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i Modern Naval Arti-Airsaff fu


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t'toclern
tlultipleRocket
Launchers
TheSovietUnionintroducedthemaltfil1lerocketlaancher(MRL)dadngWorldWarII,and
European members of NATO wiII
shortly follow the US Army in
pur ch as ing the Vought M ul tiple
remainstheworldleaderintheirprdtctional;dasr-,/MRIscalnprodace adevastating L aunch R ocket Sy s tem. B ut, despife
its ultra-modern appearance, the
eoncentrationof fire;theshockefferltalsasha<pradu.c*ddranaaticrcsultsinrecentwats MI,RS is no more effective than its
in Africa, and the MRL is also the ideal delivety sy9;em for soke and chemicalmuitions, tru ck- mou nte d S ovie t equivalent,
and is far more expensive.
Today the major exponent of the multiple r.3<e: -: -_-r:- :r-
=: 1.3_ = -_
lre USSR, whlch first introduced this weapon s.-==:- ::_:: -:-= :a:_==
realized the importance of the MRL in modem warfare; but instead
:: -eaming drrect from the Soviets their use of such weapons, most of the
='_=
dwing World War II under the name 'Katyusm EE:-:.-'I :i:::s:,-: \ATO nations whrch are due to deptoy the joint American-European
weapon, the MRL is able to create tremendcr= c::-:::-:=:::; :: =
power in a short space of time, thus enhancing l-s sj5:-- :=:.- : ;1--1
-= :_,-s:em known as the Multrple Launch Rocket System wiJl, in iact, use it in
p.ace of conventional artillery pieces instead of as a supplement to them,
aly target engaged, The Sovrets treat MRLs ra-Jrer - 1 _-:!:-==€:-- -: 3.rer countries happily have learnt the distinctron and are brrnging
ube artillery because their rate of fire is low and the r::-<== -j-=;'--- -= sach systems into service with therr armies, Perhaps the most notewor-
comparatively more expensive than shells. Howe-.-e: l,F - -iy of these are Egypt, Israel, South Africa and Brazrl, wtuch are ali now
Coinm heavy concentrations oi smoke and chemrcal \rer--r: = l::--: 3::1
=:- !*: producing their own MRL desrgns, The last country has its newly de-
r: rs this abrlity to deliver almost instantaneous high leveis --:--:::= -::::- sigmed ASTROS II system in service with the Iraqi army on the bat-
h a category above other systems, especially when blcci ag=::= s':i-_ -:efleIds of the still seething Gulf War, while Israel has
iested her desigls
as hydrogen cyanide are concerned, During several c: -:= -m-=- :_ against Syria during the 1982 'Peace for Gahlee' invasion of Lebanon.
scuthern and central Africa it has been the shock efec c: a se_;: ::
rcckets with al1 the attendant noise rather than the aciua- p:--;s-:a-
The launch signature of the Brazilian 35-60 is considerable; thus the firing
damage that has caused poorly trained troops to nm av/a_l-
flatform will stay back from the forward line of troops in order to conceil
Surprisingly it is only recently that the West, and in particular *S-r_ itself by taking full advantageof #re SS-603 60 - kn (32.i-mi[e) range.
=e
G [b:]ii^At illery Rocket system (IARS)
TheWestGerman arm1"s I l1'mm(4.33-in) Light
The 110-mm (4,33-in) Light Artillery
Rocket System (LARS) was developed ArtilJery Rocketsystem has recently been -
in the mid-1960s and accepted into -.
upgr aded from irARS I to L/'RS I I standard' The
West German army sen'rce in 1969. It irogramme includd a new fire-control system,
is issued on the scale ol one battery of aaiitionai rxket types and an increase in mobility
erght launchers per army division, byfitting the launCier to a MAN 6x6 truckcfiassis'
each battery also havinq two 4x4
truck-mounted Fieldgnrard fire-control
systems and a resupply vehicle with
144 rockets. Following upgradingr to
the LA.RS II standard, each launcher is
now mounted on the rear of a 7000-kg
( I 5,432-1b) MAN 6 x 6 truck chassis and
consists of two side-by-side banks of
lB launcher tubes, The fln-stabilized
solid propellant rockets can all be
fired within 17,5 seconds, manual re-
loading taking approximately 15 mi- l
nutes, The minimum and maximum I

ranges are 6 km (3,73 miles) and 14 lcn


(8.7 miles) respectively, There are
seven types of warhead that can be
fitted to the rocket, these includinq the
DM-71 I mine dispenser with flve para-
chute-retarded AT-2 antr-tank mines,
the DM-21 HE-fragmentation, and the
DM-701 mlne dispenser wlth eight AT-
I anti-tank mines, A total of 209 LARS II
launchers is in service with the West
German army at present, and these
are likely to be releetated to resewe
units as the MLRS rs phased into ser-
vice duringr the late 1980s and early
I990s,

Specification
I,ARSII
Combatweight: 17480 kg (38,537 lb)
Crew:3
Chassis: 7000 kq (15,432 lb) MAN 6x 6
truck
Calibre: 110 mm (4,33 in)
No. of Iauncher tubes: 36
Rocket lengrth: not known
Rocket weight: not known
Warhead types: HE-fragmentation,
submunition, smoke, practice, radar

Warhead weights: not known

C alled the Ar tillerie Raketenwerfer


l IlSF by theWestGerman armY, the
qyslem isr'ssued on the scale of one
battery per division, each battery
having two Swis s C ontr aves
Fieldguard radar fire control
systems on a 4x4 truck chassis and a
re supply vehicle w ith I 44 rockets'

I iinn-el multiple rocketlauncher


The i22-mm (4,8-in) BM-21 MRL en- The standard W arsaw Pacr Multiple Rocket
tered service in the early 1960s and Launcher is the 122-mm G.1-in) BM-21 ' with a 40'
has since become the standard MRL of round launcher mount€d on the rear of a Ural-375
the Warsaw Pact and most Soviet- 6x 6 truckctrassrs. Several countries have copied
zupplied client states. Vadants of the tie sysfem, while others have built their own
system have also been manufach:red verstons.
rn China (the 4o-round Type 8I MRL),
Eqypt (a straight 40-round copy and
modified 2l- and 30-round systems,
together wrth the Sakr-I8 and Sakr-30
systems), India (the 40-round LRAR
system) and Romania (a 2l-round laun-
cher on a Bucegri SR-l 14 lorry chassis).
In the Warsaw Pact the BM-z1 is found
on both the Ural-375D 6x6 tmck and,
more recently, the ZIL-131 truck in a
modif,ed 36-round version identlf,ed
as the M1976 by NATO. There is also a
l2-round launcher mounted on a small
4x4 vehicie, the M1975, which rs in
sewice with Soviet airborne troops as
a replacement for the older towed 140-
mm (5.5-rn) MRLs, During the 1982
Israeli rnvasion of Lebanon the Israeli
army came across a 3O-round BM-2I

2242
BM-2 I multiple rocket-launcher (continued) Modern Multiple Rocket-Lautchers
variant rnor.mted on the rear platform of parts of the BM-21 launcher to produce
a Japarese Isuzu 6x6 truck whrch is home-built systems for use in their in-
ide::::ai rn most respects to the Eg'yp- ternal conflicts, The PLO MRLs saw
'::r- ::-round system mounted on the considerable use in the battles in and
sa:::e chassis but is actually manufac- around Beirut from 1982 onwards,
:::ei in North Korea under the de-
sEmatron BM-II, Specification
The BM-21 is normally found in BM-zI
battalions of 18 integrated into the di- combat weight: 1 1500 kq (25,353 lb)
vsional artrllery regiment, but a num- Crew:6
ber of Category I motorized rifle dtvi- Chassis: Ural-375D 6 x 6 truck
srons also have regdmental batteries of Calibre: 122 mm (4,8 in)
sx BM-2ls or Ml976s in service, The No. of launchertubes: 40
'.22-mm rocket can be fltted with a Lengrth ofrocket: standard 3 23 m
smoke, HE-fragmentation, incendiary ( 10 6 ft) and short 1.9 i m (6.3 ft)
or chemrcal warhead and the laun- Weight of rocket: standard 77 kg
chet can be filled with mxed loads rf (169,75 Ib), andshort45,B kg
required, Most of the BM-z1 variants (r00 97 ]b)
have now been used in combat Warhead types: HE-fragmentation,
throughout the world, the latest So\.ret tncendiary, smoke, chemrcal
systems having been blooded in Warhead weight: 19,4 kg (42.77 lb) The BM-2I is seen in a Moscow parade with several200-mm (2.87-in) four-
Afghanistan against the gruerrillas Maximum range: standard 20. 38 km round BMD-20 multiple rocket systems in front. In rccent yearsffieSovjets
there A number of local guerrilla (12.66miles), andshort 11 km(6,84 have also produced 36-round and I 2-round MRLS, code-named M lg76 and
forces such as the PLO have also taken miles) M I 9 7 5 rc s pectiv ely by NATO, based on the B M - Z I sy s tem.

