vehicles to Tornado-S and Tornado-G level. Not sure why they haven't introduced any upgrade for existing fleet of BM-27 Uragan. There are still many vehicles in the Ground Forces.

    There is a light Smerch version on Kamaz chassie with 6 tubes. Looks like a HIMARS equivalent, but Russian Army has no interest in it.

    That's exactly what will happen in the near future, I think. In my opinion we do not hear much news about Uragan-1M is the fact that there are many Smerch and Grad vehicles that can be quite cheaply upgraded.
    So Uragan-1M will act as an addition to already big numbers of older MLRS systems. The same thing with Coalition.

    GarryB wrote:The interesting thing is that while the Grad lacks range in terms of anti armour guided weapons it can actually have more top attack munitions per load than Smerch... but launches them over shorter ranges.

    The 122mm Grad rocket can carry 2 sensor fused top attack submunitions per rocket compared with the 5 in each Smerch 300mm rocket... the 9M217 can send two sensor fused anti tank top attack submunitions to 30km range, while the 9M152 300mm equivalent launches 5 munitions to 90km... but 40 x 2 = 80 submunitions per volley to 30km for the Grad vs 12 x 5 = 60 submunitions per volley for the Smerch to 90km.

    Regarding the light single pallet truck... I would think something based on a standard shipping container would make more sense in terms of concealment and hiding...

    And they have been showing unguided artillery rocket fired drones for years... if they haven't got one yet that is on them... but having said that I think a custom designed drone with more endurance and speed and better cameras etc is more useful than one you can launch via a launch tube.
    Thanks for the info about top attack submunitions. I have never bothered to check these details. It will be an insteresting read.

    Perhaps they decided it will be too expensive if a disposable drone with good cameras and electronics launched from Smerch tubes.
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    Post  Podlodka77 Mon Oct 03, 2022 5:39 am

    TASS
    October 3, 06:15

    Rostec announced an increase in the production of MLRS "Tornado-G" and "Tornado-S"


    Russian MRLS: Grad, Uragan, Smerch, Tornado-G/S - Page 18 14849510


    They have reached indicators that have not been seen for the last 10 years, the department noted.

    MOSCOW, 3 October. /TASS/. The production of combat vehicles from the multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) "Tornado-G" and "Tornado-S" at PJSC "Motovilikha Plants" has increased significantly compared to last year. This was reported to journalists on Monday in the press service of the state corporation "Rostec".

    "The military division of the Motovilikha Plants, due to the increased production volumes, switched to work in three shifts. The production of combat vehicles from the Tornado-G and Tornado-S multiple launch rocket systems increased several times compared to last year and reached volumes that have not been seen for the last 10 years," the state corporation said.

    https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/15936211

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    Post  Sujoy Mon Oct 03, 2022 7:09 pm

    GarryB wrote: And they have been showing unguided artillery rocket fired drones for years... if they haven't got one yet that is on them...
    What does artillery rocket fired drones bring to the table?

    Grad already has top attack sensor fused munition.

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    Post  ALAMO Mon Oct 03, 2022 8:04 pm

    An MLRS unit can provide its own battle damage control and make fire corrections.
    At an expense of one missile and a cheap single-use drone, that might have been possibly used as kamikaze in the end.

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    Post  GarryB Tue Oct 04, 2022 4:47 am

    What does artillery rocket fired drones bring to the table?

    Grad already has top attack sensor fused munition.

    Having a rocket tube launched drone means you don't have to rely on a separate recon unit to find your targets or support your operations.

    I would expect since the drone was first suggested technology for it has improved immensely and its performance would be rather better these days than before so you might have a 300mm calibre drone able to operate for hours and perhaps even return to be reused with fuel tanks refilled and a new solid rocket booster fitted to launch it...

    The vast majority of the time the artillery force will operate with recon and intel forces which likely will have their own drones who will search for and find suitable targets for the rocket artillery battery and then after perhaps a first rocket attack the drone can look at the results and assess if another attack is needed or not.

    Most drones are quite slow so a tube launched drone could be launched at the end of the first barrage to go and check out the results while the original drone moves on looking for more targets... the time the tube launched rocket takes to get there the rocket battery could have moved to a new location and be busy reloading.

    Actually the tube launched drone seems a bit redundant really unless it is with a small force like a Grad force that is interested in a much smaller volume of space... with 20-40km range rockets a Grad will benefit from its own drone when used in smaller numbers as a counter battery system... local radar could be scanning for incoming artillery rounds for which the Grad could launch drones to go and have a look for the enemy artillery which might be just one vehicle.

    The drone they launch should get to the target area relatively quickly because of the rocket propulsion getting there and being able to loiter for an hour or two would allow it to find a target and then perhaps laser mark it for follow up laser guided rockets to hit point targets like buildings or moving vehicles.

