Tornado-S 9K515 MLRS
Multiple Launch Rocket System 300 mm - Russia
The Tornado-S 9K515 is a modernized version of the soviet-made BM-30 Smerch 300mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) that entered into service with the Russian armed forces in 1987. It is designed and manufactured by the Russian company Motovilikhinskie Zavody. The Tornado-S was approved for service in July–August 2016 and the first rocket launchers were ordered by the Russian army in the summer of 2019. Another batch of Tornado-S was delivered in November 2022. 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. The Tornado-S is fitted with a GPS satellite navigation system enabling the launch of guided rockets. It also has an extended firing range and increased effectiveness, due to the use of new warhead payloads and a reduced launch readiness time of just three minutes. 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. On November 22, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the Tornado-S was deployed in Ukraine to conduct combat operations against the Ukrainian armed forces.
Tornado-S 9K515 MLRS variants:
- BM-30 Smerch: the vehicle has the same design and launcher station but can only fire unguided 300mm rockets.
The Tornado-S 9A54 launcher vehicle is equipped with 12 launcher tubes mounted at the rear of the truck chassis with the same configuration as the BM-30 Smerch consisting of two separate banks of four with a connecting roof of the remaining four tubes overlying the inner tubes of the banks. 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, 9M55K4, 9M55K5, 9M55F, 9M55S, 9M55K6, 9M525, 9M528, 9M529, 9M531, and 9M533 unguided rockets. Using a guided rocket, the Tornado-S has a maximum firing range of 120 km. It can fire a single rocket or a salvo in less than 30 seconds. The missile deflection does not exceed 10-20 meters, such characteristics are comparable with high-precision missiles. After being put into battery, the vehicle is ready to fire its first rocket in 3 minutes. Preparing for the Smerch battle after receiving target designation takes only three minutes.
Unguided rockets list:
- Rocket 9M55K has a warhead with fragmentation submunitions
- Rocket 9M55K1 with self-aiming submunitions.
- Rocket 9M55K4 with warhead for anti-tank mining
- Rocket 9M55K5 with warheads with cumulative fragmentation warheads.
- Rocket 9M55S with a thermobaric warhead
- Rocket 9M528 with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead.
- Rocket 9M529 is used against personnel both exposed and sheltered in the open-type fortifications
- Rocket 9M531 is used to engage personnel in both exposed and sheltered and lightly armored vehicles.
- Rocket 9M533 used for a top attack of the groupings of armored materiel and tanks
- Rocket 9M544 a high-explosive (HE), fragmentation, fin-stabilized, solid propellant, guided artillery rocket, fitted with a self-contained powered-flight phase control system which provides an increase in fire precision by a factor of two and inaccuracy by a factor of three as compared to unguided rockets.
- Rocket 9M549 guided rocket with HE-FRAG (High Explosive Fragmentation) submunitions
|Design and protection|
The Tornado-S is based on an 8x8 military truck chassis with a single-driver cab located at the front left side of the vehicle with the vehicle commander to his immediate rear. The MLRS has a crew of three. The launch vehicle's cabin is located at the rear of the driver cab which accommodates the launch preparation and firing equipment. The cabin is fitted with one single door on each side and two small windows are mounted at the front of the cabin.
|The Tornado-S uses the chassis of the MAZ-543 8x8 military truck which is powered by a V-12 4-stroke Diesel engine developing 518 hp at 2,200 rpm. It can run at a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 850 km. The truck can cross a trench of 2.5 m, climb a vertical obstacle of up to 0.78 m, and has a fording depth capability of 1.1 m|
|The Tornado-S is equipped with the GLONASS satellite navigation system. The vehicle can easily be identified by its satellite antenna mounted on the roof of the fire control cabin. The fully enclosed cab is provided with an NBC system and two entry doors on the left side that open to the front. Onboard equipment also includes automated launch preparation equipment that has allowed for the autonomous execution of fire missions. This allows for a sharp reduction in fire preparation time from unprepared positions. This equipment provides for the topographical surveying and navigation of the launch vehicle, computation in the launch vehicle of fire settings and flight mission data on the basis of target and meteorological data provided by the Automated Fire-Control System, ramp laying on the target by the crew staying in the cab and using no aiming points, visual monitoring of rocket ramp laying, presentation on the display of the launch vehicle location, pre-launch testing on rocket projectile equipment, flight mission data input in rocket projectile onboard equipment and finally rocket launch with takeoff checks.|
|The Tornado-S can easily be identified by its satellite antenna mounted on the roof of the fire control cabin. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin).|
|12 launch tubes 300 mm caliber||No armor protection|
|Country users||Vehicle Weight|
|Designer Country||Truck Speed|
|Computerized firing control system with GPS, GLONASS satellite navigation system, NBC protection system||850 km|
|3||Length:12.37 m; Width: 3.1 m; Height: 3.1 m|
Pictures - Video