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Analysis: Russian army uses cluster munitions fired from BM-27 MLRS to hit Ukrainian M109 howitzer

According to a video released by the Russian MoD (Ministry of Defense) on June 7, 2022, Russian armed forces have destroyed an M109A3GN, a variant of the American M109 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer that was donated by Norway to the Ukrainian army. In this article, the Army Recognition editorial team explains the use of cluster munition rocket fire by a Russian army BM-27 220mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) to destroy the Ukrainian army M109 self-propelled howitzer. 
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Russian army uses cluster munition launched by a BM-27 220mm Multiple Launch Rocket System to destroy Ukrainian army M109A3GN 155mm self-propelled howitzer donated by Norway. (Picture source Screen Shot Russian MoD)

This video would have been filmed by a drone and shows the destruction of the M109A3GN used by the Ukrainian army by unguided cluster munitions rockets that would have been fired by a Russian 9P140 Uragan also named BM-27, a 220mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System).

On May 1, 202, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that Norway was going to deliver 20 M109A3GN 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. On June 1, 2022, a military convoy was spotted with M109A3GN 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer transported on MAZ-537 trucks near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

A few days later, pictures were published on the Telegram account of the Ukrainian armed forces showing Ukrainian soldiers of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade using the M109A3G.

The M109A3GN is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer based on a tracked armored chassis. This artillery system is armed with a 39 caliber barrel able to fire NATO 155 mm ammunition including high-explosive, illuminating, and smoke with a maximum firing range of 24,700 m. It can also fire enhanced range projectiles, such as base bleed with a maximum firing range of 30,000 m.

Russian army uses cluster munitions fire from BM 27 MLRS to hit Ukrainian M109 howitzer 925 002
Russian army BM-27 220mm Multiple Launch Rocket System. (Picture source Social Network VK)

The 9P140 Uragan also named BM-27 is a 220mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) designed and manufactured by the Russian defense industry. It entered into service with the Russian Army in the late 1970s. The vehicle is based on 8x8 truck chassis with a crew cab at the front and a rocket launcher station mounted at the rear.

The rocket weapon station of the BM-27 has a total of 16 tube launchers consisting of three banks with the lower two banks having six tubes each and the upper bank having four tubes. It can fire three types of rockets including the 9M27F HE FRAG (High Explosive Fragmentation), 9M27K Cluster Warhead, and the 9M27K2 anti-tank mines with a range from 10 to 35 km.

According to military experts, the M109A3GN howitzer was destroyed by the fire of 9M27K cluster ammunition launched by a Russian BM-27 220mm MLRS. The 9M27K contains 30 9N210 dual-purpose fragmentation bomblets. Each sub-munition generates 370 to 400 2-g preformed fragments.

Cluster munitions are conventional munitions, each of which is designed to disperse or release multiple sub-munitions also called bomblets over an area that may extend to several hundred square metros. Ground-based cluster munitions include mortar bombs, artillery projectiles and rockets, while air-delivered ordnance includes bombs, rockets, and missiles. Each sub-munition incorporates a high explosive charge, with many combining a fragmentation effect and a shaped charge; these are known as ‘dual-purpose’ sub-munitions. Fragmentation is intended to inflict injury on personnel and damage to the material, while the shaped charge is designed to penetrate armor and other hard surfaces.

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