    The drone itself could simply have a 10kg shaped charge warhead and act as a suicide drone to send back video of the target area where multiple enemy might be spotted requiring follow up attacks while the most dangerous it can fly in to itself to destroy.

    A normal drone is valuable because of its persistence... it can loiter for long periods finding and perhaps laser marking lots of targets that can be hit with guided artillery with bigger payloads than any rockets or missiles most drones could possibly carry, and if you reuse it you can spend extra money giving it decent stabilised cameras and night vision equipment and good quality laser target markers.

    But for batteries operating with a mobile force having your own drone that might be a suicide drone used for counter battery fire can be useful for single enemy vehicles like 2S1 or 2S3 vehicles that are worth a little extra just to silence for good... top attack HEAT warheads don't need to be enormous to be effective.

    The fact that they have not rushed the Smerch drone into service suggests existing drone support with dedicated recon units is very good.

    There was a drone launched from a standard Pantsir SAM tube which presumably might be used to also find small drone targets but equally also represent a target they could themselves train against...

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    Post  flamming_python Tue Oct 04, 2022 8:13 am

    The thing about that tube fired drone is that it's billed as being able to be fired to assess damage on the enemy, enabling operators to judge whether another salvo is needed

    But in reality, how useful would that be? MLRS units likely won't stay in place for another salvo, but relocate. By that time, any data from the drone will no longer be current.

    It might be more useful for firing in advance, especially to judge times for when a salvo should be launched against say an advancing column.

    On the whole it couldnt hurt to introduce it, but I'm a little skeptical about such a long-range rocket artillery division doing its own recon and such.

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    Post  Sujoy Sat Oct 08, 2022 1:03 pm

    GarryB wrote:The 122mm Grad rocket can carry 2 sensor fused top attack submunitions per rocket compared with the 5 in each Smerch 300mm rocket... the 9M217 can send two sensor fused anti tank top attack submunitions to 30km range, while the 9M152 300mm equivalent launches 5 munitions to 90km... but 40 x 2 = 80 submunitions per volley to 30km for the Grad vs 12 x 5 = 60 submunitions per volley for the Smerch to 90km.
    An extremely important aspect of MLRS is range. I was hoping that we will see a Tornado rocket with a 300km range. China already has the PL-16 with a 300km range.

    Some might suggest that for targets located at 300kms and beyond there is always the Iskander and other ground launched cruise missiles. The thing is these weapons are very precise however they are expensive weapons. A Tornado MLRS with a 300km range rocket can carry out similar strikes at a fraction of the cost.
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    Post  lyle6 Sun Oct 09, 2022 4:14 am

    flamming_python wrote:The thing about that tube fired drone is that it's billed as being able to be fired to assess damage on the enemy, enabling operators to judge whether another salvo is needed

    But in reality, how useful would that be? MLRS units likely won't stay in place for another salvo, but relocate. By that time, any data from the drone will no longer be current.

    It might be more useful for firing in advance, especially to judge times for when a salvo should be launched against say an advancing column.

    On the whole it couldnt hurt to introduce it, but I'm a little skeptical about such a long-range rocket artillery division doing its own recon and such.

    So basically the setup with in-service MLRS is plug-and-pray: Fire control sets the target coordinates and the battery dumps everything all at once. Weight of fire compensates the lack of precise targeting data. This is effective but is a huge waste of munitions since the vast majority of warheads would just end up kicking dirt.

    But if you have eyes on the target that won't be necessary. You can narrow down the precise area of enemy troop concentrations and hit each with just one volley from one fire unit not the entire battery, assess - and repeat if you want to. You end up using but a fraction of the munitions per target as before. A capability that synergizes well with the very limited, but very effective self-aiming submunitions.

    Sujoy wrote:
    Some might suggest that for targets located at 300kms and beyond there is always the Iskander and other ground launched cruise missiles. The thing is these weapons are very precise however they are expensive weapons. A Tornado MLRS with a 300km range rocket can carry out similar strikes at a fraction of the cost.
    The heavy MLRS niche was developed so commanders would have artillery that can reach out to targets at the enemy's rear areas. As such, the longer ranged Chinese MLRS exist because there is a 180 km body of water separating them and their targets, an issue that not many armies share.

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    Post  Sujoy Sun Oct 09, 2022 4:46 am

    lyle6 wrote:The heavy MLRS niche was developed so commanders would have artillery that can reach out to targets at the enemy's rear areas. As such, the longer ranged Chinese MLRS exist because there is a 180 km body of water separating them and their targets, an issue that not many armies share.
    However, China has deployed their 300km range MLRS at their border with India as well.
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    Post  lancelot Sun Oct 09, 2022 4:59 am

    Belarus has a 300mm MLRS with 290 km range. The Polonez-M.
    This was allegedly built with Chinese help.
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    Post  Sujoy Sun Oct 09, 2022 6:11 pm

    Russia needs a MLRS with a range of 300km.

