Vilkha 300mm MLRS to enter service in Ukrainian army

The Ukrainian army is putting a new multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) rocket into service. In mid-2019, the Ukrainian military is expected to start taking delivery of the Vilkha rockets with BM-30 MLRS, according to UNIAN. The news website reported that serial production of the Vilkha will begin soon, following testing in April 2018 and December 2017.

Vilka MLRS to enter service in Ukranian army
Vilkha missile fired from BM-30 Smerch (Picture source: Twitter)

Vilkha carries a range of up to 300 kilometers when fired from the BM-30 Smerch MLRS, according to the CSIS 'Missile Threat' project. The 300mm guided rocket carries increased accuracy over older-generation systems. The latest variant of the multiple rocket launchert system BM-30 is the Smerch-M with the launcher vehicle 9A52-2. The Smerch-M is equipped now with the Vivariy automated fire-control system, which can function automatically or under manual control.

The Smerch-M BM-30M 9A52-2 is designed to defeat manpower, armored and soft-skinned materiel in concentration areas of artillery batteries, command post and ammunition depots. A battalion of BM-30 Smerch M 9A52-2 is composed with three batteries each of four launchers. The launcher has a crew of four and is capable of single or salvo firing. The Smerch-M 9A52-2 is equipped with an automated laying and fire control system which gives autonomous determination of an azimuth of the launch tube, with visula representation of graphical information for the launch tube cluster laying, the road of the vehicle movement and location, as well as a point of destination and direction of movement on the video terminal. All this new systems increase the BM-30 Smerch-M 9A52-2 survivability owing to the reduced time of staying at a fire position.

In December 2017, President Petro Poroshenko said that up to $57 million (at present exchange rate) would be necessary in order to begin serial production of the rocket, though Ukraine has not revealed how extensively the military will replace older, unguided munitions with the upgraded rockets. The general director of the State Kyiv Design Bureau Luch, Oleg Korostelev, indicated that the Vilkha has also received interest from foreign customers, suggesting that Ukraine could seek to export the rocket to other BM-30 Smerch users.

Particularly since the onset of hostilities with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has emphasized improving its artillery and precision capabilities. The country's defense industry is producing new artillery rockets as well as ballistic and cruise missiles in order to bolster deterrence against separatist artillery.


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