iirvr-e+ multiple rocket-launcher


-
htroduced into service during the ear-
ly 1950s, the 240-mm (9.45-in) BM-24
The l2-round240-mm
(9.45-in) BM-24 Multiple
MRL has now been replaced in front- R ocke t Lau ncher entere d
tine servrce by either the 122^mm (4.8- service with the Soviet
-n) BM-21 or the 220-mm (8.66-rn) BM- army in the early i,950s and
27 systems, and is now usually found in is now found only in
Soviet second-line units and the training units and the
s-[ategic reserve stockpile for issue strategic war reserve for
durlng wartime to mobilized divrsions. mobilization units.
lhe BM-24 has been wtdely exported
a:id has seen wrdespread use wrth the
-liab armres jn ihe Mrddle Easi agarnsi
-.tael.
The system was origrnally mounted
:r the rear of the 2500-kg (5,512-lb)
:IL-151 6x6 truck, but is now to be
::trnd on the ZIL- 157 truck chassis. The
ia:rncher consists of hvo rows of six
-:]rular frame rails with two stabiltzer
_acks and armoured window shutters
:::at need to be lowered for firingt
slael was so impressed by the system
-;;:len it was used against its forces that
-: adopted captured BM-24s as one of 110.5 kg(243.6lb)rmthai: : <g -:a :- armoured units, but as far as it rs known Chassis: 2500-kq (5,5 12lb) ZIL- 157
-:e Israeli arm/s standard MRL sys- Ib) HE-fraqrmentarron .',=t:::j :' -.-- thrs is no longer in service, the tractors 6 x 6 truck
.:ms A new rocket was manufactured perior performance to ,.:.;-. :. -'= ::. having been converted back to their Calibre:240 mm (9,45 in)
::: the launcher, and the equipments grnal Sovret t1pe. The max-l:--::-:a:-;: original use, No. of launcher rails: 12
-,',-ere
grouped into independent MRL ts slightly less than 'hat i: ':.= -i:'..+: Lenqthofrocket: 1. iB m (3.82 ft)
l:rllery battalions which were used in rocket a' l0 7 hrr (6 65 rrl=-. Weight of rocket: I 12..5 kg (248 1b)
::mbat during the 1973 'Yom Krppur The Soviers also mounred = -2-: - -:-: Specification Warhead types: HE-fragmentation,
=:d 1982 'Peace lbr Galilee'wars The 240-mm launcher on ihe re- :: ;- BM-24
=:. .:.-:-+
':-j:: smoke, chemical
:-:w israeli Military Industries rocket S medium arrillery tracror Combatweight:9200 kq (20,283 lb)
'. 1.29 m (4 23 ft) iong and wergrhs designation BM-24T icr :..: i j' Crew:6
Warheadweight:46.9 kg (103.4 lb)
Maximum range: I I km (6,84 miles)

FcJowing the 1967 war between theArabs and the Israelis, the latter came The adoption of the BM-24 into Israeli army service resultedin Israel Mititary
ic possession of lar ge numbers of B M- 2 4 s as w ar booty. The s e were Industries manufacturing a new rocket for the system that has gEeater
=
prcmptly refurb.rshedand jssued toindependentMRL battalions of the Israeli lethality than the original Soviet model, although maximum raige of the
a::ny. who used them against the Arabs in 1973 and inLebanon in i,982. rocket has been marginally reduced.
TheGulf War
Five years ago lraq took advantage of the chaos reigning in neighbouring lran to
Iaunch an iniasioi, but the Iranians did not collapse as expected and the lraqi
advanceground to a halt.Since then abloodywar of attritignLal continued,gaining Below: The use of the MRL providing de{ensive fire
attentionln theWest onlywhen a tanker is attacked in the Gulf .ln this conflictmany missions from prepared siles ft as resulted in Iraqi
BM-2 1 batteries kllhng and wounding hundreds of
of theworld's /atesf weapons have been used, including Brazilian rocket-launchers Iranians with sirE,'e saJroes duting the latter's
and moder npoison grase.s. suicidal inf an r,' a :i a c ks.
t

The Gulf War has by 1985 reached the siage


-where it seems that neither combatant is strong
enough to win an outright victory, Nor,
apparently, dre lhey able to r egotiate d peace
7''"'
agreement either directly or through a third
party, The Iraqi armed iorces are by far the
better equlpped, consrderable financial re-
sources having been channelled to them to buy
the latest in weaponry in order to offset the
Iranian advantage in ample reserves of wrlling
manpower such as the Pasdaran (Revolution-
ary Guards), to launch almost sulcidal grouni
offensives more reminiscent of World War I-
Western Front than a baltlefreld of the 198,'s
The 'Battle of the Marshes' around Hawtzah -:'.
the south during early l9BS is conservattie'
estimated to have cost 20 000 lranian and Lf i , -
Iraqi dead along wlth some four times :h:::
numbers in wounded missrng and cap::r=:r
The equipment losses were almost as holr::
dous on both sides Once this offensive an. ---:
ihreat to the lraqi port of Basra and the r-:-,:
tarmac road to Baghdad had been bea.e:- ,
the Iraqis tried to shlft attentron northwar:-
,rF
the mountainous border region where .-= ?.+
launched a limited diversionary offensl': - I

their own This soon petered out whet- .:-=" *l t .:-;f *


'r . :. ;::
realized that the lranians were not reacl-:.:: -: €
a large scale. Instead they resoried ic 3-: l J;

ground atrcraft and ground-to-grounc :r-:s,-= '


S. -= &:1
attacks on lranian industrial and civilian :aj:::.:
deep behrnd the front ilne. In what has Jle.:::--
known as the 'Battle of the Cittes lran prc::--: ..
retaliaLed by oombardino boroer -o1'.r-i : .

as Basra with artrllery, by attacktnq se-.'::r-


towns deep within Iraq by aircraft, anC c - ,'-
rtlailng rts own lonq range co-n.er n--r-
bombardment of Baghdad wrth Lrc--...-
supplied but Soviet built SS-l 'Scud'Bs .:'-:
what is believed to be an tndigenousl.'' :i=
srgned and burlt misslle
In the exchanges of long-ranqe flre 'a'-l-:.
became a substitute for concerted actlo: ::
the battlefront, both sides supported thetr ar ..
lery wlth all available rocket launchers A 1..
iery of MRLs in action is not only a fear--,,"
iethal weapon but a splendtd spectacLe --
home consumption
To reduce the scale of losses they have --,'
fered in a number of larqe offenstves, the r.-
nians have now swttched lhett s-ra eg- - ..-
mlted duration raids into Iraqi territory til-':=
are designed to inflrct heavy losses ior r--:.--
mum lranian casualties, They also reduce .:-=
risk of large-scaie personnel exposure to i::::-
chemical weapon counterattack. In the las: . .' ,
or three years the Iraqts are known to :. :
used the following chemical warfare aQle:r,s ,:-
artillery and mortar shells, aircralt bombs -:.:;
alrcraft spray tanks: the nerve gas Tab'il .:::
bllster agents Mustard gas and Lewisrte (c- -:-
separately and in a mixture) the toxrc ;.s

Although first used in combat by the Syrians and


EgyptiAns against the Israelis in 1973, this is the
filil picture of the I B1-mm (7.09-in) S'23 gun.

actually being fired in anger. Itis being used by ar'


Iraqiheavy artillery brigadewith 84.09-kg (l B5-lb)
F-43 HE rounds to bambard lranian positions deep
behind the front Line.

2ZA4
Modern Multiple Rocket-Launchers
p:.s::::-: and the blood gas hydrogen
3-.-::-': -. s believed that al1 these agenls are
=r.-... j' being
produced in Iraq at chemical
:-=-.- s-:pplied originally by Western firms for
:----:aciunnq agrrcultural chemicals. There
::= i,so reports of the Iraqrs using the toxin
,';eapon nrcknamed 'Yellow Rarn', If thts is cor-
rect then it ls likely that the USSR has supplied
s:ocks for combat testing in the varrous terrains
and climates to be found along the border. The
Scviet army uses MRLs to deliver intensive
barrages of chemical munitions, a salvo of rock-
ers being an ideal method to create a powerful
concentration of toxic gas. It may not be long
belore the Iraqis supplement their exrsting im-
provised deiivery systems wrth Sovtet-
suppiied chemical rockets. Recently the lra-
nians have also alluded to having a small offen-
sive chemical warfare capabrlrty, but as yet no

Right: The Soviet-supplied BMP- I MICV with its


73-mm smooth-bore low-pressure gun and AT-3
'Sagger' ATGWs has proved useful in countering
Iranian infantry offensives due toits mobility ana
heavyfirepower.

coastal waters against the ports at the head of


the Guli The mines used have been mainly
Soviet-supphed AMD-500 and AMD-1000
magnelrc influence ground mines together
wlth a number oi conventional MO8 moored
contact mines. In order to force the minefields
at some ports, the Iranians have formed con-
voys with limited minesweeper support ahead
of them, but this has given the Iraqt navy the
opportunity to launch missile attacks by small
groups of 'Osa II' class fast attack craft fltted
wlth SS-N-Z 'Styx' missiles. Althougrh scoring a
number of successes, especially in the eariier
war years, these attacks have also resulted in
several losses of mrssile craft and supporting
vessels.