    Tornado S is already a precision guided rocket. So if a new rocket that has a 300km range is introduced for the Tornado complex it will have long range plus precision strike capability.

    Of course targets at 300km and beyond can be engaged with Iskander and other GLCMs but that's a costly proposition.

    A 300 km range MLRS rocket can get the job done at a fraction of the cost.
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    Post  Hole Sun Oct 09, 2022 9:19 pm

    If a MLRS uses precision-guided missiles with a range of 300km the costs approach that of a SRBM like Iskander. And it´s no longer a MLRS, which job is to deliver a lot of explosives to a lage area to kill or harm as many objects (people) as possible. The artillery equivalent of a shotgun. Such a system turns into an SRBM carrier to hit single targets with good precision. The only advantage is the larger number of missiles. It can be cost effective but that´s a thin line for such a weapon.

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    Post  ALAMO Mon Oct 10, 2022 6:01 am

    But they do have this type of weapon.
    Tornado-S is now able to strike at 200 km range, but the work on extending the range is ongoing.
    Belarussians have the Polonez, which is a 300 km ranged.
    And that is something you said, that they replace the number of missiles with the range and precision - Polonez carries 8 missiles "only".

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    Post  Sujoy Mon Oct 10, 2022 7:06 am

    This is where rubber hits the road. The increased range is achieved by decreasing the payload carried in the different missile variants.

    GLONASS data imparts 1-meter target accuracy,to the Tornado S though it is not known at what range this accuracy is achieved.

    Tornado-S missile can turn to the target in flight, following preset, GLONASS-derived parameters. It is similar to the vertical launch of antiaircraft missiles. They are popped up by a gunpowder pressure accumulator and the depression generator then switches on to turn the missile to the target. The MLRS missile leaves the guide and turns to the necessary angle by the azimuth. The salvo is thus distributed along the frontline.

    Russia needs MLRS with 300km + range. Do they all have to be precision guided? Probably not, because that will increase the cost of these systems significantly and destroys the whole purpose of using MLRS instead of cruise missiles. A mix of 300km range rockets that are both precision guided and unguided is the optimal solution.



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    Post  GarryB Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:16 am

    The thing about that tube fired drone is that it's billed as being able to be fired to assess damage on the enemy, enabling operators to judge whether another salvo is needed

    But in reality, how useful would that be? MLRS units likely won't stay in place for another salvo, but relocate. By that time, any data from the drone will no longer be current.

    Would really depend on the drone though.

    You could have a full length rocket drone with a tiny soft launch low signature rocket booster that flys slow and would take time to get to the target area, but could then use the 800kgs of the 300mm rockets as mostly fuel and laser target marker and electronics for a drone that could loiter all day 90-120km away from the launcher... at 250km/h it would take about half an hour to reach the target area, but if you use 200kgs for fuel it could still loiter for a long time with a much smaller more compact drone and 600kgs of rocket fuel could deliver the drone payload to the target area in seconds where it deploys wings while still quite high up in the air and starts a small motor to maintain altitude and run the optics and laser target marker... being very high flying any attack would be a top attack so a diving top attack on any high value targets you might spot, so if you see just one HIMARS then suicide into it, but if you see a battery of M777s then your Smerch battery could light them up with some 9N139 HE frag submunitions (72 per rocket) or if it is an armoured force or mix of armour and troops then 9N176 rockets each carrying 616 HEAT top attack submunitions covering an enormous area which would be good for getting M777 guns in place, but also the crews and the trucks that tow the guns and carry the ammo.

    The drones stays airborne assessing the effect and if perhaps another battery set up somewhere else might want to continue doing more damage or if there is a priority target visible the drone could fly into.

    Most of the time I think a dedicated recon drone will do a better job with better loiter time, better optics and able to coordinate different attack options depending on the job.

    It might be more useful for firing in advance, especially to judge times for when a salvo should be launched against say an advancing column.

    I would say its rocket launch system would allow it to be launched toward suspected enemy targets rapidly and that speed might be useful for sneaky targets that appear and try to quickly disappear.

    Perhaps give it a releasable warhead so it could drop it like a small bomb and fly back to base for reuse to reduce costs, or suicide into targets if they are important enough to warrant the cost of the drone... the speed of the drone would mean it would take some time to get back to the launchers so sending it to a point on the way to the next launch position might be better... being able to drop the warhead makes it safer to handle for reuse.

