Two Soviet Rocket launching system which changed the fate of Chinese artillery are BM-21 Grad & Smerch. Read a brief about those systems before continuing to Chinese Rocket artillery.
BM-21 (Grad)The BM-21 "Grad" is a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher. China captured a Russian BM-21s in the 1979 DURING Sino-Vietnamese War. After reverse engineering, it entered service with the PLA in 1982 as type-81.
Chinese variants of BM-21
China reportedly received a small number of the Russian Smerch 9K58 300 mm, 12-tube multiple launch rocket system and its ammunition in 1997. The Smerch 9K58 system is capable of firing a ‘smart’ submunition that has a dual-colour infrared sensors for terminal guidance, which enables the rocket to achieve accuracies previously difficult to achieve with unguided rockets of that range. The submunition is fitted with kinetic energy fragment warheads which are said to be able to penetrate 70mm of armour at an angle of 30° to the normal.Purchase of Smerch turned out to be a blessing for Chinese artillery systems. The experience and technology provided by the Smerch contributed to Chinese artillery technology in a big way.
According to media reports, manufacturers from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus successively provided relevant technology and information including launching system, trajectory control system, rocket and multiple warheads of BM-30 Smerch to China in the early 1990s. Currently China not using Smerch systems, they using indigenous systems based on Smerch technology.
Chinese Rocket Launchers
The Type 63 multiple rocket launchers is a towed, 12-tube, 107mm rocket launcher based on the Soviet BM-12 MRS. Type 63 was developed in the late 1950's and accepted for service in 1963.
Most Type 63s have been retired from active service, but a small number is still in service with the specialized formations such as mountain infantry units and Special Forces detachments. In service Type-63s are upgraded. The Type 63 is a very basic system that consists of three rows of four launch tubes which are mounted on a lightweight two wheel carriage. Traverse and elevation is manual. Aiming is done in a similar way as with a mortar. Type 63 launchers have been fitted on a variety of vehicles. The effective range is 8.5km. Longer range rockets have been developed. All 12 rounds can be fired in 7 to 9 seconds. The Type 63 is mainly used against infantry positions. The Type 63 is towed by a light truck, which also carries the crew and additional ammunition. Due to its low weight the Type 63 can be towed manually over short distances. Many Type 63 launchers have been fitted on light trucks in order to increase the mobility even further.
The weapon fires electrically initiated 107mm rockets fitted with HE-Fragmentation warheads. The Type 63-2 ammunition introduced in 1975 is an 18.8kg rocket containing an 8.3kg TNT warhead, which can produce a 12.5m radius blast when detonated. The maximum firing range is 8.5km. The PLA has also developed an incendiary rocket fitted with a warhead containing White Phosphorous (WP) and Aluminium. Other types of rockets include HE anti-tank (HE-AT) and chaff dispensing round. In service Type-63 can fire HE, HE-Fragmentation warhead, HE-incendiary and Jamming rockets.
This rocket system is operated by a crew of 5. It takes around 2 minutes to prepare this artillery system for firing from travelling order. The Type 63 is reloaded manually by the crew. Reloading takes only 3 minutes. Type 63 is fitted with an optical sight for day light operations.
Max range : 9Km
Fire Power : 12 Rockets in 6-9 Seconds
In Service : Unknown numbers
Type 81: is an improved truck-mounted variant
Type 63-I: A pack model developed for use by airborne and mountain units weigh 281 kg in the firing position and can be dismantled into manpack loads. Type 63-I is 136 kg lighter than the basic model.
Type 85: Type 85 is a single-tube launcher, based on a tripod.
Haseb or Fadjr-1: Iranian version
Taka: Sudan version
RO 107: South African version
VTT-323: North Korean version
H-12: is a Vietnamese version.
RL812/TLC: is an Egyptian version.
T-107: is a Turkish version.
Type 63 multiple rocket launcher of 130mm: Type 63 130mm MBRL has 19 tubes arranged in two lines of nine and ten tubes.
The PHZ89 (also known as Type 89) is the 122mm, 40-tube self-propelled multiple rocket launcher (MRL) that entered the PLA service in 1990. It was developed in the mid 1980's to fulfill the need for a multiple rocket launcher that could keep up with main battle tanks in the field. This is an improved variant of the Type 81 MRL system. It was adopted by the PLA in 1989.
The PHZ89 is mounted on the Type 321 utility tracked chassis developed from the Type 83 152mm self-propelled gun-howitzer. At the rear of this vehicle a turret platform with standard 40 round 122mm rocket launcher is fitted. At the side of this platform there a small box that houses the gunner and anti-aircraft machinegun. In front of the launcher a box with second ammunition load is located, which significantly increases the reload speed. A second load of 40 missiles can be reloaded in only a few minutes.
The PLA issued a number of requirements for the improvement of the design, including automated launcher operation and reloading, the addition of a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG), reduced noise and collective anti-NBT system.
PZH89 fires 122mm spin stabilized rockets of the same pattern as used in the Soviet BM-21 Grad and a wide variety of warheads is available. The launcher holds 40 rockets that can be ripple fired in 20 seconds. The standard rockets have a range of 20 km and models with a range of 30 and 40 km have been developed. These rockets carry a high explosive (HE). A 12.7mm QJC88 heavy machine gun is mounted for self-defense. Firing accuracy is attained by a computerized fire-control system, which can receive target information automatically from the command vehicle, or by manual input. The fire-control computer then calculates the ballistic and adjusts according to the vehicle’s slope and gradient before launch.
