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Multiple launch rocket system


The AR1A multiple launch rocket system is being actively proposed for export customers

Entered service ?
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 42.5 t
Length ~ 12 m
Width ~ 3 m
Height ~ 3 m
Caliber 300-mm
Number of tubes 10
Rocket weight 840 kg
Warhead weight 200 kg
Firing range 20 - 130 km
Full salvo duration 60 s
Reloading time 20 minutes
Engine diesel
Engine power ~ 500 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 650 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench ~ 2 m
Fording ~ 1 m


   The AR1A multiple launch rocket system was developed from the A-100. The previous A-100 was introduced in the late 1990s, but it was not accepted to service with the Chinese army. The AR1A artillery rocket system was first demonstrated in 2009. This MLRS is based on the Russian 9K58 Smerch technology. It is a further development of the PHL03 which is in service with the Chinese army. The AR1A is being actively proposed for export customers. Some sources claim, that Pakistan procured a battalion of the AR1A systems (36 launchers) for trials and evaluation. It is referred as the A-100E. A follow-on order is also likely. It was purchased in response to India's acquisition of the Russian 9A52-2T Smerch (variant of the original 9K58 Smerch). Pakistan also considers transferring production of this system from China. Both the Smerch and the A-100E are 300-mm MLRS systems. Recently it was reported that Armenia ordered unspecified number of these artillery systems.

   The AR1A is a long-range system, intended to attack important ground targets, such as airfields, command centers, radar stations, artillery or missile batteries, concentrations of troops and vehicles.

   Comparing with its predecessor the AR1A has redesigned rocket tubes. These are reloaded as two complete box-shaped pods. Each pod contains 5 launching tubes for 300-mm rockets. Rockets are factory-fitted and sealed inside these pods. Pods are easier to maintain. Manufacturers claim, that despite similar caliber the AR1A is not compatible with the Smerch rockets. They also insist that rockets use different propellant motors and components. A number of warheads are available for this system, including HE-FRAG, fuel-air explosive, cargo, with anti-tank or anti-personnel submunitions. A standard HE-FRAG warhead weights about 200 kg. Maximum range of fire is up to 130 km. Minimum range is 20 km. Rockets are fitted with a range and direction correction system for improved accuracy.

   A crew of four prepares the launcher vehicle for firing within 5 minutes. Once all the rockets are launched vehicle leaves position within 1 minute. The launcher vehicle is fitted with GPS system for positioning and navigation. Launcher vehicle can fire single rockets or full salvo.

   Launcher vehicle of this multiple launch rocket system is based on Wanshan WS2400 8x8 special wheeled  chassis. Vehicle is fitted with a central tyre inflation system. It has good cross-country mobility.

   A battery of this artillery system includes launcher vehicles, command vehicle, meteorological survey vehicle, reloading vehicles and other support systems. This artillery system usually simultaneously launches rockets with similar systems at battalion or battery level. However every single launcher can also operate autonomously.

   Reloading of this system usually takes place away from firing position, to avoid counter-battery fire. Reload pods are carried by escorting reloading vehicle, which is fitted with a crane. The launcher vehicle is reloaded within 20 minutes.

   In 2011 another Chinese MLRS was revealed. The AR3 is similar to the AR1A, but it is even more powerful. It can also launch 300-mm rockets. However it is also compatible with 370-mm guided missiles, which have a range of up to 220 km. Pods of the AR1A and AR3 are interchangeable.


   Information on this artillery rocket system was sent us by SERGEI V. GUROV

   Thank you Sergei!

    Send us your own articles. Please visit guidelines for writers for more information.






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