Left: One of the,lessons ffie /ra qis have learnt in


combatwith the lranians is thevalue of using
helicopters with combined arms units, as shown
by this view of a MilMi-Z4'Hind-D' gunship
helicopter overflying an lraqi mechanized unit on
the offensive.

reports have actually been received of it being


used in combat.
Apart from the land war, the Iraqrs have also
trred to bring pressure on lran economically by
attacking as much as possible of the civil mer-
chant shrp and tanker traffic heading to and
from the ports and oil terminals in the northern
end of the Persian Gu1f. Using French-built
AM,39 Exocet anti-ship missiles launched from
Aerospatrale SA 321 Super Frelon helicopters
and from Dassault-Bregnret Super Etendard
and Mirage F. IEQS jet fighters, the Iraqi arr
force has managed to htt and damage a fair
number of ships but has not sunk many, One
reason for this comparative failure hes in the
fact that the Iranians are using barge-mounted
decoys to screen ships on passage and at
anchor. These missile attacks have been back-
ed by an Iraqi navy mining campaign in Iranian

Although the lranian air force is now almost totally


grounded because of lack of spares, a large
number of attack and transport helicopters of the
Iranian army are still flyable, promptinglraqi tank
crews to keepvigilantwith their 12.7-mm (0.5-in)
heavy machine-guns.
The Gulf War

As a counter to the Iraqi successes at sea arLci :' :ac.rr:d-,.,ihtch


Soviet-built T-54 T 55 T-62 and
as a Cirect warnrng to the Gulf States which are - - r 2 l!iETs are being renovated, at lran's
backing Iraq wrth money, the ]ranian atr iorce sc-e :a:--< rec,uild facility at Masjed-Soleiman,
has taken to periodlc attacks wlth its ltmr:ect ior fur:her :se against their ortgtnal owner,
resources against merchant ships and iankers South American allies
sailinq close to the coasts of Qatar and SaLrdi
Arabia, using unguided rockets and air-to-
surlace AGM-65A Maverick missiles, A num-
ber of shrps have been badly damaged rn the
attacks, and on one early occasion Saudt Ara-
bian air force McDonnell Douglas F 1.5 Eagles
intercepted two lranian Northrop F 5 Tiger lls
beiore they could attack a shlp and shot down
bolh with AIM 9L Srdewinders, No other 1n-
terceptions have been tried stnce then,
although US Air Force Boeing E 3A' Sentry
AWACS aircraft are continually watching the
air space of the region in con;unctron with the
Saudi air-defence radar network.
The actual allies of the combatants in the war
are illumrnating to say the 1east, Iran is aided by
Libya, Syria (the arch enemy of Iraq for many
years before the war broke out) and North
Korea Recently a hiqh'level lranian pollticat
mission also visited the People's Repubhc cf
China in order to buy relatlvely cheap surface-
to air misslles and combat aircraft Oddl-,'
enough, Chrna rs rn fact already supplytng ira:
via North Korea, whlch has apparently deli
vered Type 62 light tanks, Type 63 towed m;l:i-
ple rocket-launchers and Shenyang F-6 fal
mer' and Shenyang F-7 Frshbed' ftghters
iogether with a number ol locaily'built ru
Soviet-designed T-62 MBTs. These armoureci
vehicles have joined an already extensive pari

When Iranian artillery shell lraqi forward


positions, a counter-battery reply is initiated by
radar-guided 130-mm (5.12-in) M-46 field guns
The guns are also used to soften up lranian rear
positions during the limited offensives now
undertaken by the lraqi army.

tF
*;*",;#
.' :,j': 'rr..i -=
-€'
-e -. :-r
='
-:,, -&.,.
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-48
'+4-e*".-

F€
iirvr-zz multipte rocket-launcher Modern Multiple Rocket-Launchers
-'ie -6-round 22a-mm (8.66-in) BM-27
l'lP-- entered the active rnventory o1
':-: Sovret army in the mid-1970s and is
-:-:-i rn selected Category I moto-
:-zed rifle and tank division artillery
regrment rocket-launcher battalions,
and at battalion strengrth in the com-
btned arms army artillery brrgades In
the tank army the artrllery brigrade has
been replaced by an MRL reqiment of
three battahons with 72 BM-27s, white
at front level the system has been inte-
grated into the rocketlauncher bri-
qtade of the artillery division. The BM-
27 is designed to provide chemical, HE
and submunition (includinq anti-
personnel, incendiary and minelet)
supporting fire to flrst-echelon man-
oeuwe units during offensive and de-
fensive operations, The launcher com
prrses one layer of four tubes on two
layers of stx tubes, and is carrted on
the rear platform ofa ZIL- 135 B x 8 truck
chassis A rapid-reload system allows
a second ZIL-135 carrying 16 reload
rounds to transfer its load wtthin five Specification Lengthof rocket: 4 8 m (15.75 ft) The most recent Soviet rocket-
minutes, For firing four stabihzer jacks BM-27 Weight of rocket: 360 kg (793 7'lb.r launcher system to enter service is
have to be lowered, two at the rear and Combatweight:22750 kg (50,155 lb) Warhead types: HE-ira gmentation the 220-mm (8.66-in) 16-round BM-22
one on each side of the vehrcle. lt rs Crew: 6 chemrcal, submunition
believed that the system has also been mounted on the rear of the ZIL- 135
Chassis: ZIL-135 BxB truck Warheadweights: not known 8 x 8 truck chas sis. I n operational
exported rn lmited numbers to Syria Callbre'.22} mm (8. 66 in) Maximum range: 40 km (24,83 miles) characteristics it is very similar to the
for combat evaluation against Israel No. of launchertubes: t6 AmericanMLRS.

Brazilian multiple rocket-launcher systems


Since the early 1960s the Brazilians
have been developing MRL systems
both for the home and expofi markets.
The first was the FGT-I08RAI which s
currently used by the Brazilian army.
Brazilian marines and Iraq, It utilizes a
single-stage solid-propellant IOB-mm
(4.25-in) ca[bre rocket flred from a ]6-
round launcher which is mounted
either on the back of a tight 4x4 vehr-
cle or, more normally, on a two-
wheeled tratler, The crew consists of
four and a battery of these weapons
has four launchers.
The X2Al trailer used for the FGT-
l0B was also the basis for the next sys-
tem the 36-round SBAT-70 launcher,
This fires a modifled version of the
standard 70-mm (2.76-in) Avibras fold-
ing-fin aircraft rocket which can be
fitted with one of seven drfferent types
of warhead Although not operational
with the Brazilian army the SBAT-70
has been produced for several un-
identified export customers
Avrbras also adapted its 127-mm (5- The.X-4-l-is the largestof the BraziJian rockets, and is fired from the XLF-40 versionof the XIAI/XIA2
rn) calibre arr-to surface rocket rn the tank. Although at one time thought to be an operational system, it is no'i known to be used in arm"
series light
same way to produce the SBAT-127 trials.
eil iei.Zr"n
system for export. This utilizes a l2-rail
launcher for either trarier or vehicle
mounting, but has the choice of only
:wo drfferent-weight HE- This is theTectran 6x6 truck
:ragmentation warheads, The max- cfiassrsJaunci er for the SS-30 rocket.
-rnum range ts achreved at a launcher The modular design can be clearly
elevation of 47'. seen, with the four eight-round
These systems were foliowed by lau nch tu be co ntaine rs loc ate d
.wo eiperimental research rockets, within the firing platform on the
}e FGT X-20 and FGT X-40 ro imorove truck's rear deck.
-cng-range rocket technolog-y. thes"
-,';ere followed in
the early 1980s by a A typical battery is believed to com-
:equest to Avibras lrom a foreign coun prise from four to eight launchers with
:ry. beiieved to be lraq, to design a optional radar flre-control vehrcles
:iobrle MRL system. With the aid of The crew consists of three men, with
llazrlian army inputs this resulted in reloading undertaken from other
::e Astros II modular mobile MRL sys- trucks using module rocket pods. Iraq
.:m mounted on identical 10000-kg ordered 60 batteries of the Astros II
22 046-1b) Tectran 6xO truck chassis. and rs aiready using lhe system rn com-
-:-e three variants are the 32-round bat aqarnst Iran. Libya is also believed
S$30, the l6-round SS-40 and the four- to have ordered a few batteries, whrle
:,.-nd 55-60, which differ only in the the Brazilian army is known to be rn-
.'-: and weight ofthe rockets they fire. teresled.
Brazilian multiple rocket-launcher systems (continued)

Specifications
FGT-108
Combatweight:802 kg (1 768 lb)
Crew:4
Chassis: X2Al trailer
Calibre: 108 mm (4.25 tn)
No. ofrocket tubes: 16
Rocket lengrth: 0.97 m (3, iB ft)
Rocket weight: i7 kq (37,5 ]b)
Warhead tlpe: HL-fragme ntation
Warheadweight: 3 kq (6.6 lb)
Maximum range: 7 km (4.35 miles)

SBAT-70
combatweight: i000 kg (2,205 lb)
Crew:4
Chassis:X2Al trailer
Calibre:70 mm (2.76 in)
No. ofrockettubes:36
Rocket lenqth: not known
Rocket weight: 9 kg ( 19.84 lb)
Warheadtypes: HEAT HE-
rragrnenlatlon. HL-anti-rank/anii-
personnel, anti-personnel flechette,
smoke, practice
Warheadweight:4 kq (B,B lb)
Maximumrange: 7 5 km (4,66 miles)

SBAT-I27
Combat weight: not known The fire control systemtor the Astros II modular multiple rocket system can be the Swiss Contraves Fieldguard
Crew: 4 J-bandradar, wik a300-m (984.25-tt) to 20000-m (65616.8-ft) range. Itis used to
plotrocket traiectories and hence
Chassis: trailer or vehicle calculate the impact point.
Calibre: 127 mm (5 in)
No. oflauncher rails: 12 Rocket: SS-40
Rocket lenqth: not known Crew:3
Rocketweights:48/61 kq (105.8 lb/ Chassis: 10000-kq (22 l=3-l-i:) Tectran
134.5lb) 6x6 truck
Warhead type: HE-fraqmentatlon Calibre: lB0 mm (7.;r9 -:.,
Warhead weight s: 22/ 35 kg (48 5 / No. of launchtubes: ti
77.21b) Rocketlengrth: 4.2 n (-3 .: r)
Maximum ranges: 14 km/12.5 km (8.7/ Rocketweight: 152 kq':rr5 - lc)
7 77 miles) Maximum range: 35 k:: i2 . 75 mlles)
Warhead types: Ht. s :l r:.,:-.-t c n
Astros II
Rocket: SS-30 Rocket: SS-60
Crew: 3 Crew:3
Chassis: 10000-kq (22, 046Jb) Tectran Chassis: I 0000-kq (22. 146lb) Tectran Above: The relative sizes of the I 27'
6 x 6 truck 6x6 truck mm (S-rn) SS-30, the I Bj-mm (7.09-in)
Calibre: 300 mm (1 I B1 tn) Below: The 70-mm (2.76-in) SBAT-70 SS-40 and300-mm (11.8j,-in) 55-60
Calibre: 127 mm (5 in)
No. oflaunchtubes:32 No. oflaunchtubes:4 36 - tube trailer-mounted rocket- artillery rockets can be seen here.
Rocketiengrth: 5.6 m (18 37 ft) Iauncher system is based onthe The two larger rockets have ciuster
Rocket lengrth: 3.9 m ( 12.8 ft)
Rocket weisht: 68 kg (149.9 lb) Rocketweight: 595 kq (1,311.7 ]b) standard Auibras folding-fin aircralt munitionwarheads with dual effect
Maximumrange: 60 lm (37.28 mrles) rocl<et, and is carrently being offered anti- ar m ou r a n ti - pe r s onne I
Maximumranqre: 30 km (18.64mi]es)
Warheadtypes: HE Warhead types: HL. s:bmur.tlon on the export market. bomblets.

