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Multiple launch rocket system


Despite its age the BMD-20 artillery rocket system is still used by North Korea

Entered service 1952
Crew 8 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 8.7 t
Length 7.21 m
Width 2.3 m
Height 2.85 m
Caliber 200-mm
Number of tubes 4
Rocket weight 194 kg
Warhead weight 30 kg
Firing range 19 km
Full salvo duration 4-6 s
Reloading time 4-5 minutes
Engine petrol
Engine power 92 hp
Maximum road speed up to 60 km/h
Range 520 km
Gradient 56%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.5 m
Trench ~ 0.5 m
Fording ~ 0.7 m


   Development of the MD-20 Storm-1 artillery rocket system commenced in 1947. It was accepted to service with the Soviet Army in 1952 alongside the BM-14 artillery rocket system. The launcher vehicle is based on a modified ZiS-151A truck and is designated as BMD-20. This artillery system has been exported to Cuba, Ethiopia, North Korea, and possibly some other countries. North Korea received 200 of these artillery systems in the mid 50s. Despite its age in the BMD-20 was seen at a military parade in North Korea in 2012.

   The launcher is a simple steel cage for 4 200-mm rockets. This vehicle fires MD-20F rockets with high-explosive warheads. A standard rocket is 3.05 m long and weights 194 kg. It carries 30 kg of TNT and has a range of 19 km. All four rockets can be launched in 4-6 seconds.

   The BMD-20 launcher vehicle has a crew of 8. Three men are seated inside the cab, while the rest are seated externally near the launcher. In traveling order the launcher is covered with a canvas cover. There are metal curtains, that cover roof and windows when the rockets are launched. Vehicle can stop and launch its rockets within 2 minutes from travelling.

   The ZiS-151A is powered by a petrol engine, developing 92 hp. It is mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. Some vehicles were fitted with self-recovery winches.

   This launcher vehicle is reloaded manually by 5 soldiers. Some sources report that the launcher is reloaded within only 4-5 minutes. Reload rockets are carried by escorting truck. Reloading usually takes place remotely from firing position in order to avoid counter-battery fire.

   North Korean BMD-20 launcher vehicles are based on more modern ZiL-157 truck. Also North Korea developed towed and naval versions of this artillery rocket system, mounted on patrol boats. Naval version has launching rails for 8 rockets.


   Information on this article and some of the images were sent us by SERGEI V. GUROV

   Thank you Sergei!

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