First Tornado-S MLRS supplied to Russian Southern district

The first Tornado-S multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) have been supplied to the Southern Military District. They are the most powerful MLRS in the Russian army. Tornado-S are fully automatic and can independently aim missiles. The rearmament with the weapons will be a step towards robotic automation of the Russian artillery, the Izvestia daily writes. Tornado is an MLRS family. Besides 300mm Tornado-S, there is the operational Tornado-G which replaces Grad in regimental and division artillery.

First Tornado S MLRS supplied to Russian Southern district 925 002
Tornado-S MLRS (Picture source: Russian MoD)

The Defense Ministry told the newspaper Tornado-S MLRS were supplied to the 439th rocket artillery brigade deployed in Znemansk in Astrakhan region. It inherited the honorary Perekop Kutuzov Order title and the guards status from the 4th mortar division which operated in 1942-1945. It is now one of the most powerful artillery formations manned with the best officers and armed with the latest hardware. From October 1999 to March 2003 the brigade participated in combat in Dagestan and Chechnya. 150 men were awarded. The brigade is directly subordinated to the district commander.

Tornado-S is the longest-range and most powerful MLRS weapon in the world. Each vehicle carries 12 launchers which can fire salvos and solo missiles. The missile range is 120 km and designers promise to increase it to 200 km. Tornado-S is to replace Smerch MLRS in artillery formations. Tornado-S accelerates the missions: only several minutes are necessary to fire at the adversary; it takes one minute to deploy the weapon and abandon the position, so escaping retaliatory fire.

The range of munitions was expanded to select the warhead depending on the target. Besides unguided missiles, Tornado-S fires smart munitions. It can simultaneously hit eight targets by separating projectiles on the trajectory.

The new MLRS is equipped with GLONASS devices and automatic aiming and fire control system (ASUNO). The operator has to put in coordinates and order to aim the launchers and fire. It is not necessary to manually put in the data, as the system can independently receive and process information from reconnaissance vehicles and drones.

In the coming years all artillery formations subordinated to districts and the central command will be armed with Tornado-S. "The structure which existed at the peak of the Soviet army is being recreated," expert Viktor Murakhovsky said. "Tornado-S units will reinforce missile and artillery troops in the most decisive areas of the operation. Rocket artillery plays a major role in that, as Tornado-S destroys targets in the whole tactical depth of the adversary. Such weapons can be rapidly redeployed from one position to another. Their columns can march 300 and even 500 km a day," he said.

ASUNO and the integration of the artillery into a single command field will decrease deployment time several-fold and accelerate tactical maneuvers after fire, the Izvestia said.