Indonesian army takes delivery of MLRS Avibras Astros II Mk 6 from Brazil
As reported by Defense Studies, the Hong Kong-flagged MV Tian Fu cargo ship sailed from Santos, Brazil, to Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta where, on June 12, it delivered 27 Astros II Mk 6 rocket launchers with ammunition for the Indonesian Army.
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Unloading of an Avibras Astros II Mk 6 MLRS in the Indonesian port of Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, on June 12, 2020 (Picture source: Defense Studies)
The Astros II Mk 6 rocket launchers made by Avibras Brazil will be operated by the Army Strategic Reserve Command. In 2012, Indonesia ordered 36 MLRS Astros II which had all been received and consequently used by two artillery battalions in the Kostrad Division 1 and 2.
In 2018, the 3rd Division of the Kostrad Army was formed. This Kostrad Army had a number of battalions deployed in Sulawesi and Papua New Guinea. Every Kostrad force is equipped with an MLRS battalion. Hence, it is likely that the newly-delivered MLRS will also be used there. Another possibility is that they would fill the gap in Divisions 1 and 2 of Kostrad because several Astros MLRS units have been sent to Natuna Island.
Since the tension in the North Natuna Sea has risen, the Indonesian Army moved 14 units of Astros II MLRS to Natuna. The assignment was at the same time the move of Astros to the 1st Composite Battalion / Gardapati Kodam I Bukit Barisan which oversees the regions of North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau and the Riau Islands.
ASTROS II (Artillery Saturation Rocket System) is a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher produced in Brazil by the Avibras company. It features a modular design and employs rockets with calibers ranging from 127 mm to 450 mm ( 5-17.72 inches). It was developed on the basis of a Tectran VBT-2028 6×6 all-terrain vehicle for enhanced mobility.
In 2014 a first improved ASTROS II Mk.6 was delivered. This system is also referred as ASTROS-2020. The launcher vehicle is capable of firing new AV-TM 300 cruise missiles with a range of 300 km and AV-SS-G40 guided rockets.
Avibras Astros II Mk 6 MLRS loaded on low-bed trailers in the Indonesian port of Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, on June 12, 2020 (Picture source: Defense Studies)