The multiple launch rocket systems are designed to engage
important area targets behind enemy lines. These targets could be
airfields, command centers, support facilities, air defense
and artillery batteries, concentrations of troops and so on. So which is the best
artillery rocket system in the world? Which is most powerful system
of this type and why? This Top 10 analysis is based on a combined
score of firepower, range and accuracy.
top 10 multiple launch rocket systems in the world are these:
PHL 03 (China)
PHL 03 is a Chinese artillery rocket system. It is a copy of the
Smerch. It reportedly entered service with the Chinese army in
2004-2005. The PHL 03 is also being proposed for
the export customers as the AR2. It has been exported to Morocco (one
battalion with 36 units).
The PHL 03
has 12 tubes for 300 mm 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. Though some sources report that
rockets of this system has a maximum range of 150 km. 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.
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.
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
WS2400 special wheeled chassis with 8x8 configuration. This military
vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel off-road.
artillery rocket system paved the way for a number of Chinese
versions, including AR1,
AR3, which is currently the most powerful system of this type.
Uragan-1M (Hurricane-1M) is a recent Russian artillery rocket
system. It was developed to replace both ageing
Uragan 220 mm system that was adopted back in 1975, and
300 mm system that was adopted in 1987. Both of these systems become
increasingly hard to maintain and keep in operational service due to
their age. The Uragan-1M was first publicly revealed in 2016. It
might become operational in the near future.
Uragan-1M is a multi-caliber system. It can carry 2 pods with
various rockets, including pods with 300 mm rockets of the Smerch
and 220 mm rockets of the Uragan. A universal MLRS concept
offers advantage of simpler logistics and
flexibility. Pods with launch tubes are removed and replaced
after all rockets are launched. The pods are faster to reload,
easier to store and to maintain. Though there were also developed
reusable 300 mm launcher packs that can be reloaded with individual
rockets by a reloading vehicle in field conditions.
There are a
total of 12 launch tubes for 300 mm rockets. Each of these rockets
weights 800 kg and has a 280 kg warhead. A number of warheads are
available, including HE-FRAG, fuel-air explosive,
incendiary, cluster with anti-personnel and anti-tank submunitions
or self-guided anti-tank munitions. Maximum range of fire is 70 km
with ordinary and 90 km with extended-range rockets. Some sources report that the Uragan-1M
can also use
newly-developed 300 mm rockets with a maximum range of 120 km. A
full salvo of this system covers an area of up to 67 hectares.
Uragan-1M is based on a Belarusian
MZKT-7930 special wheeled chassis with 8x8 configuration.
The Smerch (Tornado)
was introduced back in the 1980s. At the time it was the most
powerful multiple launch rocket system in the world. It is
used by a number of countries. After 30 years of service it remains
an extremely capable and devastating system. However it becomes
increasingly hard to maintain operational Smerch systems due to
has 12 tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets. Originally this multiple
launch rocket system had a range of 70 km. Though this range was
extended to 90 km on improved Smerch-M system. Recently it has been
reported that Russia developed further improved 300 mm rockets with
a maximum range of 120 km. 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
vehicle of the Smerch is based on a
heavy high mobility chassis with 8x8 configuration. A Smerch unit is
typically composed of 6 launcher vehicles and 6 reloading vehicles.
paved the way for a number of artillery rocket system, including a
9A52-4 Tornado. There is also a
2A52-2T, based on a Tatra 10x10 chassis. It is used by the
Indian army. China adopted a clone of the Smerch, called the
In 2019 a
new artillery rocket system was first publicly revealed in China. Its official
designation is still unknown. Some sources refer it as the PHL-16 or
PCH-191. It is a modified version of the previous
that was offered for export customers. This system is already in
service with the China's army. Currently it is one of the most
powerful systems in the world its class.
uses 370 mm guided rockets. These have a maximum range of 220 km. As
far as the system uses pods with missiles, it can be configured to
use rockets of different caliber. Some sources report that it is
capable of launching tactical ballistic missiles and anti-ship
missiles. The previous AR3 can also carry pods with 300 mm rockets,
Fire Dragon 480 tactical ballistic missiles and TL-7B anti-ship
an armored cab which provides some degree of protection for the crew
from small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.
multiple launch rocket system was developed from an
which was introduced during the late 1990s, but was not adopted by
the Chinese army. The AR1A artillery rocket system was first
demonstrated in 2009. It is a modular system, based on the Russian
technology. The AR1A is being
proposed for export customers. Recently it
was reported that Armenia ordered unspecified number of these
The AR1A has
re-arranged rocket tubes, comparing with its predecessor, the A100. 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. Once all the rockets are launched the pods
are removed and replaced. Maximum range of fire is up to 130 km.
artillery rocket system is also compatible with pods of the
system with 370 mm rockets.
vehicle is based on a
WS2400 special wheeled chassis with 8x8 configuration.
The WS-2 or
WeiShi-2 (Guardian-2) is another Chinese multiple launch
rocket system. It was revealed in 2008. It was aimed at export customers. Some sources report that a
number of these artillery rocket systems were exported to Sudan.