The vehicle is powered by a WR-4B 520hp liquid-cooled diesel. The chassis has six unevenly spaced road wheels and three track support rollers. The system has a combat weight of 30t and a maximum road speed of 55km/h. The system is operated by a crew of five men, who are protected by limited armour protection and a centralised NBC-protection system.
Max Range : 40Km
Fire Power : 40 Rockets in 20 Seconds
In Service : ~100 (200-300 as per some other sources)
PHL-96 is visually similar to BM-30 missile. It is based on the Wanshan WS-2400 8 x 8 cross country truck. However, the PHL-03 and BM-30 do not share interchangeable parts, so they are distinct missiles despite their similar appearance. The Chinese vehicle utilizes a German-designed diesel engine, transmission and hydraulics, manufactured by Wanshan in China, following a technology transfer from ZF Friedrichshafen. The program actually begun in the late 1990s. The program went through major redesign changes when the BM-30 Smerch was purchased. Although dubbed by many Chinese as a guided self-propelled multiple rocket launching system (SPMRLS), the PHL96 is not strictly speaking a guided SPMRLS because, technically, none of rockets are guided - the guidance is actually achieved via the sub-munitions, such as the 9M55K1 cluster munition. Only a very limited number of the PHL96 entered Chinese service because its successor, the PHL03, entered service shortly after.
PHL-96 was used as a basis to develop Chinas own MLRS version with the designation PHL-03, which retained the original Russian configuration with 12 rocket tubes.
While the Chinese and Russian rockets are similar in dimensions, according to their Chinese manufacturers the Chinese rockets are different internally and incompatible and therefore cannot be substituted for their Russian counterparts.
Max Range : 150Km?
Fire Power : Full Salvo in 40S?
In Service : Very Few
The PHL03 is a highly digitized PHL96 with a computerized fire control system (FCS) incorporating GPS/GLONASS, similar to that of the Type 90A SPMRL, with a four-man crew (compared with three for the BM-30/PHL96), which entered service around 2004-2005.
The main role of this artillery rocket system is to engage remote strategic targets, such as airfields, command centers, support facilities, air defense batteries, and large concentrations of troops and so on.
The PHL03 launch vehicle is based on a 8X8 wheeled chassis, with twelve launch tubes mounted on it. The tubes are arranged as two blocks of four with a single row of four above. The launcher has a crew of four and is capable of single or salvo firing. A transloader based on the same wheeled chassis carries an additional 12 rockets. The transloader provides for mechanised loading of the launch vehicle, by means of a hydraulic crane mounted on the vehicle.
The PHL03 fires 300mm rocket powered by a solid propellant (possibly HTTB) rocket motor. 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. The rockets are unguided solid propellant artillery rockets with wrap around folding fins. 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 based on a Wanshan WS2400 special wheeled chassis with 8x8 configuration. This military vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel off-road.
The PHL03 is an unarmored system that is vulnerable to any kind of direct and indirect fire. Its long range allows it to engage enemy systems beyond their maximum range, operating in relative safety.
The system is beginning to be replaced by the more modular and newer PHL-16.
Max Range : 150kms
Fire Power : Full salvo in 38S
CEP :< 30?
In Service : 175
AR2: Export designation of the PHL03 in service with the Chinese army with identical configuration. It has been exported to Morocco.
Extended Range PHL-03: in October 2020 Chinese state-owned media has reported that the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Tibet Military District is deploying what it claims to be a new, longer-range, and more accurate rocket with modified PHL-03 multiple rocket launchers (MRLs). The new rocket, the range of which claims is 30 km greater than that of the standard rockets used by the system. Given that the unguided BRC4, BRE2 and the guided Fire Dragon 140A 300 mm rockets used by the 8×8 PHL-03 all have a maximum range of about 130 km, the information provided by CCTV suggests that the new guided rocket – the designation of which was not revealed – has a maximum range of about 160 km.
The exterior of the PHL-03 appears not to have undergone any major modifications but the system now features a “higher level of information and intelligence”: a possible indication that it has been fitted with an improved fire-control suite.
A 100 was a Chinese attempt to create a powerful rocket system, similar to a Russian Smerch. In 1997 China received a small number of Soviet Smerch multiple launch artillery rocket systems. At the time the Smerch was the most powerful system of its type in the world. So eventually Chinese created an indigenous system, which was modeled after the Smerch. The A100 reportedly appeared in 2002.
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 A-100 rocket is fitted with a simple guidance system for greater accuracy. The A100 was trialed by the Chinese army; however a PHL-03 was selected instead, which was a close copy of the Smerch. The A100 was proposed for export customers. Its improved version has been exported to Pakistan and Tanzania. Pakistan procured a battalion of A100E systems (36 launchers). It was purchased in response to India's acquisition of the Russian 9A52-2T Smerch (variant of the original Smerch). The A-100 fires 300 mm solid propellant rockets, with a firing range of 40~100 km.
A100E/AR-1A: A100E is an improved version of the A100. It has been exported to Pakistan, and possibly, Tanzania. In 2019, Pakistan's inter service public relations released an official statement regarding the indigenously developed A-100 and its induction as part of its Multiple Launch Rocket System of the artillery corps.