Above: Smallest of the Astros II


artillery rockets firedfrom the
Tectran 6x6 truck launcher is the
127-mm (1-in) calibre SS-30,which
has arangeof 30 km(18.75miles).4
totai of 32 launch tubes are fitted to
this configuralion of the launcher.

2208
Modern Multiple Rocket-Launchers
Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
-ire
Initrated as a feasibility study
concept definition phase of the
General Support Rocket System
in 1976

(GSRS) was contracted to f,ve different


-mx. After evaluation of these, Boeing
Aerospace and Vought Corporation
(now I:TV Aerospace and Defence
Company) were asked to compete in
the follow-on validation stage. At the
same time the system was drrected
towards a standard NATO weapon de-
sign, The trrals were held in 1979 and
early 1980, with the result that Vought
was chosen as the winner. In the same
year the GSRS title was changed to the
deflnitive Multiple Launch Rocket Sys-
tem (MLRS),
The flrst production battery of Self-
Propelled Launcher Loaders (SPLL),
based on the M2 IFV chassis, was deli-
vered to the US Army in 1982, with the
final inventory total due to be 333 by
the early 1990s The European natrons
that have decrded to procure the
MLRS are the UK (67 SPLLs), West
Germany (202 SPLLs), France (56
SPLLs), and ltaly (20 SPLLs), with the
Netherlands rndicating a requrrement
for 30 SPLLs for procurement when
funding permits, Most of the Ewopean
systems will be built in Europe by a
consortium of companies.
Each SPLL carnes I 2 rockers in two veloped by West Germany, allowrng a Specification Designed for all-terrain mobility, the
sr.x-round pods and can be selfloaded rocket ranqe of40 km (24 9 mrles): ihe MI.RS S elf -Pr
opelled L au ncher -L o ader
from a resupply vehicle within 10 mi- Phase Ill submunition model w'rtn s,r combat weight: 2519 i kg (55,536 ]b) (SPLL) is fitted with two pods oI six
nutes. Four warheads have or are in indrvidual active-radar termrnallr- Crew:3 227-mm (8.94-in) calibre rockets,
the process ofbeing developed for the gurded shaped-charge lree--.ii Chassis: M2IFV which can be rapidly replaced.
slngle-stage solid-propellant rocket, weapons allowing a rockei rar;= : Calibre: 227 mm (8,94 in)
These are the basic Phase I submuni- 42 km (26. 1 mrles): and a US onl .' --.-=- No. of launchertubes: 12 A Multiple Launch Rocket System
tion model with a range of about 30 kr mical warhead containrng appr:;-- Rocket length: 3.94 m ( 12,93 ft) (MLRS) vehicle fires one of its 227-
(18,6 mrles) carrying 644 M77 dual- imately 41,7 kg (92 ]b) of binarl,. ::r;e Rocket weight: 308 kg (679 lb) mm(8.94-in) rockets. Based on the
purpose shaped-charge blast- gas chemical agents. Warhead types: submunitiorr, M2 I nfantry F ighting Vehicle chassis,
fragmentation bomblets each Funher studres are bernl :--:+: chemical the MLRS has already been ordered
weighing 0.23 kg (0,51 lb) and capable out to see if lightweight three- :r s-!- Warheadweights: not known by the American, F rench, I talian,
of piercing some 100mm (3.94in) of round rocket pods based on le I'l-FS Maximum ranges: see text W est G erman and B ritish armies,
armour plate; the Phase II mine- design can be mounted :r :-::3 and is expected to be chosen by the
dispenser model, with 28 AT-2 para- mobrle chassrs rypes ior ;. i': '.:.= Dutch army to replace or
chute-retarded anti-tank mines de- new US Army iighrwer;"- : -.": - -.. s upp leme nt curr ent tu be artille ry.
,F,

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t:::llig-:r::'::::. :

!:r'-i " :-:l


Modern Multiple Rocket-L aunche rs
JAPAN

O] Type 67 multiple rocket-launcher


Developed in 1965 by a divrsion oi the whrch are used by the mechantzed
Nissan Motor Company Ltd the 307- and armoured brigades, More modern
mm (12.09-in) Type 67 MRI: entered systems to eventually replace the
sewice with the Japanese Ground Self- Type 67 and Type 75 are alreadY
Defence Force in 1968 The system under investigation, with the former
consists of a 4000-kg (B,BlB-lb) Htno Iikely to be mounted on a tracked
6x6 truck chassis fitted wlth two chassis to improve mobility over rough
launch rails for the Type 68 rocket. terrain
Another Hino 6xO truck acts as the
resupply vehicle and carrtes six re- Specification
load rounds, whrch are transferred to Type 67 MRL
the launcher by a hydraulic crane. Be- Combat weight: not known
fore firing three truck stabilzers have Crew:4-6
to be lowered to the ground, one on Chassis:4000 kg (B,B l8lb) Hino 6x 6
each side of the vehicle and one at the truck
rear The Type 67 is used by artillery Calibre:307 mm (12.09 in)
units and some 50 in-service systems No. of launchrails: 2
complement the simiiar number ol 15- Rocketlengrth:4 5 m(14 76 ft)
km (9.3-mile) l3O-mm (5,12-in) 30- Rocket weight: 573 kg ( 1,263,2 lb)
round Type 75 MRLs mounted on a Warhead type: HE-fragme nlation
denvative ofthe Type 73 tracked APC Warhead weight: not known
Maximum range: 28 km (17.4 miles)

Right : The two TTpe 6 I 307 -mm


AType 67 rockefiauncfterts seen tn ( 1 2.09-in) solid fuel rockets are seen
travelling orderwith twoTyPe 68 on the launch rails of a Hino 6x6
rockets in position on the launch truck-mountedType 67 launcher of
rails. Another Hino 6x6 truck fitted the J apanese Ground Self-Defence
with ahydraulic crane and carrying Foice. The rocket has a range of 28
six reload rounds ts used to resuppiy km(17.5 miles) andis fittedwith an
thevehicle. HEwarhead.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

RM-70 multiple rocket-launcher


First seen during 1972, the 122-mm sed) and, if required, a BZT dozet the Soviet army likely to be encountered in the sinqle-
(4.8-in) calrbre RM-70 MRL is an blade for preparing its own flre posi- TVro types of fin-stabiltzed rocket tube launcher used by gn-rerrilla forces
armoured version of the Czech Tatra tions and cleartng obstacles, The scale are fired, a short round with a range of throughout the world.
B13 BxB truck with the Soviet 4O-round of issue of the RM-70 is bne battalion of 11km (6,84 miles) and the standard
BM-21 launcher and a reload Pack of 18 launchers in lhree batterles per long round with a ranQie of 20.38 km Specification
40 rounds mounted to the rear of the Czech army tank and motorized rifle (12,66 miles). It is also possrble to fire RM-70
cab for rapid reloading. The vehrcle is division The RM-70 ts also known to the short round with an additional Combatweight:33700 kq (74,296 lb)
irtted with a central tyre pressure- be in service with the East German motor to increase the rangte to 17 km Crew:6
regmlatron system (to allow adjustment and Libyan armies and, It is believed, (10,56 mrles). However this version Chassis: 7900-kq (17,4 17lb) Tatra B 13

:o surte the type of terratn betnq cros- with selected Categtory I divisions of together with the short one are more B x B truck

.2)'2
FJ'l- 70 multiple rocket-launcher (continued) Modern Multiple Rocket-Launchers
C:lihre: 122 mm (4,8-in)
]ic. of launcher tubes: 40
Rocket lengths: standard 3. 23 m
- - 6 ft), andshort 1.91 m (6.27 ft)
Rocket weights: standard 77 kg
-09.75 1b), andshort45.B kg
-00 97 rb)
.
Warhead types: HE-fragrmentation
,:cendiary, smoke, chemical
Warheadweight 19.4 kq (42.77 lb)
Maximum ranges: standard 20, 3B krn
.r2.66miles)
andshort II km(6.84
:lles)
The Czechoslovakian army has
adopted its ownversion of the
slandardSovjet I 22-mm (4.8 -in)
multiple rocket launcher system
kr'own as the RM -7 0. the m aj or
difference being that the new version
has a complete 41-round reload pack
ofrockets to speed up reloading.

t YUGOSLAT -
riIJ Yugoslav multiple rocket-launchers
-re Yugoslav army uses :,', : -.-- ., ::-<as approximately two mir*.e: Calibre: 128 mm (5 04 rn)
i5.04-in) MRL -:= :--: -" ',',::r- usingt the reload pack.
' -8-mm
r,red M-63 Plaman ani :.= -: ^:, - -:e M-63 is normally iound ri, i:a :
No. of launcher tubes:32
Lengrth ofrocket:2.6 m (B 53 ft) The 1 2 8 -mm (5.0 4-in) M- 6 3 p laman
:cunted 32-round YMRL-32 Oga:.' .:.-. ::'lree ba ertes. e6 r',',-.-.-_ -_ Weight of rocket: 65 kq ( 143.3 ]b) multiple rocket launcher is used in
-:e former was develor : I .:. -:: :' _ t-::-rers. whrle the YMRL .i2 -:::-:,: Warhead type: HE-fragmentation battalions of three batteries. each
---. a -: ::les o. s:: t e: .:l:: _ .. : . Warhead weight: 20 kg (44 tb) with four launchers, to suppott
Maximum range: 20 km ( 12.43 mrles) Yu go s I av i a n i nf antry u ni ts.