It is fitted
with 6 launchers for 400 mm artillery rockets. This artillery system has got no
launching rails. The rockets are fired from containers. Rockets are
factory fitted and sealed and can be
stored in these containers for years, as these do not require additional
maintenance. Once all the rockets are launched these containers are
removed and replaced.
400 mm rocket has a maximum range of 200 km. It can be equipped with
various warheads, including anti-personnel, anti-armor or fuel air
explosive. These rockets have a simple inertial guidance system, but
can also use Chinese Baidu satellite
navigation system for mid-course guidance. There is also a
capability to use terminal guidance for further increase of
accuracy. At maximum range rockets are accurate to 600 m.
launcher is based on the
high mobility truck chassis with 8x8 configuration.
The A200 is
one of the latest Chinese artillery rocket systems. It is a further development of the
new system has increased range of fire. It is being proposed for
export customers. Belarus obtained a number of these rocket systems.
However these are based on indigenous 8x8 heavy high mobility
chassis and are locally known as the
Polonez. These systems were first publicly revealed in Belarus
in 2015 and full-scale deliveries were planned to begin in 2016. It seems
that Chinese army showed no interest to the A200, but selected for
newer and more capable
vehicle carries a total of 8 containers with 300 mm rockets. The
rockets have a maximum range of 200 km. Rockets have inertial guidance
with satellite navigation update. CEP
is around 30 meters. So these rockets are very accurate even at
The A200 rockets carry warheads that weight around 100-150 kg.
of warheads are available.
The A200 is
a modular system, that can also use other pods with different
rockets. This system is also capable of carrying and launching 2
containers with Chinese
M20 short-range ballistic missiles. The M20
missile has a range of 280 km and can carry a 480 kg warhead. This
missile is nuclear capable.
artillery system is operated by a crew of 3 to 5 men, depending on
the vehicle it is based on. It can use Chinese
Wanshan WS2400 or similar 8x8 heavy high mobility chassis, that
has a payload capacity of around 20 t.
was a Chinese attempt to create an indigenous long-range artillery
rocket system, similar to the Soviet
In many respects it is similar to the Smerch - the A100 fires 300 mm
rockets and is based on a heavy high mobility truck chassis. However manufacturers insist that it
is completely different system. The A100 was trialed by
the Chinese army, however the
PHL03 was selected
instead. The A100 was proposed for export customers. Its improved
version has been exported to Pakistan and Tanzania.
artillery rocket system has 10 launch tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets
(the original Smerch has 12 tubes). The A100 MLRS has a maximum
range of 120 km.
version of the A100 launcher vehicle was based on a Taian TA580 special wheeled
chassis with 8x8 configuration. However improved artillery systems exported to
Tanzania were based on a newer Taian TAS4500 special wheeled
chassis with 8x8 configuration.
is an improved version of the A100 with re-arranged rocket tubes. It
has 2 pods with a total of 10 rockets.
new heavy artillery rocket system emerged in North Korea. Some
sources refer it as KN-25, although this is provisional name. Its
actual designation is different. This system uses extremely large
guided artillery rockets, that are around 500-600 mm in diameter. So
far it is the most powerful multiple launch system, ever fielded by
North Korea. A number of test launches were made in 2019 and 2020.
Actual status of this system is unclear. It is unknown whether it is
still being tested or is already in operational service with the
North Korean military.
Korean artillery system uses very large guided artillery rockets.
These could be one of the largest artillery rockets of their type
ever fielded by any other country. The KN-25
can be even seen as a short-range ballistic missile system. During
test launches rockets of this new North Korean system demonstrated a
range of 240 km. It is estimated that these rockets have a range of
up to 400 km. If these estimates are correct it means that this
rocket system covers most territory of South Korea. Rockets use
inertial and satellite navigation system for guidance.
artillery rocket system is based on a modified Tatra's chassis. It
is clearly seen by a unique Tatra's independent suspension. It could
be a heavily modified version of the
T815 Kolos military truck.
there were reports from South Korean intelligence that North Korea
is testing a new large-caliber artillery rocket system of new type.
This artillery rocket system was first publicly revealed in 2015.
Some sources refer it as the KN-09, though it is not its actual
designation but rather a provisional name. A couple of launcher vehicles were publicly displayed,
however current status of this artillery rocket systems or its
production numbers are unknown. Its exact specifications are also
So far it is
the most powerful multiple launch rocket system developed by North
Korea. This country also operates
M1991 artillery rocket systems that use 240 mm rockets. Though
these two systems are less capable and have shorter range. The new
300 mm artillery rocket system is among the most capable systems of
its type in the world.
artillery rocket system has a total of 8 launch tubes for 300 mm
artillery rockets. Most likely that this North Korean system uses
Chinese SY-300 artillery rockets. These have a range of up to 130
km. The SY-300 rockets are accurate out to 200 meters using inertial
guidance system, and out to 50 meters using inertial guidance system
with Baidu satellite navigation system update. The
rocket can carry High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), cluster
rockets with scatterable anti-tank or anti-personnel mines,
and even chemical warheads.
Korean artillery rocket system is based on a Chinese HOWO heavy-duty
commercial truck with 6x6 configuration. In North Korea this truck
was repurposed for military applications. This vehicle has some
degree of cross-country mobility.