AR-1: AR-1 is an improved version of A-100. AR-1 is an 8*8 series first appeared in 2009. This is actually the first model of the Chinese versions of the BM-30 SPMRL.
A200: A200 is a further development of the A100
A300: A300 is a further development of the A200.
The AR1A is an improved version fitted a with re-arranged rocket tubes of the A-100 and the Russian Smerch system. FSUE Splav (Tula) took part in the development of the rocket projectile for this Chinese system. AR1A 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 MLRS, based on a Russian Smerch technology. The AR1A is being proposed for export customers. Recently it was reported that Armenia ordered unspecified number of these artillery rocket systems.
AR1A 300 mm MRLS can execute fire missions normally by battalion or battery as its basic firing unit, yet it can also execute fire missions autonomously by single launcher with advanced meteorological survey systems, command & control system and support system, effective fire assault and neutralization of various ground targets can be implemented.
The AR-1 and AR1A are the same the difference is that the AR1 has 2 x 4 300mm vs the AR1A 2 x 5 300mm and few more changes like the entire launcher unit can be replaced in-the-field by an accompanying support vehicle.
Max Range : 130Km
Fire Power : 10 Rounds/60S
CEP : 30m?
In Service : Not Inducted
A200 is a further development of the A100. It carries a total of 8 rockets in 2 pods. These rockets have a range of up to 200 km. The arrangement of A200 is different from A100 in that each launching box consists of three rows of launching tubes, three on the top and bottom respectively, and two in the middle. A200 rockets also have additional forward control surfaces that were not present on A100 rockets. The A200 is an export name. 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. Chinese army showed no interest to the A200.
The rockets have a maximum range of 200 km. Minimum range is 50 km. Rockets have inertial guidance with satellite navigation update. CEP is around 30 meters; it adopts GNSS/INS integrated system for the whole course. It employs warhead-body separation, maneuvering flight and other high-tech. The launching vehicle that compatible with A100 can perform autonomous positioning and orientating as well as high speed maneuvering. The system adopts the rocket loading cubicle integrated hoisting type which could speed up the re-loading process. The A200 rockets carry warheads that weight around 100-150 kg. Three types of warheads are available.
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. Also it is nuclear capable. This artillery system is operated by a crew of 3 to 5 men, depending on the vehicle it is based on. It can use Chinese Taian TA5450, Wanshan WS2400 or similar 8x8 heavy high mobility chassis, which has a payload capacity of around 20 t.
Max range : 200Km
CEP : 30m
Fire Power : 8 rounds / 50S
In Service : Not inducted
The A-300 is a 300 mm, 10-tube multiple rocket launcher developed by Beijing-based China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT, also known as 1st Space Academy) for the Chinese PLA ground forces. The A-300 is one of the latest Chinese artillery rocket systems. Actually the A300 is an export name. The A300 is a two-stage artillery rocket designed based on the current A200 hybrid rocket system. The new system has increased range of fire. It is being proposed for export customers. In 2015 it has been reported that Chinese army will purchase this system. The A300 is designed to attack important area targets well behind the enemy lines. Due to its range and powerful warhead the A300 might be one of the deadliest artillery rocket systems in the world.
The launcher vehicle carries 2 pods with four 300 mm rockets each. It is a derivative of Weishi Rockets WS-1 with simple cascade terminal inertial guidance. It has been reported that the A300 is a modular system, which can also use pods of A200 and possibly other calibers. The A300 has a range of 120-290km.Currently this Chinese artillery rocket system has the longest range in the world. The A300 rocket carries a 150 kg warhead. It is believed that several types of warheads are available. The rocket has a larger engine which can boost an unpowered second stage with vanes for lift and control fins directed by an inertial measuring unit-navigation satellite guidance system. CEP is about 30 to 45 meters. So these rockets are very accurate even at maximum range. It has been reported that these rockets maneuver in flight in order to overcome air defenses.
A-300 Launcher is capable of single or salvo firing. It takes 50 seconds to launch a full salvo of 8 rockets. It is claimed that each rocket can be targeted individually. So the A300 can hit up to 8 different targets simultaneously. This artillery system is operated by a crew of 5, including commander, driver and operators. Rockets can be launched directly from the cab, or remotely from the vehicle, by using a remote control unit.
Launcher of the A300 system is based on Taian TA5450 8x8 heavy high mobility vehicle. This vehicle has a fullt-time all wheel drive and is fitted with a central tyre inflation system. It has a good cross-country mobility and can operate off-road.
This artillery rocket system is well suited for shoot-and-scoot missions. From travelling it takes only a couple of minutes to prepare the launcher vehicle for launch. Once the rockets are fired vehicle can briefly redeploy in order to avoid counter-battery fire. Also it might be a hard nut for the enemy to intercept due to its extremely long range.
Each A300 launcher is supported by an associated reloading vehicle. It is based on the same 8x8 high mobility chassis, is fitted with a hydraulic crane and carries a full set of reload rockets. Reloading usually takes place away from the firing position in order to avoid counter-battery fire.
A battery of A300 launchers is also supported by command post vehicle, based on 6x6 high mobility chassis. However in case of emergency each launcher vehicle can operate autonomously.
