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Smerch

Multiple launch rocket system

Smerch MLRS

The BM-30 Smerch was the most powerful multiple launch rocket system in the world

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1987
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 43.7 t
Length 12.37 m
Width 3.1 m
Height 3.1 m
Armament
Caliber 300 mm
Number of tubes 12
Rocket weight 800 kg
Warhead weight 280 kg
Firing range 20 - 70 km
Full salvo duration 38 s
Reloading time 36 minutes
Mobility
Engine D12A-525A diesel
Engine power 525 hp
Maximum road speed 60 - 65 km/h
Range 850 - 900 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench ~ 2 m
Fording 1 - 1.1 m

 

   Between 1969 and 1976 soviets were creating a concept of a new extremely powerful artillery rocket system. In 1976 a requirement was issued by the soviet government to develop this new artillery system. In 1982 this new system successfully completed trials. The Smerch (Tornado) was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1987. At the time it was the most powerful multiple launch artillery rocket system in the world. Even today, after more than 30 years of service, it remains one of the deadliest systems of this type. Currently Russian Army operates just over 100 of these artillery rocket systems. It saw combat during both Russian wars in Chechnya. Recently it saw combat in Ukraine and Syria. Other operators of the Smerch are Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kuwait, Peru, Syria, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. In 2020 Azerbaijan used these heavy artillery rocket systems against Armenian forces.

   Russian designation for the whole artillery system is the 9K58, while the launcher vehicle is designated as the 9A52 or BM-30.

   The Smerch has 12 tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets. A standard rocket is 7.6 m long and weights 800 kg. Originally this multiple launch rocket system had a range of 70 km. Though this range was extended on improved systems. A number of warheads were developed for this system, including HE-FRAG, fuel-air explosive, incendiary, cluster with anti-personnel and anti-tank submunitions or self-guided anti-tank munitions. The launcher vehicle is capable of salvo firing or launching single rockets.

   The Smerch proved to be extremely effective against concentration of troops and armored vehicles, artillery and air defense batteries, airfields and other area targets. A full salvo of a single launcher covers an area of up to 67 hectares.

   The Smerch launch vehicle can stop and open fire within 3 minutes from travelling. It takes the same amount of time to leave the firing position. Rockets are launched directly form the cab, or remotely form the vehicle. A full salvo takes 38 seconds.

   Launcher vehicle of the Smerch is based on a MAZ-543M heavy high mobility chassis with 8x8 configuration. This vehicle is powered by the D12A-525A 38.9-liter diesel engine, developing 525 horsepower. It is fitted with a central tyre inflation system, which improves mobility over difficult terrain, such as sand, snow and mud.

   The Smerch is reloaded by an associated 9T234-2 reloading vehicle. It is based on a similar MAZ-543A heavy high mobility chassis with 8x8 configuration. The reloading vehicle is fitted with hydraulic crane and carries a full set of 12 reload rockets. Reloading takes 36 minutes. Reloading usually takes place away from the firing position, to avoid counter-battery fire.

   A Smerch unit is typically composed of 6 launcher vehicles and 6 reloading vehicles. The fire control system of the Smerch, the Vivari, can function automatically or under manual control. The Vivari system is housed in a command vehicle and controls 6 launchers. It calculates ballistic and targeting data of each launcher.

 

Variants

 

   Smerch-M, improved version of the Smerch with new navigation and targeting systems and capable of launching extended-range rockets. This system is referred as 9A52-2. It is compatible with new extended-range rockets, that can reach up to 90 km. Recently it has been reported that Russia developed further improved 300 mm rockets with a maximum range of 120 km.

   9A52-2T Smerch, variant based on the Tatra 10x10 chassis. It was designed in Russia for the Indian MoD. This rocket system is in service with the Indian Army.

   9A52-4 Tornado is lighter variant of the Smerch, based on KamAZ 8x8 truck. It has a six-pack launcher pod for 300 mm rockets. So the 9A52-4 has half the firepower of the Smerch. The whole launcher pod is replaced after all rockets are fired. This system is compatible with 90 km rockets.

   Uragan-1M is a new Russian artillery rocket system, that might become a replacement for the ageing Uragan and Smerch systems. It was first publicly revealed in 2016. The Uragan-1M carries two launching pods for 300 mm or 220 mm rockets. These rocket pods are interchangeable with those of the 9A52-4 Tornado system. Launcher vehicle is based on an MZKT-7930 high-mobility chassis with 8x8 configuration.

   PHL 03 is a Chinese copy of the Smerch. It was adopted by the Chinese army in 2004-2005. It incorporates newer technologies, as well as indigenous Chinese rockets with a maximum range of 130 km. China developed a number of indigenous versions of this artillery rocket system.

   Olha is a Ukrainian version of the Smerch, which uses newly developed missiles, possibly with extended range. The Oliha uses the same launcher vehicle of the Smerch. It was planned that tests of this system will be completed in 2018 and production will commence.

 

   Updated information and some of the images were sent us by SERGEI V. GUROV

   Thank you Sergei!

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

 

 

 
Smerch MLRS

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Smerch MLRS

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Smerch MLRS

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Smerch MLRS

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Smerch MLRS

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Smerch MLRS

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Smerch MLRS

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