The YMRL-32 (a NATO desLg:-: _::.


ol rhe olfici"l Yi: ..t...
.:- rne absence
r-srgnatron) was oevelopeo -. =
=arly 1970s and is based or .:.=
:-i,P2220BDS 6xO truck fltted .n:: =
:--tound iaunche" and a roload p=:,'
-: :2 rounds on rhe rear plarform. T-=
:::ket fired by this system rs of a ne -,','- YLTRI-32
:r type, 2.6m (B.53ft) long 65kg Combarweight: .=::-:-:=r _:_-,,._
-43 3lb) in weight with a maxLmur '.22:i-'-c Although supplied with many weapons by the Soviet Ilnion, yugoslavia chose
:=age ZAkm (12,43 miles) and ai Crew; i:
::rse of 20km to deuelop the YMRL 32 Oganji 128-mm (5.04-in) multipte rocket launcher on
:E-fragmentation warhead weighing Chassis the FAP 2220BDS 6x4 truckchassis asifssfandard seE-propelled system.ltis
kq (44ib),
:-ko (44 lb). Reloading the tubes
Reloarlinc of lhe frhes 202CBS6x6.r:k
202lBc used by the army's armoured and mechanizedunits.
frBiggerBangfor
fhe Russiqns?
The Soviet multiple rocket-launchers are relatively cheap,
siiile and, abaveall, numerous.This enables them todeliver
Z:i fririJiittu i"tige'"t iii,
inich witl probablv inctude-to-xic-
blood agents likeiydrogen cyanide' By contrast, theUSMLRS
rs a soplisfi cated desigi, too expensive ta be bought in
quantity by NATC armies.
-.e definitron of mult ple rocket-launchers IMRLs) rs given by the Soviets, who
.u,itllt tf',"u ur" u Coiie.t,u" fire system which can serve to annih late enemy
.';;
": ;il ;r;;;;;i;;;l"nt'ui'o'iJ ln both the offensive and defensrve srtua-
fno- .Ltniurd Souet *a"ti-e VRL was tne BM-l3 wnicn was give' tre
'l32 mrn
. . 1d*e'l.,aryusha by 1Le troops. ln s was a 9 kr e {5 b9 m le) range
t"j-i"i *firrij tvttut mounteo on the back of a lorry and fired'1arrange- 6 HE-
.:uq*nniitlon roikets from eight l-shaped rails in an over-and-under
...".i nfif-,",jgiif."g obrofut", the BM-,13 remains in front-line service with
, ;- a;;;.;no io be st ti n JSe oy 1ne Sov,ets as a t'l n;ng svste*
: :c-ei-laun:ncrs 's"kno*n
are viewed ov rhe Sov'ets as a suop e-ent 19. 1ne^" tube
-, t ono i" the 'l 95Os
,l40 tney
sn,lcneo Irom 1Le -e 'Jl'vo t s -ole BM 13 lo the
ro -c"ed'lr+atdvso^-
"iu.
,-ncneltubeso' Lne -m i5 e ^t BV(9 l4"erer
,- inO uttu uuels the 1 2-round 240-mm 45- n) caiibre I r -r<rn (6 8-mile) range
:.,l .ii,n'"o,n rir.o uiO tro^Led vel-.cte va'.or5 .\os 1 ooucad in l^e.aIe
f

-)tOs
"ilir"u.r, both systems were supplemented b; the arce icut- round 200-mm
- ei-;1 .utnr." g\,'l-D jo rr., t^ a range o' 20; - 2 t ; -; a^o by lne evel
rn- 9 8l mricaliore BVD-2: -'
:':;i".s lg
*.orncl zsO n erc^e.s9^oj
^o 'I-ge
^. 3\: 1 arro BN/-24
6m Botn o 'nese. iogether r.r,''
"onwards t-u
.,tt"n-'rt.-*"t"'eii
replaced from 1964 at praciicail'v ali levels by the
.';;-;;";;; +dt'ouno 122mm (4 8 in) callbr-e Blvl 2i
rr''th a range of ?fie ,sovjets use their MRLs as addjfiona j tlre sup_p ort systems to back up the
:C :g trlf Z.O6 miles). Aithcuqn a smaller-calrbre focKel ina' is predecessors' more convention:al tube artiJlery. A baltation of BM-? I s can deliver mare - - -

-..l"-SM-Zitorn,li.infactlong;rrangedthanaJlbartheB\il 2: ;nd scertainly exlrlosjyes rn on e salvo than a battalion o{ artitlery rtring continuoustry for hal{
rcre oo,,n,ertul lhan the main t+O-hm calibre rocket ir 'acl each 122-mm aihour.
..it"tiir u giuaier explos ve puncr than a 122 mn howitzer sr-,ell slnce.rt does
n"uA1f.', jsneli's tiircf casinq and hence can carry more ercicsive Lrke..ail The political muscle of Westernndusttyseems toprevenf the development of
"t
,,nt"tp".uw toCket des gns itls of the single-stage solid frei i"ce wrih a'fin a cheap but effective system in the Sovietstyle. TheMRtrSsee n here is httle
,:rioliiu,iiriutontvrr6t -e'i^spopo--ta'rei{irng"o^ . c''n'rch better-than theBM-27, yetfar costlier, so itcannot be used in tke iarge
iiiiiiii"iaeato reatize its true potential'
,; nelical grooves to ;n pa n s ow rdi€ o' soi^

::".:.

.::1.

't:t'

.,,,.i-:. .t:.l:t:ii
trVlod.ern Muttiple Roeket-Launc hers

--e Soviets then siandardlzed on --=


-_l mm calibre as thetr rnain rocket
.ce,producing.anur,lerof differentia,---:3tformstocarrytt.Theyhaveonly
'rst
abandoned it w ti ;rrroductlon o' .-- -6-round 220-mrn (B 66-rn) BM-27
.. ilarangeo{o,e 4- "- 24.gmie, . : - gnorco.nrra-dlevels{loprsy j€,
: -oport ror t-? Ooe.ar onal Ma- _. ..-. Croups) n lne form o' HF-
-dqmentation s.b:'-- t,on andc"F^ ,-reads.
Surprisingly, oi the NATO nations :;-::: agarnst the Warsaw Pact the oniy
cou ntries whtch have endeavoured ic : -, , i: iheir own M R L suooort are West
Gerrany. Spa n, France ano lta'. - -:se of the rarter 1wo tqe svstems
....-': -:l
ended up on the export market and crdered bythose countries'armies. lt
,.::-::ct,
needed the American-inspired \,1irS and the realization that what the
Scviets had been saying'or .e. , .')_s was in'act t"ue, to brng these
countries and a number of otre",--l --:':.bers to purchase such systems.

In the Soviet arsenal theMRL has found an important place in the offensive
chemical warfare scenarjos, where a single battery cin deliver a latger
quantity ofpersistent ar nan-persisfenl agentin a sftorlerspace of time than
.an more canventianal tube artillery.

The moclern appraach to MRL design by many counfres rs to pracluce a basic


modular design sucfi as LheBra zilianAstros fi, seen here firin-qan SS-60
:ccket. whereby the number of launc,her tubes a nd eren ilte tipe of rockets
.--red can be yaried.
I
{

t
I

iiffii *ortiple rocket launcher


Work on the lsraeli 290-mm (11.42-in) and placed on a special frame bY the Chassis: Centurion MBT
medium artillery rocket began in 1965 truck's crane, The Centurion then posi- Calibre:290 mm (11,42 in)
and the system entered service tn the tions itself and hydraulically lifts the No. oflaunchertubes:4
1970s as a four-round frame launcher frame to the same height as the launch Rocket lengrth: 5,45 m ( 17,88 ft)
mounted on a Sherman tank chassis, tubes and slides the rockets into the Rocket weisht: 600 ks ( 1,322,8 lb)
Used in combat dunng the l9B2 'Peace tubes This entire operation takes only Warhead types: HE-fragmentation,
for Galilee' Israeli invasion of Lebanon l0 minules, the Centurion operations submunition
this Israel Military Industries MRL ts being controlled by only one man, The Warheadweight:320 kg (705,5 lb)
now beinq mounted on converted warhead used is of the HE- Maximumrange: 25 km (15.5 miles)
Centurion MBT chassis tn a new four- fragmentation type although submum-
round tube launcher arranQlement. tion types are known to have been de- The originalversion ofthe Israel
The Centuion has a crew of four, who veloped and used in combat aqainst Military Industries 290-mm ( I L42-in)
take cover within the vehrcle for Syrian air-defence systems. M edium Ar till eryft ockef Syslem rs
firings. A full salvo takes less than 10 seen mounted on a Sherman tank
seconds to be flred, the launch vehicle Specification cfiassisin a four-round frame rack.
then movinq to a prearranged location IMIMRL T he curr ent ver sion employ s
for reloading from a supply truck, The Combatweight: 50800 kg (111,995 lb) cylindrical counter-launcher tubes
reloads are first lowered to the ground Crew:4 on a Centurion MBT chassis.

