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Russia deploys in Ukraine its new Tornado-S rocket launcher able to fire guided rockets at 120 km

According to a video published by the Russian Ministry of Defense on its VK Social Network account on November 21, 2022, Russian armed forces have now deployed the latest generation of 300mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System, the Tornado-S 9K515, an upgraded version of the BM-30 Smerch.
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Russia has now deployed in Ukraine its new Tornado-S 300mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System able to fire guided rockets at a maximum firing range of 120 km. (Picture source Russian MoD)

In the war in Ukraine, artillery is a key element, and Russia has deployed a wide range of artillery systems including self-propelled howitzers, rocket launchers, and long-range precision missile systems such as the Iskander-M short-range mobile ballistic missile system.

Citing a report of the U.S. Congress, since early March 2022, Russian forces attempted to adapt to the reality of effective Ukrainian resistance. Russia made some changes to its military operations, including more coordination between units and a greater attempt to operate as combined arms formations, increased air support, and significantly higher levels of artillery and rocket artillery fire.

The Tornado-S is a modernized version of the soviet-made BM-30 Smerch that entered into service with the Russian armed forces in 1987. The new Tornado-S offers the capabilities of a precision weapon thanks to the use of guided rockets. The BM-30 Smerch has only the capability to launch unguided rockets.

Thanks to its modernization, the Tornado-S offers an increased firing range and range and fire accuracy capabilities. It also offers the possibility of entering an individual flight assignment for each shell. The system is designated to hit enemy manpower, military hardware, stationary and mobile sole, and multiple targets.

The Tornado-S design is similar to the BM-30 Smerch and is based on a Russian MZKT MAZ-543 8x8 with the rocket launcher station mounted at the rear of the truck chassis consisting of 12 launcher tubes. The whole system includes the rocket launcher vehicle and a resupply vehicle that carries additional rocket munitions.

The Tornado-S is equipped with a satellite guidance firing system with the antenna mounted on the roof of the launch cabin station located just behind the driver's cab. The new MLRS is now able to fire a wide range of guided and unguided rockets including 9M544 and 9M549 guided rockets and 9M555K, 9M55K1, 9M55F, 9M55S, 9M55K6, 9M525, 9M528, 9M529, 9M531, and 9M533 unguided rockets.

The Tornado-S is now able to reach a maximum range of 120 km while the BM-30 only has a maximum firing range of 70 km. Its shooting accuracy is improved from 3 to 15 times more and a salvo of rockets can be distributed among several targets with the relocation of the launcher vehicle.

Russia deploys in Ukraine its new Tornado S rocket launcher able to fire guided rocket at 120 km 925 002
The Tornado-S can easily be identified by its satellite antenna mounted on the roof of the fire control cabin. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin).

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