Max Range : 290km
CEP : 30-45m
Rate of Fire : 8 Rockets/ 50s
In Service : Unknown
In 2011 AR-3 MLRS was revealed. The AR-3 is similar to the AR1A, but it is even more powerful. It carries a total of 8 launch tubes with 370 mm guided rockets. These have a range of up to 220 km. The AR3 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) can fire both 370 mm and 300 mm rockets by using launching-transporting container system.
Based on an 8x8 chassis, it is able to fire guided and unguided rockets. Designed for deployment at battalion or battery level, the AR3 can also be operated as a stand-alone single launcher. Reaction time is 20 seconds at battalion level or 15 seconds at battery level. According to NORINCO, it features an advanced meteorological survey system, command-and-control system and support system, as well as a high degree of automation. In order to improve the accuracy, the system is equipped with AR3 computer fire control system, as well as ground-based navigation system. This allows the MLRS to take a position, open fire and leave the position much faster and therefore increase the chances of survival in a possible counter-battery fire. АR-3 has a circular error probable of less than 50 meters.
With guided rockets and simple controlled rockets, the AR3 MLRS features long range, high firing accuracy, great battlefield coverage, mass and violent fire-power, high lethality ammunition, as well as highly automatic operation, short fire reaction time, high mobility and high survivability. By accurately suppressing and eliminating enemy strong-point, area targets and concentrated targets with instantaneous and intensive fire-power, AR3 370 mm / 300 mm MLRS provides significant campaign and tactical values.
The AR3 MLRS can execute fire missions normally by battalion or battery as its basic firing unit, yet it can also execute fir missions autonomously by single launcher. With advanced meteorological survey system, command & control system and support system, effective fire assault and neutralization of various ground targets can be implemented.
AR-3, can even switch to the 750-millimeter Fire Dragon 480 tactical ballistic missile and TL-7B anti-ship missile, the report said.
AR3 vehicle accessories include: a weapons of mass destruction protection system, fire control system, night vision devices, GPS positioning system, air conditioning system and tire pressure regulation system. So far it received no production orders.
Max Range : 220Km
Fire Power : Full salvo in 60S
CEP : 50m
In Service : Not inducted
The PHL-16 is a truck-mounted multiple rocket launcher (MRL) system developed by the People's Republic of China. It is based on the AR-3 MRL developed by Norinco. The PHL-16 is one of the most capable rocket systems in the world. The main role of the PHL-16 is to engage remote strategic targets, such as airfields, command centers, support facilities, air defense batteries, concentrations of troops and vehicles and so on. The PHL-16 was unveiled during China's National Day parade in 2019. The PHL16 is in service with the Chinese army since around 2016.
Unlike the earlier PHL-03, which is loaded with a fixed type of ammunition, the new PHL-16 has two modularized launch cells, which can carry different types of ammunition. The PHL16 and AR3 launch long range artillery rockets that use a solid propellant and follow a ballistic arc. Each launch cell can carry either five 300 mm rockets or four 370 mm rockets. The system is capable of firing eight 370 mm rockets a distance of 350 km or two 750 mm ballistic missiles 500 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 missiles. Satellite guidance allows for a CEP of less than 30 m at maximum range.
This rocket system is operated by a crew of 5. The rockets or missiles can be launched without leaving the cabin. Preparation for launch takes around 5 minutes. Rockets and missiles can be also launched remotely from the vehicle by using remote control unit. Once the rockets are launched the launcher vehicle can leave its firing position within 1 minute. Brief redeployment time allows avoiding counter battery fire.
The vehicle is based on the 45 ton WS2400 8x8 special wheeled vehicle chassis. This high mobility vehicle has 8x8 configuration and can travel over difficult terrain. The same wheeled chassis is used for most recent Chinese large-caliber multiple launch rocket systems and various missile systems. Vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel over all kinds of rough terrain and unimproved surfaces. It can operate in various climatic conditions, ranging from -20°C to +55°C. The diesel engine provides a maximum road speed of 60 km/h. Operational range on roads is 650 km.
Vehicle has an armored cab which provides some degree of protection for the crew from small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Launcher vehicles can operate in battery, battalion, or autonomously. A typical battery includes launcher vehicles, reloading vehicles, command post vehicle, meteorological survey vehicle and other associated support vehicles.
Each launcher vehicle is supported by a dedicated reloading vehicle. It is based on a similar 8x8 heavy high mobility chassis and is fitted with a crane. It carries 2 pods with reload pods. It takes around 20 minutes to replace empty pods. Reloading usually takes place remotely from firing position in order to avoid counter-battery fire.
While the PHL16 is an expensive system, it has the ability to strike targets that would otherwise require more expensive tactical missiles or air strikes.
Max Range : 350Km with Rockets, 500Km with Ballistic Missile
CEP : 30m
Rate of Fire : Full salvo under 60S
In service : Unknown (probably less than 100)
The Type 81 is a self-propelled 122 mm multiple rocket launcher (SPMRL.It is a variant of the Soviet BM-21 Grad. The Type 81 was the first in a family of Chinese self-propelled 122 mm rocket launchers.
The Type 81 features a 40 round 122mm rocket launcher that is directly copied from the BM-21 Grad design. The launcher is placed on the rear of the indigenous SX2150 heavy duty 6x6 truck. Of the 7 crew members four are seated in the cab and the other three on the resupply vehicle or on a folding bench between the cab and the launcher. In the firing position the windows are covered by metal blast shields. This artillery rocket system is reloaded manually.