SOI]TH AFRICA

Valkiri multiple rocket-launcher


Development of the 127-mm (5-in) Val- SAMIL truck chassis with overhead
kiri started in 1977 as a counter to the canopy rails so as to make it appear to
Soviet 122-mm (4.8-in) BM-21 MRLs be just a normal truck when travelling.
and other long-range artillery pteces A second S-ton truck with 48 reload
in sewice with neighbouring African rounds is assigned to each Valkiri. The
countries, The first systems entered full load of 24 rounds can be fired in 24
service in late 1981 with the South Afri- seconds, reloadinqr taking about 10 mi
can army, and are deployed with artil- nutes. The solid-propellant rocket is
lery reglments in batteries of eight fitted with an HE-foagrmentation war-
launchers that are tasked either to head filled with some 3,500 steel balls
work on their own or with more con- to give a lethal area of some 1500 m2
ventional tube artillery to attack area (16,146 sq ft). The rangte can be varied
targets such as gmerrilla camps, troop from a minimum of B kn (5 miles) to a
or artillery concentrations, and soft- maximum of 22km (13.67 miles) de-
skrnned vehicle convoys. The system pending upon which spoiler rings are
consists of a Z4-round launcher fitted to the rocket body.
mounted on the rear hull of a 4x4

Above: The highly mobile Valkiri is ideally suited for the South African
mechanized cioss-border raids against SWAPO gruerrilla bases and Angolan
army units deep within AngoLa itself .

Below:Overhead canopy rails arefitted to theValkirilauncher inorder to


camouflage thevehicle to appear as anormalSouthAfricanArmySAM|L 20
4x4 light truck. With the canopy down it is almosf r'mpossib/e lo tell the
difference.

The launch signature of theValkiriis minimal. This


helps the system to avoid counter-battery fire from the
Iong-range Soviet-supplied artillery pieces belonging
to surrounding African states and guerrilla forces.

Specification
Va-lkiri
combatweight: 6440 kq(14, 198 ]b)
Crew: 2
Chassis: 2200-kq (4, B50lb) SAMIL 20
i x4 truck
Calibre: 127 mm (5 in)
No. of launchertr:bes: 24
Rocketlengrth: 2,68 m (8.79 ft)
Rocket weight: nct known
Warhead type: IIE-fo agmentation
Warhead weight: not known
Maximum range: 22 km ( 13, 67 mlles)

:?
EGYPT

Egyptian multiple rocket-launchers


lne Egyptran arms indLrstry produces
The Egr7ptr'a"rs use jo=_;-
copies of the Soviet 132-mm (5,2-in)
rocket for the army's elderly BM-13-16 made lZ-roundrxke:
Soviet systems and 122-mm (4,8-in) launchers on tirerea-l.of i{':ii
4 x 4 APCs to fue 80-rn= .'i. - i-
rockets for its BM-21 systems. It has
also reverse-enqineered the latter to in) D-3000 smokesczeen
produce a new 3O-round launcher rockets to hidemajor trrcp
and amour attacks.
mounted on aJapanese 2500-kg (5,512-
lb) Isuzu 6x6 truck chassts as well as
the more usual 4O-round version on a
Soviet 3500-ks (7,7 l6Jb) ZIL truck. The
former is very similar in appearance to
the North Korean BM- I I variant of the
BM-21, which is mounted on the same
chassis,
in addition to the reverse-
gngineered models two new systems
have also been desrgned and butlt fc:
the Egyptian army. These are the -22-
mm calibre Sakr-l8 and the \22-r:-.
calibre Sakr-3O MRLs. The former:^.
a range of l8krn (ll lB miles .:_: _.
built in 2l-round, 3O-rourii a:i =-
round versrons mounted cr. i:::-. ::.--
sis types. h utrhzes a 3.25-r_ .'- ::--'
long, 67-kg 1147.7-Ib) ue:;:. r::k:
hned wrth a 2l-kg (46.3-ll:; sj:.*:__-
tion warhead containing either 2E a:-:- Right : An E gWtian anny VAP - I A ligh t
personnel or 2l anti-tank bombles vehicle mounted 8a-mm (3.] 5-n)
The Sakr-3O has a ranqe of 3C la:: rocket launcher system wtth &e I2-
(lB 64 mrles) and flres rhrLe rlpes oi round launchereleyated to Lhefrlng
rocket which vary in length from 2.S m position. The l2-kg (26.6-lb) rocket
(B,2ft) to 3.16m (10,37ft). The lonsrest has a range of 8 lan (5 miles4.
weighs 63 kq (138.9Ib) and carries a
24.5ks (54-1b) warhead which deliv-
ers five antr-tank mines. The medium-
length round at 3. I m (10. 17 ft) weighs used rn the
61.5kq (135.6lb) and carries a sub-
munitron-dispensing 23-kg (50, 7-lb)
warhead with etther 28 antr-tank or 35
anti-personnel bomblets as payload,
The anti-tank bomblet is the same as
ihat used in the SAKR-]8, and can
pierce over B0 mm (3. 15 rn) of armour,
while the anti-personnel bomblets of
both systems are lethal to a radius of
15 m (49,2 ft) from the point of detona-
tion, The smallest round weiohs
36.5ks (124.6 lb) and has a basic li.5-
kq (38.6-lb) HE-fragmentation war- rocket fired in both cases rs the BO-mm Below : Walid APC s of the Egyptian
head. The increased range over the
!.1 l5 rn) cahbre l.5l m (4.95 ft) tons D- r^my p ar a d e t h r o u g h C a i r'o' C arrrL-:g
BM-2 I and SAKR- 18 systems has been 3000 whLch can iorm a smoke screen 1
l2-round rocket launchers. Theie '
achieved by using an improved ligrht- that lasts up to 15 minutes, A full 12- can fire a salvo of smoke rockets ta
-weight rocket motor and case
coupled round salvo from a Walid can form a crealea smokescreen up to I 00C
'rith a new composite bonded star- (l,094yards) long, whiih can tast =
1000-m (3 28 l-it) Iong smoke screen of -:
grain propellant instead of the stan- sufficienr thrckness and durarion to minutes in favourable wind
Card Soviet double-base grarned cover most actitivies. conditions.

i.*- _4ilr
Rockets inlebcnon to destroy the PalestineLiberationOrganiza-tion, 1982 rnvasion of Lebanon. The aur: c: :; :;-
In lgB2lsrael invadedLebanon eration was to eliminaie the PLO menace 3:l::
iiiiinaaociupied territory along theliraeliborder andperiodlcallrfite!salvges and for all from the region, However, tl a-=:
oi ioiieti at I srieli settlements. Iithe struggle that followed, rocket-Iaunchers of ended as a direct military conirontation ni::-
ine it O were used both to defend Beirut agiinst Israe| and to settle factionalbattles the armed flrrces of Syna and entailed an ad;-
rnside the war-torn Lebanese capital. ance on Beirut with the ruthless and muc:i-
escaping any possible retaliatory actlon A condemned bombardment of the city and ::s
Oriqrnally used by the Palestine Lrberation
Organizaiion (PLO) against Israeli settlements number of these 'Katyusha' frelds were disco- surroundings before the aim was accorn-
vered by the Israelis before the timer activated plished, The advance also allowed the Israelt
across the Jordan river and the Lebanese bor-
the rockets, army to use its own MRL systems (the 240-mn-v
der, Soviei- and Chinese-supplied 'Katyusha' g,45-1n modified BM-24 the 290-mm/114-in
rockets eventually precrpitated the long drawn Palestinianweapons Medium Artillery Rocket and the I6O-mm/6 3-
out 'Peace for Galilee' invasion of southern ln Liqht Artillery Rocket systems) to bombard
Lebanon rn late 1982, In the early years of the A-fter their occupation of the southern part of
Lebanon following their wrthdrawal from Jor- Paleitinian positions and fortifled villaqes and
cross-border bombardments the PLO used also Syrian troop and equipment concentra-
mainly srngle-round conversions of the 12}mm dan rn the post-1970 civil war period, the
(4 8-id) BM-21 launcher. The 22-kq (48 5-1b) Palestinians were able in the late 1970s and tions,
early 1980s to obtain vast shipments of weapon In the vicrnity of Betrut itsell the PLO used a
iube *as mounted on a 28-kg (6t 7-1b) trlpod, number ol 1oca1ly desrgned and built 122-mm
each component normally being manpacked svstems whrch included truck-mounted Sovtet
4b-round BM-21 and North Korean 30-round launcher systems, These included six- and
to the chosen launch site. The attackers then
reassembled the launcher and fired a few BM-l1 122-mm MRl,s, The increased mobtlity nine-round launchers taken from dismantled
and flrepower of these systems, together wlth BM-21 MRLs and mounied on the back of 4x4
rounds before packing up and moving on to hght trucks wrth stmple elevation and azimuth
another site or returning to their base This the use of well-concealed launch sites' allowed
particular system was backed qn bv 91n-q]e. a fuil salvo from a truck-mounted iauncher to be controls. They also modifled the 1Z-round
iound 140-mm (5 S-in) and 107-mm (4 2-in) fired against an israeli krbbutz within a minute Chinese-buitt 107-mm Type 63 launcher by
or so, The effect of the devastation caused and taking it oil its trailer and fitting it onto a pedes-
rockets which were fired from simple frame
cradles, These had the advantage over the the continuous sound and fury of the almost tal mount on the rear of the same light truck
nightly attacks on the Israell population centres models, These conversions allowed the PLO
tube launcher of the 122-mm system that a num-
can well be imagined, and thls PLO tactic units in Beirut to mount highly effective hit and
ber of them could be set up together on earth run attacks against Israeli positions from within
ramps, pointing rn the general direction of the forced the people living wlthrn 'Katyusha'
range of the border to spend each night in the labyrtnth of streets that comprise Moslem
targbt, ind then be wired into a central control
specrally consiructed communal air-raid shel- West Beirut. The more conventional Type 63
unit which could be fi.tted with a delayed-actton
ters for safety, Even so, casualties were high launcher was also used, but this was generally
timer, This ailowed the crew to disperse be- in statrc positrons which were well fortified
fore the rockets were fired, thus effectively enough to be one of the prrmary causes for the

