China deploys PHL-03 300mm rocket launcher vehicles in Tibet region

According to a video released on the Internet on September 21, 2020, the Chinese army has deployed PHL-03 300mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) in the Tibet region. This artillery system is able to fire unguided and guided rockets with a maximum range of 130 km.
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Chinese Army PH-03 300mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System during reloading operations. (Picture source Chinese CCTV)

The PHL-03 also referred to as Type 03, is a 300mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), a Chinese version of the Soviet-made BM-30 Smerch. This artillery system is developed and manufacture by the Chinese company NORINCO for the Chinese Navy. An export version is also available for the international market under the name of AR2.

The PHL-03 is based on a Wanshan WS2400 8x8 military truck chassis with a crew can at the front and the rocket launcher system at the rear. The 300 mm 12 rocket tubes arrangement is two separate banks of four with a connecting roof of the remaining four tubes overlying the inner tubes of the banks.

The PHL-03 is equipped with a computerized fire control system (FCS) incorporating GPS/GLONASS/Beidou. It can fire three types of rockets equipped with cluster warheads with a range from 20 to 70 km, warhead containing 414 sub-munitions with a range from 60 to 130 km, and high-explosive fragmentation warhead with a range from 60 to 130 km.

In June 2017 tensions rose between China and India following Chinese plans to extend a road on the Doklam Plateau between Tibet. Since January 2019, the Chinese army increased the deployment of troops and military equipment in the Tibet region. China has developed combat vehicles and aircraft specially designed to conduct combat operations in the mountainous regions of Tibet.

China has developed the new light tank Type 15 able to run in low oxygen environments as the mountainous region of Tibet. Chinese troops in Tibet have also been equipped with new vehicle-mounted howitzers, which further expands Beijing’s military capability in the region.