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Analysis: News MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems of Russian army - Part 3

Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) is one of the most important weapon systems in the arsenal of the Russian army. It is used by rocket troops and artillery units of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. The MLRS is designed to destroy any multiple targets, light-armored vehicles and armored materiel, artillery units, tactical missiles, command posts, communications centers, and other hostile infrastructure.
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Uragan-1M multi-caliber MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The first photos of Uragan-1M appeared in open sources yet in 2012. They were likely shot at trials and featured the MLRS with two modular launchers on Astrolog MZKT-7930 undercarriage.

It was initially believed to be Tornado-S. However, the Defense Ministry published in February 2017 a photo gallery about the training of cadets in the Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy. The new MLRS was called Uragan-1M.

Practically nothing is known about it. In 2012, the Defense Ministry said trials of the new MLRS had begun. In September 2016, the Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Uragan-1M was supplied to the troops “but in smaller volumes than we would like”. He said problems with subcontractors of Splav producer were the reason.

The photos show Uragan-1M is a multi-caliber 220/300mm weapon. It can fire heavy 300mm missiles and light 220mm jet projectiles. Photos from the Mikhailovskaya academy show the MLRS with two modules of six guides each. Judging by the size, they are 300mm projectiles. In a 2012 picture of Uragan trials, it carries modules with 15 guides each. Judging by the size, they are 220mm missiles.

It is likely that the MLRS in the Mikhailovskaya academy is the first set that Borisov mentioned. Problems with Uragan are likely linked with its modules. So far the weapons are an innovation for the defense industry.

How will the modern Russian rocket artillery look like? Brigades and artillery regiments will have one Tornado-G battalion each. It is noteworthy that the Defense Ministry has recently ordered an upgrade of the fleet of old BM-21 Grad MLRS.

News MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems of Russian army Analysis part 3 925 002
Russian Army B-27 Uragan 220mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

Besides 122mm MLRS, artillery regiments of combined arms divisions will be reinforced with 220mm BM-27 Uragan MLRS. The first reports on the rearmament appeared in late 2018. The new weapons will radically increase the firepower of division artillery and will strike at the adversary to a depth of a hundred kilometers. Drones will be the eyes of rocket artillery.

Artillery brigades will get additional firepower. In particular, they will get a Smerch battalion. The first BM-30 Smerch has been supplied to the 244th Neman artillery brigade of the Baltic fleet.

Besides BM-30 Smerch, the brigades will operate one-two battalions of 220mm BM-27 Uragan MLRS. They will be soon replaced by modular multi-caliber Uragan-1M. Artillery brigades are likely to be of two types. The first will be armed with Uragan-1M and the second with ordinary Uragan and Smerch. The armaments will be determined by the location of the brigade. Artillerymen of the 1st tank army are likely to operate Uragan-1M first.

District artillery brigades will be gradually rearmed with modern Tornado-S instead of Smerch BM-30. The mission of the brigades will change. Previously, they had to deliver a massive battalion or brigade strike. Now the MLRS will be decentralized to the maximum to operate in self-sustained units of two-three launchers.

Tornado-S has much higher precision. Matveevsky said each MLRS can simultaneously hit eight targets. It means the Russian armed forces will have a universal and flexible instrument and a new system of MLRS engagement, the Independent Military Review said.

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