The spin-stabilized rocket fired by the Type 81 may be armed with a high explosive warhead or a steel fragmentation warhead. The launcher holds 40 rockets that can be ripple fired in 20 seconds. Additional rockets are carried on resupply vehicles and it takes 7 men 8 to 10 minutes to reload. The standard rockets have a range of 20 km and models with a range of 30 and 40 km have been developed, although it is unknown if the Type 81 can use them or if they are restricted to newer designs. Rockets can be launched from the inside of the driver's cab or remotely from the vehicle.
Max range : 30km
Fire Power : 40roundsin 20S
CEP : 90m?
In Service : 550 PHL 81+ PHL-90
Type 81: PHL-81. The Type 81 mounts a 40-round launcher on an OQ261 Honyan 6X6 truck chassis.
Type 90A (PHL-90A)
Type 90B: Type 90B is an upgrade of the Type 90A. The 40-round launchers are mounted on a Beifang Benchi 2629 6×6 trucks. The system adds WZ551 reconnaissance vehicles, and the command vehicle has improved command and fire control systems.
PHL-11: PHL-11 is a wheeled multiple rocket launch system based on export-orientated SR-4. People's Liberation Army adopted SR-4 in 2011, the vehicle received designation PHL-11. It shares the same modular 122 mm rocket pod configuration on that of SR-4.
PHZ-11: PHZ-11 shares the same modular 122 mm rocket pod configuration on SR-4 and PHL-11; however the support platform is based on the tracked chassis of PLZ-05 and PGZ-09.
PR50: Part of the WS export series. The vehicle has fire power increased by 25% to 50 round from the original 40 rounds. Incorporate features of WS SPMRL series so that the operating cost and overall life cycle cost for both. Also incorporated is a feature originated in Type 90B, which is the adoption of rockets of different ranges, so PR50 has a wide range of 20 km to 40 km. The Chinese name for PR50 SPMRL is Sha Chen Bao (沙尘暴), meaning Sandstorm, and the system made its public debut in 2006 at the 6th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition.
WS-22: WS-22 is a guided version of 122 mm PR50 SPMRL with simple cascade inertial terminal guidance, with standard range of 45 km.
SR-4: The SR-4 can trace its lineage to the Type 81, but featuring 50 tubes arranged into two pods mounted on a wheeled chassis. The range is 50 km. The weapon system is derived from the modular naval rocket launcher on the PLA Navy Chinese frigate Changsha (516) The wheeled chassis is based on Shaanxi SX2190KA.
SR-5: SR-5 MRL is a self-propelled MLS which first made its public debut in 2012 Eurosatory, similar to the HIMARS. SR-5 is a fully computerized and digitized system with modular design concept to enable both the 122 mm rocket series and 220 mm rocket series to be adopted on a single chassis, using the same fire control and support systems, hence greatly reduces the operational cost. The SR-5 has been exported to Algeria, Bahrain and Venezuela.
SR-7: The SR-7 is a scaled-down variant, with either one pod of twenty 122 mm rockets or six 220 mm rockets. The maximum range is 50 km for the 122 mm rocket and 70 km for the 220 mm rocket.
The Type 82 Artillery is a 30-tube 130 mm multiple rocket. It is replacing the 19 tube 130 mm multiple rocket launcher of the Type 70 (on an YW 531C) and Type 63 (on a 4X4 truck). The Type 82 multiple launch rocket system was developed by NORINCO in the early 1980s. It replaced the ageing Type 63 130 mm artillery rocket system in service with Chinese army. Both the Type 63 and Type 82 systems fire the same rockets.
In Type-82 30 tubes arranged in three lines of ten tubes. All the tubes are parallel to each other and mounted co-axially on a cradle. Ammunition used with the MBRL is in the form of Rocket which consists of one piece. Warhead is attached with rocket motor. A fixed amount of propellant is contained in the rocket motor. The rocket is stabilized with a slow spin.
Only a limited number of these rocket systems were built and it was replaced with more capable Type 81. Some of them are still in service with reserve forces.
Max Range : 10 Km
Fire Power : Full salvo in 17S
In Service : ~100 in reserve
Type-83 is an improved variant of Type 81. The Type 83 mounts a 24-round launcher on a 6x6 truck chassis.
The Type 83 mounted on a tracked vehicle chasis, has four tubes arranged in a single line. The modernised and upgraded WM-80 Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher, mounted on the rear of a TA-550 8X8 cross-country truck chassis, has eight tubes arranged in two lines of four tubes. The WM-80 features a reload time of 5 to 8 minutes, and a digital ballistic computer which provides positioning and fire direction for an accuracy of less than 2% of the range to the target. The Type 83 273mm rocket is a fin stabilized high explosive rocket. The rocket is olive drab with black markings, and weighs 484 kilograms
Norinco has updated the WM-80. The updated system was designated WM-120. Compared with the basic version, the new MLRS range was increased by 40 kilometers to 120 kilometers.
Max range : 80Km
Rate of Fire : Full salvo in 30S?
In Service : unknown
This is an improved variant of the original Type 81 MRL system. It was adopted by the PLA in 1989. The Type 89 mounts a type of 40-round box launcher on the armored tracked chassis of the Type 83 self-propelled gun. The rockets may be fired in 20 seconds. The launcher is mounted at the rear with a reload pack in front. The rocket launcher of the PHZ89 was developed from the Type 81. The PHZ89 is mounted on the Type 321 utility tracked chassis developed from the Type 83 152mm self-propelled gun-howitzer.
