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PHL-03

Multiple launch rocket system

PHL03 MLRS

The PHL 03 multiple launch rocket system is a Chinese version of the Russian Smerch

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service 2004 - 2005
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 43 t
Length ~ 12 m
Width ~ 3 m
Height ~ 3 m
Armament
Caliber 300 mm
Number of tubes 12
Rocket weight 800 kg
Warhead weight 280 kg
Firing range 70 - 130 km
Full salvo duration ~ 30 s
Reloading time ~ 30 minutes
Mobility
Engine diesel
Engine power ~ 500 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 650 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench ~ 2 m
Fording 1 m

 

   The PHL-03, also referred as the Type 03, multiple launch rocket system is a Chinese version of a Soviet BM-30 Smerch. It was developed by NORINCO and reportedly entered service with the Chinese army in 2004-2005.  Currently it is one of the most powerful multiple launch artillery rocket systems in the world. The PHL-03 is also being proposed for the export customers as the AR2. It is in service with Morocco (one battalion with 36 units).

   The main role of this artillery rocket system is to engage remote strategic targets, such as airfields, command centers, support facilities, air defense batteries, large concentrations of troops and so on.

   The PHL-03 retains the original Russian configuration with 12 launch tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets. A standard rocket weights around 800 kg and has a 280 kg warhead. Maximum range of fire is 70-130 km depending on the warhead type. Rockets are available with High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), fuel-air explosive, and cluster warheads with anti-armor and anti-personnel submunitions. Cluster warheads may also carry self-targeting anti-tank munitions. A full salvo of this system could potentially cover an area of up to 67 hectares.

   Even though the PHL-03 is a Chinese version of the Smerch, it appears that Chinese overtook Russians in terms of rockets, as rockets of the PHL-03 have longer range than those of the Smerch. Manufacturers claim, that Chinese 300 mm rockets are not compatible with the Russian Smerch rockets as these use different propellant motors and components.

   This artillery rocket system has a digital fire control system. The PHL-03 is operated by a crew of 4.

   The PHL-03 is based on a Wanshan WS2400 special wheeled chassis with 8x8 configuration. This military vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel off-road. It is fitted with a central tyre pressure system, which can be adjusted on the move. This system improves mobility over difficult terrain, such as sand, mud and snow.

   A reloading vehicle is based on the same 8x8 chassis and is fitted with a hydraulic crane and carries 12 reload rockets. Reloading usually takes place remotely from firing position, to avoid counter-battery fire.

 

Variants

 

   AR1 is a version of the PHL 03 with re-arranged rocket tubes. It was developed specially for export. This artillery system has a total of 8 launch tubes, arranged in 2 pods with 4 rockets each. The pods are factory fitted and sealed. Once all of the rockets are launched the pods are removed and replaced. Such artillery rocket system is faster to reload. Also pods are easier to store and to maintain.

   AR1A has a total of 10 launch tubes, arranged in 2 pods of 5 rockets each.

   AR2 is an export designation of the PHL-03. This artillery rocket system appears to be similar to that used by the Chinese army. It is in service with Ethiopia and possibly some other countries. It is supported by a reloading vehicle, based on a similar Wanshan 5-axle chassis and fitted with a crane.

   AR3 has a 8 launch tubes for 370 mm guided rockets. These are arranged in 2 pods with 4 rockets each. These guided rockets have a maximum range of 220 km and have capabilities similar that of short-range ballistic missiles. Currently the AR3 is one of the most powerful artillery rocket systems in the world.

 

 

 
PHL03 MLRS

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PHL03 MLRS

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PHL03 MLRS

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PHL03 MLRS

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PHL03 MLRS

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PHL03 MLRS

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