Rocket artillery systems are weapons that fire rockets instead of standard shells. These rockets typically have a much larger payload than standard shells, making them ideal for use against heavily fortified targets.
And since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, Russia and Ukraine have extensively used rocket artillery systems.
It reminds us how powerful these weapons are, and they have proven once again to be some of the most deadly and vital weapons on the battlefield… And here’s a short list of the most deadly rocket artillery systems in service today:
The M142 HIMARS
The M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is a lightweight multiple rocket launcher mainly used by the US military. It is based on the M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) and can fire the same types of rockets.
The HIMARS carries up to six rockets and can be operated by a crew of three… And it has been used in combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.
Somewhere in the darkness of eastern Ukraine it’s tonight’s HIMARS time— Jack_ryan 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@terror_studies) September 5, 2022
Its ability to fire long-range missiles makes it an invaluable asset on the battlefield since it targets the enemy from a safe distance. In addition, the HIMARS is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance and navigation systems, making it highly accurate even in adverse conditions.
Furthermore, it is easily transportable, meaning that it can be quickly deployed wherever it is needed.
This rocket artillery has an operational range of 300 miles (480 kilometers) and a speed of 53 mph (85 km/h). Its maximum firing range is 190 miles (300 kilometers), with a unit price of $3.8 million.
However, Lockheed Martin is developing an extended-range munition for the HIMARS that will reach 310 miles (500 kilometers).
The M270 with ER GMLRS
The M270 MLRS is a rocket artillery rocket system designed for launching guided missiles.
Although M270 is no longer a cutting-edge weapon, with the new ER GMLRS (extended range guided multiple launch rocket system), it reached its highest potential. It can fire rockets at 93 miles (150 km) under any circumstance while being guided with unparalleled precision.
The ER GMLRS is equipped with a GPS guidance system that allows it to hit targets with pinpoint accuracy. The system also has a built-in camera that gives commanders real-time footage of the battlefield.
The new Chinese PHL-16
🇨🇳🇹🇼⚡China deploys PHL-16 MLRS to a province just 180km away from Taiwan pic.twitter.com/lP9yyElG35— Tango Charlie (INDIA UNITED) FOLLOW US (@TangoCharlie108) July 30, 2022
The PHL-16 rocket artillery system is a next-generation weapon that combines the best features of traditional artillery with the latest advances in rocket technology.
Currently, little is known about this rocket launcher. However, it appears to be quite effective and a fearsome weapon. According to the Chinese government, it has a maximum range of 310 miles (500 km) using tactical ballistic missiles.
It is one of the most long-range artillery systems in the world. The system’s unique targeting system allows it to engage moving targets with ease. It is also equipped with an advanced guidance system that makes it highly resistant to countermeasures.
The Russian 9A52-4 Tornado multiple rocket launcher
Still have MLRS systems that are a big problem. Excluding perhaps Excalibur still outranged by them and can’t do counterbattery, and that’s what they’re using a lot of to pound cities and positions. 9A52-4 Tornado— Mechano (@Mechan0n) May 5, 2022
for example can fire 90km. pic.twitter.com/NfEwbZSwjQ
Although Russian weapons didn’t get a good start at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the artillery has been the exception – and has pushed the Ukrainians back.
This success is due in part to the 9A52-4 Tornado. It’s a Russian-developed rocket launcher that has had several battlefield appearances, from the Syrian war to the War in Ukraine.
Currently, about 173 units of this rocket launcher are in service, and it is wreaking havoc in Ukraine with its firing range of 124 miles (200 km).
Although this firing range is less than other rocket artillery systems, it’s a highly mobile vehicle with an operational range of 621 miles (1000 km) at a speed of 56 mph (90 km/h).
This makes it quite similar to the HIMARS since this American rocket launcher has a maximum speed of 85 km/h (53 mph) and a maximum fighting range of 190 miles (300 km).
The North Korean KN-25 launch rocket system
1st pic left to right: KN-09, the late July and early August projectiles from tracked chassis (pictures pixelated), and KN-25. 2nd pic: newest image released by North Korea confirming the six tube tracked chassis is a KN-25 launcher. pic.twitter.com/1pok5MOfHc— Taepodong (@stoa1984) March 29, 2020
North Korea isn’t famous for its level of technology. However, this rocket artillery poses a significant risk to South Korea with its operational range of 380 km (240 miles).
Like the PH16, this rocket launcher can use missiles to get a greater range of fire. According to the North Korean government, it can reach 930 miles (1500 km) with nuclear warhead missiles or conventional weapons.
Of course, it’s probably just North Korean propaganda, but no army would want to challenge North Korea to test whether its maximum range is actual.
Rocket artillery is an essential tool for smashing the enemy on the battlefield
Rocket artillery is a crucial part of any army today as it was decades ago – and the war in Ukraine is just one example of this.
Currently, these systems are becoming more sophisticated and have a longer range, which leads us to believe that they will also take a fundamental role in 21st-century battlefields too.
Featured image credit: M270 by lockheedmartin.com