Following their occupation of southern Lebanon,


Multiple rocket-launchers were a favourite PLO the PLO obtained substantial quantities of rocket
weapon for bombarding Israel, and when the artiltery, including BM-2 I truck-mounted I 22-mm
Israilis drove the PLO into Beirut they were (4.8-in) MRLS.The PLO employed awidevariety of
{requently in action against both the Israelis and rockets for cross-border attacks, often using timed
their Christian allies. After the PLO evacuated firing devices to avoid retribution'
Beirut their heavy fell into a variety of
greedyhands'; rocket-launchers
niilifias'
The PLO's'mobrle artillery' aiso comprised
iarge numbers of lght 4x4 trucks fitted wlth
14,5-mm (0 57-1n) single ZPU-1, twin ZPU-2 and
guadruple ZPU-4 hear,ry anti-aircraft machrne-
gnrns and a smaller number of heavter 6xO
trucks and BTR-152 wheeled APCs carrying a
twln 23-mm ZU-23 auiomatic anti-aircraft can-
non mounted on the rear for use tn the ground- :e"*'
to-ground role as well as their more normal
air-defence duties. There were also a number

w
of ex-Syrian army armoured vehicles, inciud,
ing T-34 medrum tanks with the 85-mm (3.35-in)
gun, T-54 and T-55 matn battle tanks with 100-
mm (3 94-1n) suns BRDM-2 armoured cars and
a small number of early model ZSU-23-4 Shrlka'
self-propelled antt-atrcraft gmn vehrcles, which
were used in the street fighting, The tactics
adopted by the PLO and frlendly Moslem fac-
tions of continually moving the heavy weapons
alter launching short sharp attacks ensured that
the Israelis could never win a total ground vic-
tory in Beirut, and forced the Israelis into the
massive use ol their overwhelming flrepower,
in the form of arr and artillery strikes on an
almost continuous basis to suppress the fire
tncomrng from various parts of the crty and to batt.e. F:::-'. :-=: s=-.-;r: ,'.eeks of combat Beirut: a multi-storey battlefield that deties all
reduce their own military casualties as far as +L^ T--^^
LIle lsliru- j^
.
.. : - :j ,- ': -:'.afJ lVhen the PLO
. ,- international attempts at peacemaking. The
possible. This response, as in most previous negol L-.: : t:- : . -: : *-: - --,-. -- . ..-. nEhters from the multitude of warring factions are armed to the
wars where large-sca1e urban fighting has Ct:',' .'.--:- i-:. l:i:-= ;.: i:=rklnO Of Lhe PLO teeth and equally intransigent; the struggle
taken place, resulted in considerable casual- ro-e ::, .-i:- :,:-- - :i--::r continues in a seemingly endless exchange of car
bombs, artillery duels and rocketattacks.
ties amongst the innocent civilian populatior- :::r-*ns that followed the
:--: :- -.:--=.:-'; -:-,:-=
-,
and in mounting external and internal pcli::ca, -s:::-- ::::-'.- ::- -:_-1:-aged to ahenate and Thus after three years of occupying souther"
pressures on the Israeli goverrr-e:-. -: ::.i ::_: :--:= =:- :. =:- -.:r:: .nemy for itself in the Lebanon because of such acts the circle hai
-:-_ :: -:-= :-a;::-:"s ard deeply religious been compieted; the potential for another in';a-
A 1 22-mm (4.8-in) rocket leaves the BM- 2 ]
!:-.-= 1.1::-::- :::--::-:n There followed a sion along similar lines to 1982, with an e\.€:-
launcher with a deafening roar af tle beErinnlrgof !:r:r*- a'--.- -:_ ;:==-a campaign, rncluding greater risk of full-scale war with Syria re-
--:-:
a 4j-round s alvo. As soon as tle /a-st rocket tras -: :: s-:-:= :-] i:cnbers against military turned, but with a different yet even mcre
beenfired, thePLO menwillleap into the ca_b anc :-:--.':-,': -:::-:-: -:-: lsraelis to withdraw to dangerous enemy than the PLO,
vanish into the maze of streets. The Israe[ -:::=- aa r:-:: : - -:-= :-:-.rnting casualty list rn a
-,'.-','.'--.:-.= ::: =
response fended to be equally indiscriminate - :-la:Se mOst ]SfaeliS Wefe The tragedy ofLebanon continues with this
aerial bombing, which failed to totally suppress ::lr-:*r-l: .- ::-: -l an apparent 'no-win' formerly prosperous country splintered into
the P,,LQ attacks. s-:-.:-_::- warring factions. There is no effective
-,4::+*--:.-.. .
l:#*,.:r, ;.9eia<.
-,
l:: --=' -.',--:-i:.-,';a1 was marked by the government;only one lawwhich overrides all
1#:, :ls. :: l<:: ::=l< :,*. ':' Israelt northeln settle- other considerations - the law of the gun.
i:-3:1: s ':a3 -:La-^??2 ]:i-:/asion, when two rounds
.a:-i=: :.::--=:s--.- :ear an Israeh kibbutz,

Many 107-mm (4.2 I -in) Tlpe 63 towed rocket-


launchers ate in use with the various militia and
gruenilla gtoups in Lebanon, as shown by this view
of a Moslem militiaman of theAssadbngade
cleaning a locally m odified vehicle-mounted
variant during a lull in the fighting on the Green
Line in Beirut.
ro ttp" 63 and Type 81 l07-mm multiple rocket-launchers
Developed in the late 1950s as the re- Below: The 107-mm (4.2 I -in)I 2-round
placement for the 102-mm (4,02-in) s1{- 'Ilpe 63 rocket launcher is in
iound Type 50 MRL the 107-mm (4 21- widespread use with the PeoPle's
Ln) svstem is issued on the scale of [B LiberationArmy. The rxket can also
launihers per Chtnese inlantry drvi- be fired on its own and is carrentlY
sion, being used by the Afghanistan
The basic Type 63 l2-round laun- Muiahideen Werrillas.
cher has three rows offour barrels and
1s mounted on a rubberlyred sPlit-
pole trailer carrtage, For finng the
wheels are removed and the launcher
rs supported by tlvo legs at the front
and the two tralls at the rear, the latter
being fitted with spades, A lighter
model is used by the Chinese airborne
and mountain infantry units 3nd this
can be dtsmantled into loads for car-
rraoe bv men or horses.
f. 'n.t.ase
mobilitv the launcher
can also be mounted on the rear of a
4 x 4 truck fitted with an enlarged cab
Above: TYW 8 I k the Chinese
to accommodate the crew of four and desigmation for a TYPe 63 l2-round
12 reload rounds, The launcher can
MRL mounted on a4x4 truckwith an
either be remote-flred from the vehi- enlarged cab which accommodates
cle or dismounted for use on its normal the crew and 12 reloads.
towing carriage. Thts variant ts known
as the Tlpe 8L nians aetainst the lraqis, and the Combatweight:602 kq (1,327 lb)
Palestinians aqainst the Israelts and Crew:4 Warhead types: HE-fragrmentation,
The lO7-mm systems have seen ex- incendiary
tensive combat sewice throughout the Shi ites, to name but a few. Both HE and Chassis: two-wheeled trailer
incendiary rounds have been used Calibre: 107 mm (4,21 in) Warhead weights: B. 33 kg ( 18, 36 lb)
world, the Chinese having used them and7.54 kq(16.62 lb)
against the Vietnamese, the Viet- No. of launcher tubes: I 2
Rocket lengrth: 0,84 m (2,76 ft) Maximumranges:8,5 km (5,28 miles)
namese agalnst the Americans, Specification
kg(41.45 ]b) and 7 9 km (4.9 miles)
Chinese and KamPucheans, the Ira- Type 63 Rocketweight: 1B.B

ru ttp" 63 and Type 70 l30-mm multiple rocket-launchers TheWpeT0Multiple


The Chrnese have indigenouslY de- Combatweight: 13400 kg (29,542 lb)
Crew: RocketSystemisof 130'
signed and burlt two types of 19{ube 6
mm (5. 1 2 -in) calibre and is
130-mm (5,12-in) calibre MRL systems, Chassis: TVpe YW53 I tracked APC
Calibre: 130 mm (5.12 Ln) the trackedvehicle-
lhe Twe 63 mounted on the rear Plat- mountedversionof the
form bj the 25oo-kq (5 511-lb) Nl-230 No. of launchtubes: 19
Rocket length: 1.05 m (3 45 ft) Tlpe 63 system. The
4 x 4 truck in two variants, and the Type vehjcie used js theTYPe
70 mounted on the toP of the TYPe Rocketweight:32.8 kq (72.3 lb)
Warhead type: HE-fu aqme ntation YW53] APC.
YM531 tracked APC, to replace elder-
ly Soviet systems, The major differ- Warheadweight: 14.7 kq (32.4 lb)
ence in the truck-mounted variants is Maximumrange: i0.37 kn(6 44 miles)
that the second has a covered crew
cabin, All lhree types are grouped inlo
batteries of sx launchers, the truck-
mounted systems sewinq ln the artil-
lery's MRI regiments and the APC
systems sewing rn the armoured divi
sions, The launch tubes are arranged
in two rows, with a top one of 10 over a
Iower row oi ntne. Both systems are m
production and have seen combat use
wrth the Chinese and Vietnamese
armies duringrtheir short border war in
1979, The North Korean armY ts also
known to have the truck-mounted sys-
tem in sewice, and maY well be build-
ing it under licence tn North Korean
state arsenals as part of that country's
arms-building proQlramme,
Specification
Type 70
Below:TheTTpe carries 19 130-mm (5'12-in) rockettubes onaYMS3l APC
70
clrassrs, and ia the bor der clashe s with V ietnam' N or th
w action in I I 7 9 dur ing
Koreahas adopted the truck-mounted system, theType 63.