    Operating at altitude would also make it safer from small arms... the payload for suicide use could be a laser guided HEAT mini bomb so it could be effective from altitude if you can recover the drone intact.

    On the whole it couldnt hurt to introduce it, but I'm a little skeptical about such a long-range rocket artillery division doing its own recon and such.

    I agree... the rocket artillery units should be focussed on loading moving and firing.

    An extremely important aspect of MLRS is range. I was hoping that we will see a Tornado rocket with a 300km range. China already has the PL-16 with a 300km range.

    Some might suggest that for targets located at 300kms and beyond there is always the Iskander and other ground launched cruise missiles. The thing is these weapons are very precise however they are expensive weapons. A Tornado MLRS with a 300km range rocket can carry out similar strikes at a fraction of the cost.

    Against third world countries or nearly defeated countries like the Ukraine and the Ukraine a 300km range ballistic rocket would be interesting, but at such ranges its payload would probably turn out to be too small... to get that sort of range you would probably have a payload of perhaps 30-40kgs, which is not big enough for a lot of targets a lot of the time.

    An Iskander has a 600kg warhead and it very useful out to 500km or so.

    The Russians still use rockets as a good way to cover a decent volume of ground with HE Frags for use against enemy forces in the open or a line of soft convoy vehicles etc etc.

    The point is that if the Ukraine was using 300km range ballistic rockets... guided or unguided... the Russians would probably shoot most of them down before they reached their targets.

    High flying weapons are easier to spot and track and engage than low flying targets like helicopters or fighters.

    Of course to shoot down such rockets it is important to have the interceptor SAMs near the targets the enemy is firing at.

    So basically the setup with in-service MLRS is plug-and-pray: Fire control sets the target coordinates and the battery dumps everything all at once. Weight of fire compensates the lack of precise targeting data. This is effective but is a huge waste of munitions since the vast majority of warheads would just end up kicking dirt.

    True but precisely known fixed small targets will be engaged with laser guided shells... 152mm or 203mm or 240mm, or Iskander, or Kh-69 or other missile like LMUR.

    Area targets like masses of enemy troops heading through a forest trying to overwhelm friendly forces protecting a town you want lots of HE and you want a good even spread but you also want it to all land almost at once so there is no chance to take cover or run away.

    But if you have eyes on the target that won't be necessary. You can narrow down the precise area of enemy troop concentrations and hit each with just one volley from one fire unit not the entire battery, assess - and repeat if you want to. You end up using but a fraction of the munitions per target as before. A capability that synergizes well with the very limited, but very effective self-aiming submunitions.

    True, but generally your rocket battery will be hunkered down and hiding waiting for target information... from whatever source... if the target is urgent they might just bang off rockets at a set of coordinates, but most of the time someone will have eyes on target... whether than is a tank commander in the field looking through his pano sight at advancing enemy troops, or a recon unit using their own drone who can monitor the attack and give fire corrections to really dial in the pain on the enemy.

    The battery fires and then moves immediately to avoid any enemy attention.

    I would say trying to turn a shotgun into a sniper rifle is Americas disease and that in practical terms that developing a 152mm gun ammo type that is HE Frag but also terminally guided with a range of 200km would be rather more useful on land and at sea.

    If 300km is some magic number then make a 203mm gun that can fire that far... much cheaper than rockets... can be used on land and by ships too.
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    Post  GarryB Mon Oct 10, 2022 10:25 am

    Russia needs MLRS with 300km + range. Do they all have to be precision guided? Probably not, because that will increase the cost of these systems significantly and destroys the whole purpose of using MLRS instead of cruise missiles. A mix of 300km range rockets that are both precision guided and unguided is the optimal solution.

    300km range rockets that are not guided will be cheaper, but will also be rather useless.

    At 90km range you can launch 12 x 300mm rockets from each launch vehicle so say 6 launch vehicles with each volley you are sending 72 rockets downrange.

    Now if the target is enemy armour well spread out of a range of different types from BMPs and tanks to trucks and light vehicles then the 9N176 rocket with 616 unguided HEAT submunitions would scatter enormous amounts of death over a very large area ... that is 616 x 72 rockets which is an enormous number of bomblets... you actually don't want them all to land on the same spot because that would be a terrible waste, but space the rockets evenly about the point of aim and these bomblets will give you a lethal even coverage of fragments and armour penetrations that would cause any enemy convoy or staging area enormous distress.

    (over 44 thousand HEAT bomblets... in that volley).

    But as mentioned they also have the guided self forging fragments submunitions that uses MMW radar and IR sensors to hit the top surface of armoured vehicles... 5 munitions per rocket, so a single vehicle directs 60 anti armour weapons to the target area... and again having a spread of munitions makes them more effective.

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