The PLA issued a number of requirements for the improvement of the design, including automated launcher operation and reloading, the addition of a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG), reduced noise and collective anti-NBT system. A prototype rolled out in February 1987. The PHZ-89 entered service within the PLA in 1999
Type 89 can fire 40 122mm rockets in 20 seconds. The launcher is at the back of the vehicle, and the reload pack at front. A similar configuration is featured in a previously undisclosed and un-designated 40-round system that was apparently seen in public for the first time at the October 1999 parade in Beijing celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. This system is mounted on a variant of the Type 85 Armored Personnel Carrier, also known as YW 531H and the M-1967 APC, which is the 5 road wheel successor to the YW 531.
Ammunition used with the MBRL is in the form of a rocket which consists of one piece. Warhead is attached with rocket motor. A fixed amount of propellant is contained in the rocket motor. The rocket is stabilized with a slow spin. Chinese 122mm rockets are available with ranges of 20 km, 30 km, 40 km and 50 km each of which can be combined with different types of warheads (18-22kg) including Fuel-Air-Explosive (FAE), High-Explosive (HE), High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-frag) with 3,000 to 5,700 fragments.The vehicle has a crew of five-man and is powered by a diesel engine developing 520-hp and a top speed of 55 kilometers per hour. The maximum range is 450 kilometers.
Firing accuracy is attained by a computerised fire-control system which receives the information on its target (distance, location,) and the meteorological conditions (wind,) and thus calculates the ideal firing position. , which can receive target information automatically from the command vehicle, or by manual input. The fire-control computers then calculates the ballistic and adjust according to the vehicle’s slope and gradient before launch.
The PHZ89 122mm Multiple Rocket Launcher System can be reloaded by its automatic reloading system within 3 minutes. This reloading system was influenced by Czechoslovakian RM-70 MLRS. The Type 89 also can be reloaded manually.
Max Range : 50Km
Rate of Fire : Full salvo (40) in 20s
CEP : >30m?
In Service : ~300
The Type 90 is the second-generation truck-mounted 122mm 40-tube multiple launch rocket system developed by NORINCO in the mid-1990s as a successor to the Type 81 and Type 89 combat vehicles. The Type 90 has been promoted by NORINCO to the export market. It is currently in service with the People's Liberation Army of China and the Omani land forces
The Type 90 shares the 40-round launcher with PHZ-89. The biggest difference on the Type 90 is the reload pack carrying 40 spare rockets, which can reload the rocket launcher within 3 minutes after the first launch, providing additional firepower with quick turnarounds. The launcher is mounted on the improved North-Benz 2629 6X6 truck.
The Type 90 missiles could be fired with the Type 81 BM combat vehicle. The Type 90 is also supported by a large formation of ground equipment including a battery command truck, rocket reloading trucks, reconnaissance APC, meteorological radar, and maintenance vehicles. Greater firing accuracy is ensured by the use of a computerised fire-control system integrated with GPS on the improved Type 90B. The weapon system could deliver intensive fire-power over a distance of 40km within a very short period. The weapon was designed to engage large area targets such as armour formation, airport, weapon storages, etc. NORINCO has developed a range of warheads for different purposes.
The Type 90 fires 122mm fin-stabilized free rockets to a minimum range of 10~12km and a maximum range of 20~40km depending on the rocket type. The combination of spin- and fin-stabilization ensures closely grouped fire. The rocket can deliver High-Explosive (HE), High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), High-Explosive Incendiary (HEI), anti-tank/anti-personnel submunitions, and mind-laying warheads of 18.3~22kg at standard range, or 26~28kg at reduced range.
The electrically powered launcher has four rows of 10 tubes mounted above each other on a rotating cradle assembly. The launch tubes have an elevation range of 0° to 55° and azimuth range of -102° to +102°. The truck is equipped with two hydraulically operated stabilizers at rear which are lowered in preparation for the rocket launch.
The rocket launcher can be operated in manual, semi-automatic, or automatic modes. The electrical firing system fires the rockets in either single or in salvo with 0.5 seconds interval. The launcher can be operated inside the driver’s cab or remotely outside the vehicle. The reloading rack located in front of the launcher can load the launcher in under 3 minutes. The truck is equipped with a hydraulically operated foldable canvas cover, which covers the launcher and the reloading rack when the truck is in travelling mode.
The vehicle is fitted with slope and gradient sensors, launcher elevation and azimuth sensors, as well as GPS and computerized fire control system to ensure higher firing accuracy.
Max Range : 30Km
Fire Power : 20S for Full salvo
CEP : ?
In Service : 325 produced.
Type-90A (PHL-90A): The upgraded version of Type-90
Type-90B: The improved Type 90B was first revealed in 2004.
The upgraded version of Type-90. Artillery unit of the Type 90A combat vehicle is mounted on the modified mounting chassis of the Tiema XC2200 6×6 truck. In fact, this is a Chinese copy of the German 8-t truck Mercedes-Benz 2026. The combat vehicle has similar characteristics as the Type 90, except for the length (9700 mm), height (3200 mm), ford depth (700 mm) and turning radius (11 m). Type-90A able to fire unguided rockets, new computerized fire control, command post can lay and control Type 90A launchers units by remote control.