Above:Asix-launcher batteryof Type70 130-mm (5'12-in) MRLs opensfire


';;;i";; F;;;ii;-iiieiation Armi exercise' The Tvpe 70 MRLs serve with
iiioiiea aivisions, and the truck-mounted modelswith the infantry'
IUCA
tT--
Armed Forces of the World

ChinaPa',
The People's Liberation Army
-::-:- :^ Ain'y lras formed
The Chinese People s
: -^:-l^ i can irace its ori-
officially in June 1946
gins back to 1 Aug-s: -:2- ,'.-er \'iao Zedong
(l\,4ao Tse-tung) was r 3::l - ::--and of the 1st
Worker'sand Peasar: s =et ---u Eien soitwas 1

October 1949 before :^: l-


-:se tre:oie's Republic
formally took oveT c.^:-: := - :-o China and the
-:
People's Liberation A:- , :--
:^arged from being
a revolutionary force -.: -a-:-ai army.
'
The term People's -?.'.-..'. *:rv tPLA) encom-
passes not only tne C- ^es: 3'-\'but also the air
force and the navy. ,^ ^-*:'13 :erms the army is
by far the largest force. ^a! .g 3n estimated man-
power strength of 3,i60,3i3 :crcared with the alr
force's 490,000 and tne "arv s 362.000. Collectively
the PLA is a defens,ve 'c''ce tsat cannot be ex
pected to make other tnan locai mi itary excursions
for the simple fact that :ts n.lrnerical strength is not
matched by the transport capacity that any large-
scale move would requrre.
The army of the PLA is unlike any other conven-
tional army, for not only does it have a purely milltary
defensive f unction but several others as well. These
functions include acting ds a massive organlzed
labour force that takes part every year in the gather- as purely politically-rno:r 3:el --: 'act :s that main- TheChinese army has longreliedon
ing of harvests and the implementation of major civil land China is now r : s:a:e :' seace it has not overwhelming numbers, but in recentyeats
eng.ineering projects such as rail- and road-building known forcent-'es. 3-::^: -r: :i s attemptrng to Beijing has recogmized thatChina has fallen
behind in weapons technology. After falling out
and the provision of irrigation and canal schemes, modernize and reca ':-: -: ' a-3es o: over 60 years of
with theSovietUnion in 1960, China has had to
often on a massive scale. The PLA acts in a political constant war. ln tr s :-: t-: ^:s a caramount role. develop her ownweapons andnow offers some,
sense also: PLA members are constantly used as a Despite its mass .: s.':-gir n manpower, the like this Type 54- I SP 122-mm howitzer, for export.
method of educating the Chinese masses in current PLA must st lr ce ':3:-:=: as scmewhat lacking in
A combined arms force of T-59 tanks and Tlpe 53l,
politlcal thought, and internally the PLA constantly weapon strero:- .^: -a= n. both armoured and
APCs storm across a river during recent PLA
imparts the Communist party llne to its own mem- logistic. As','. :: -: ::=: l. v a small proportion of exercrses. TheT-|9 is a Chinese copy of theSoviet
bers. Education is another PLAactivity, and itcannot the PLA's s:'s- j:- - '-*:-'ed, and the vast major- T-54 and still equips the bulkof PLA armoured
be overemphasized that the PLA has economic and ^, nr hc .-- . :'-e3 with little more than forces, despite the steady introduction of theT-69.
political functions as well as the normal milltary smali a'-s ",: a-: =::-a: ates this more than the an up-gunned version which China is also
ones. Not all of this extra activity must be regarded PLA r :- ..- * -.'= ,', - .^ s currently doing its best exporting to lraq.

L-:liil::l1e

ffit1::li@,,

ea,.li-:if
IE Pn55
Armed Forces of the World China

to modernize and re-equrp Chinese forces not only Militias. Numericallythe most irnportant is the Com- plies, just as it did in the years before 1945. In pea::
wlth modern weapons but with modern tactrcs. The mon Militia, consisting of all members ol the popula- the PLA relies on the iocal Military Region or D,s-.''::
Chinese have no wish to repeat the dreadf ul casual- tion of milrtary age who are not serving with the for dayto-day supplies of all kinds.
ties they suffered as a result of their 'human wave' armed forces. lt has no military function other than Even allowing for the above, the sheer numbe;'s
attacks ln Korea during the early 1 950s. They also acting as a labour force and as a souTce of recruits, of weapons used by the PLA is rather overwhel--
have no wish to renew the Soviet inf luence that was and is unarmed. Then comes the Basic Militia, ing. Estimates put the nurnbers of armoured \:- -
dominant during the '1950s and f rom which much of which numbers well over 20 million and receives a cles as high as '1 1,450 of all types. These nun ::--
their current armoury and operational philosophy few days of military training each year but it is not tend to conceal that most of them are obso,e--;
oriqinates. At present the PLA is undergoing a leng- normally armed. ln time of war the Basic Militia ex-Soviet designs or Chinese copies of those safi'e
thy period of internal reorganization in which the would be expected to provide logistic assistance to Soviet AFVs. Current types in service include T-54s
former centralized organization of the PLA's main the regular forces and form local-defence units, and their Chinese versions (the Type 59 and Type
combat strength is being passed to the military re- possibly for guerrilla operations. Then comes the 69). Numbers of ex-Soviet T-34s and lS-2s are still
gions. Armed Militia, which is between five and seven used, malnlv for training, China is now making a
The PLA is divrded into the Main Force, the Local million strong. As its'name tmplies, it is armed and all determined effort to produce indigenous AFVs, and
Forces, the Militia and a larqe number of other units members are provided with basic military training. already ln service are Type 62 and Type 63 light
including Border Guards, garrison units and various Some are orqanized into local air-defence units. tanks plus Type 53 APCs. However, large numbers
forms of support troops. These forces are currentlY Away from the purely military functions of the of ex-soviet BR-l52 and BTR-40/50/60 APCs still
organ,zed nlo a ser es of 11 M litary Beg:ons, 27 PLA there are a number of railway and other trans- remain in use.
Military Districts, one independent M litary District port troops who operate the national communica- ln artillery the Chinese have become more self-
and three Garrison Commands, but lt is this struc- tions network even in times of peace. ln a similar sufficient, but most of their gun park still displays
ture that is currently being reorganized, so some fashion there are well over 50 independent engineer weapons of Soviet origin. The largest calibre ln use
alterat ons mignt well emerge in t me. regiments and other units with a military function, on any scale is 152 mm (6 in), and no larger support
The Main Force constitutes the main combat but which normally carry out civil projects. There is weapons are rn servrce other than multiple rocket-
strength of the PLA. lt is deployed in 35 armies (a even a Production and Construction Corps orga- launchers of various sizes. Other artillery include
PLA army may be regarded as an overstrength nized into corps and divisions in their own right. calibres oI 122 mm (4.8 in), 100 mm (3.93 in) and
western corps). each army usually having three divi- These come under PLA control and are among the 85 mm (3.34 in). Anti-tank guns are still used on a
sions (lnfantry), one artillery regiment and support units which organize and carry out factory and other large scale as are vaiious forms of anti-atrcraft gun,
troops. ln addition some armies have added to their production activitres that range from food produc- one estimate places the number of air-def ence gu ns
strength an independent tank regiment, an extra tion to weapons rnanufacture. as high as 15,000. Heavy mortars with calibres of
artillery regiment or an air-defence regiment. An 160 mm and '1 20 mm (6.3 in and 4.12 in) are used to
lndication of the operational imbalance that exists Equipment bolster the artillery, as are well over 4,500 multiple
within the PLA can be seen in the fact that divided By any modern standard, the PLA is seriously artillery rocket-launchers of all calrbres.
among the armles are 1 1B infantry divisions but only under equipped. Only the Main Force divisions have lnfantryweapons are produced in China on a large
13 armoured divisions. any armoured units or heavy arttllery support, and scale. The basic service rif le is the Type 56, a copy of
The Local Forces come under the control of the there rs an overail lack of heavy support weapons. the Soviet f .62-mm (0.3-in) AK-47 assault rif le. The
Military Districts. a Military Drstr ct usually following The overalL shortage of military transport of all kinds rest of the infantry weapon inventory is also Soviet
the boundaries of the local province. The Local is a serious operational restraint and is only partially in origin or design, for the most part, and ranges
Forces are regulars, and although they consist of overcome by a reliance on the personal fitness of from light machine-guns to general-purpose
some 73 divisions for border and internal defence the individual soldier, who is trained to make long- machrne-guns, but of late some local designs of
(plus three garrison divisions) and about '140 inde- distance route marches almost every week. This sub-machine guns and pistols have been issued.
pendent regiments, they have no armoured forma- transport shortage imposes serious logistic prob- lnfantry weapons are the main weapons of the PLA
tions and only llmited light artillery. lems f or the PLA, whlch thus trarns constantly to live and militias, but only the Armed Militia is armed and
To this formal regular strength must be added the off the country and to rely on its enemies for sup- then only with weapons that have been passed as
obsolete by the rest of the PLA. Even so the scale of
issue is such that not every member of the Armed
Militia has a firearm. Many get only grenades, and
they are expected to improvise their own land
mines.

People's Liberation Army order of


battle
Main Force
35 armies each with three infantry divisions, one
artillery regiment and support troops f ormed f rom:
.18
1 infantry divisions
13 armoured divisions
17 field artillery divlsions
16 air-de'ence artillery div:s ons
20 signal and chemicalwarfare regtments
21 independent support regiments
50 independent eng neer regirrents

Local Forces
70 infantry divisions f or local/border def ence
3 garrison divisions
1 40 independent regiments

Other Forces
Public Security Forces
People's Armed Police
Production and Construction Corps

Early model T-59s /acked main armament


stabilization and infr a-red night vision equipment,
but more recent models made good these
deficiencies and somehave been seenwithwhatis
probably a laser rangefinder.