Improvement of the Type-90 A include the following
Type 90B is an upgrade of the Type 90A. The 122 mm Type 90B multiple launch rocket system is a mobile fire support system for the destruction of a variety of targets by means of multiple barrages of up to 40 rockets at a time. The Type 90B is able to be in combat position, to fire and leave its firing position in less than 7 minutes. The Chinese-made Type 90B 122mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) is fully operational with the Peruvian army. In 2013, Peru has ordered 27 Type 90B MLRSs to China that was delivered in 2015.
The electrically powered launcher has four rows of 10 tubes of 122mm mounted above each other on a rotating cradle assembly at the rear of a 6x6 truck chassis. The launch tubes have an elevation range of 0° to 55° and azimuth range of -102° to +102°. A hydraulically operated collapsible awning is mounted over the rear deck for use as protection and camouflage. The truck is equipped with two hydraulically operated stabilisers at rear which are lowered in firing position. The electrical firing system fires the rockets either singly or in a salvo with 0.5 second between rounds. Firing is accomplished either inside the driver's cab or remotely outside the vehicle. The automatic reloading system consists of elevator, rack and feeder with three modes of control. 40 rockets can be loaded in less than 3 minutes. The launcher is controlled by the computer through man/machine interaction.
The Type 90B MLRS fires 122mm fin-stabilized rockets and use a composite solid propellant. The rockets can reach a range from 20 to 40 km depending on the rocket type. These rockets can be equipped with the following warhead types: standard High Explosive (HE), High-efficiency HE containing steel balls for greater fragmentation effect, High-efficiency HE Incendiary (HEI), Cargo containing anti-personnel/anti-tank sub-munitions, Mine containing anti-tank mines. The rockets can also be launched by other 122 mm multiple rocket systems.
Type 90B is a modern design, mounting the launcher on the North-Benz 2629 truck, a 6 x 6 configuration vehicle. The truck is fitted with a forward control type cab. The Type 90B features an automatic operating and laying system which is composed of a mini-computer, a launcher direction finder/display, longitudinal and transversal slope and gradient sensors, launcher assembly elevation and traverse position sensors, and a special vehicle-launcher power interface. Greater accuracy is ensured by the installation of a new computerized fire control system which includes a GPS (Global Positioning System) and a north-seeking gyro. A communications link and interface to the battalion command vehicle is provided. The truck can run at a maximum speed of 85 km/h with a maximum road range of 800 km.
A typical Type 90B battalion would consist of one battalion command vehicle based on a North-Benz 1929 (4 x 4) chassis, three reconnaissance vehicles based on a WM551A 6x6 wheeled armoured personnel carrier, one meteorological radar, one mechanical maintenance vehicle, one electronic maintenance vehicle and three batteries, each of which has one battery command vehicle, six rocket launchers and six rocket resupply vehicles.
The electric firing system fires the unguided rockets, either separately or in a salvo with 0.5 seconds between rounds. The system comprises an electrical ignition device, remote release device and ignition contact and cables. Triggering can be done either from the driver's cab or remotely outside the vehicle.
The fin stabilized rockets used are of the 122mm caliber extended range compound, they use solid propellant and full details thereof are given in a separate entry. These rockets can be launched by multiple 122mm rocket systems from other countries such as those made by countries like Egypt and Russia. The automatic loading system consists of elevator, rack and feeder. The rocket loading can be done automatically, by button operation in the driver's cabin, or manually by external operations. The loading mechanism can be rotated 90 °. Automatic loading of the launcher takes less than 3 minutes. A rocket positioning system is monitored in the driver's cabin, the state of the weapons after loading or firing, after visualization of the firing camera.
Max range : 40Km
Rate of Fire : Full salvo in 20S
In Service : Unknown Numbers
PHL-11 is a wheeled multiple rocket launch system based on export-orientated SR-4. People's Liberation Army adopted SR-4 in 2011, the vehicle received designation PHL-11. It shares the same modular 122 mm rocket pod configuration on that of SR-4. In 2012 Thailand ordered 4 of these artillery rocket systems. These were delivered in 2013.
The main role of this artillery system is to engage area targets, such as concentration of troops and equipment, airfields, command posts, and other important targets.
Instead of a permanent package of guides, the design of the artillery unit includes replaceable transport and launching containers (TLC). Four rows of five tubular guides in each are configured as guides for each PIC. It fires 122 mm artillery rockets. These rockets were originally developed for the Soviet BM-21 Grad and are widely used around the world. Rockets with various warheads are available, including HE-FRAG, smoke, incendiary and illumination. Also there are cluster warheads with anti-tank or anti-personnel submunitions. Maximum range of fire with newly developed rockets is up to 50 km.
PHL-11 has a brief reaction and redeployment time. Similar artillery rocket systems are often used for shoot-and-scoot type attacks. Once all the rockets are launched the launcher vehicle leaves its firing position in order to avoid counter-battery fire.
The launcher is based on Shaanxi SX2190KA 6x6 heavy-duty military truck. This truck is in service with the Chinese army. Each launcher vehicle is escorted by associated reloading vehicle. It is based on Shaanxi 8x8 military truck and is fitted with a crane. It carries pods with reload rockets and reloads the launcher vehicles. It seems that in case of emergency the rocket pods can be reloaded manually by the crew. Reloading usually takes place remotely from firing position in order to avoid counter-battery fire. Normally launcher vehicles operate in batteries, however each vehicle can also operate autonomously. Transport and charging machines are used to transport the transport and charging containers. The recharging time of the combat vehicle is about 10 minutes.
The combat vehicle's fire control system has been modernized. In particular, it is reported that it is possible to select the type of ammunition used by voice command. When firing, the side windows of the chassis cab can be covered with folding armor shields
Two versions of projectiles equipped with a gas-dynamic pulsed trajectory correction system unit are known. The version of the guided missile with aerodynamic rudders, presented at AirShow China 2014, is made according to the "duck" scheme. To improve accuracy, the guided missile is supposedly equipped with a satellite navigation system.
Max Range : 50Km
Fire power : Full Salvo in 20S
CEP : 30m?
In Service : ~375
PHZ-11 is a 122mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) on tracked chassis. This is in service with the PLA, Western Theater Command. PHZ-11 shares the same modular 122 mm rocket pod configuration on PHL-11; however the support platform is based on the tracked chassis of PLZ-05 and PGZ-09.
The PHZ-11 could be operated by a crew of three including a driver, gunner, and commander, all of whom are seated in the fully enclosed cab at the front of the vehicle. This is protected against the firing of small arms and artillery shell fragments by aluminum armor. All the firing operations can be performed from inside of the crew cabin. The vehicle could be equipped with a land navigation system (LNS) and a computerized Fire-Control System (FCS), which allows for autonomous operation with target information being transmitted to the launcher from the battery command post.
The PHZ-11 is fitted with two pods of 20 launchers for 122mm rockets arranged in four rows of five tubes each mounted on a power operated turntable. After the rockets are fired, a dedicated reloading vehicle with a crane unloads the empty modules and places new ones directly on the mount. It can fire different types of unguided solid propellant 122 mm rockets including mine laying, fuel-air explosive, HE High Explosive, steel ball HE, and steel ball HE incendiary with a range from 15 km to 30 km.
The PHZ-11 needs only a few minutes to be ready to fire and carry out a fire mission and rapidly to come out of action. Once the 122 mm rockets have been fired the vehicle can rapidly move to another position to avoid counter-battery fire. The PZH-11 was developed based on a modular design offering the possibility to fire rockets of different calibers as the mounting points are common to rocket modules of different calibers including 220 mm and 300 mm.
Max Range : 30Km
Fire Power : Full salvo in 20S?
CEP : 20-30m?
In Service : ~100
SY-300 – strategic MLRS
SY-300 is a development of WS-2/3, with SY standing for Shen Ying (meaning Divine Eagle), designed after the 4th Academy and the 9th Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) were merged to form a new 4th Academy. It was first unveiled at the 2008 Zhuhai Airshow The SY-300 is described as a precision strike rocket system; canard guidance vanes can be seen near the nose of the rocket, and the missile is stated to have GPS/INS guidance
The main difference between the SY300 and its WS-2/3 predecessor is that for WS-2/3, the control section of the forward control surfaces and the warhead are integrated into a single unit, but they are separated in SY-300. This design difference enables the guidance system of SY300 to be rapidly changed in the field by soldiers, by simply replacing the guidance system with a dummy weight, when SY-300 needs to be used as an unguided rocket. Each vehicle can carry either six or twelve SY300 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.
SY-300 did not win the Chinese military's selection of a new generation of long-range rockets.
SY-400 – strategic MLRS
SY-400 is a further development of SY-300, that can carry either two short-range ballistic missiles BP-12A with range of 400 km or twelve 300 mm PHL-03 rockets. As a low cost alternative to more expensive ballistic missiles.
SY-400 first unveiled at the 2008 Zhuhai Airshow. The system is mainly intended for for export. Eight PHL-03 rockets are housed on a single launcher, four containers across and two deep or two ballistic missile on an 8 x 8 WS-2400 series. SY-400 Missiles are factory-fitted into these containers and can be stored for years and do not require additional maintenance. Missiles are launched vertically. The SY-400 can use different types of warheads such as HE, fragment, submunition and EMP payload. SY-400 TEL vehicle can switch between different caliber rockets, by carrying two 400km ranged BP-12A short ranged ballistic missiles, or 12 300mm PHL-03 heavy rockets.
The SY-400 is comparable to Russia’s Iskander-E SRBM. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army classifies the system as precision rocket artillery. SY-400 rocket uses mid body strakes, rear mounted fins and thrust vectoring to gain high maneuverability, just like a surface to air missile, to hit ground targets despite its high supersonic speed. The missile has a two way datalink between the missile and launch vehicle, and is guided by satellite and inertial navigation system. The missiles are fitted with GPS/INS guidance system. They are steered to the intended target in the initial flight phase by four control surfaces and stabilizing fins. Missile uses low lowering rate to extend the range. Multiple missiles can be aimed at different targets.
Each transport erector launch (TEL) vehicle can carry 8 SY-400 rockets, 10 TEL vehicles compose a battalion, along with fire control, scout and reloading vehicle. The multipurpose TELs can use the crane equipped reloading trucks to resupply quickly by winching in new rocket magazines.
Max Range : 400Km
CEP : 50M
Fire Power : ?
In Service : Unknown numbers
Next part will cover Indian Artillery systems