Chile has developed new 122mm rocket launcher based on Leopard 1 tank chassis
According to information published on the "InfoDefensa" website, the Army of Chile has designed and developed a new 122mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) based on a Leopard 1V Main Battle Tank (MBT) tracked chassis.
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Leopard 1V main battle tank fitted with rocket launcher weapon station. (Picture source Chile MoD)
The new Chilean MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) is based on the Leopard 1V Main Battle Tank (MBT). A total of 200 used Leopard 1-V MBTs armed with a 105 mm L7 rifled tank gun were ordered by Chile from the Netherlands in 1998 and in January 1999 the Chilean Army took delivery of the first batch of 14 Leopard 1-V MBTs. According to the Military Balance 2020, Chile has a total of 246 MBTs including 115 Leopard 1V and 131 Leopard 2A4.
The design and development process of the Leopard 1V MLRS was fully undergone in Chile with the collaboration of the Chilean army between August and October 2021. In December 10, 2021, the Chilean state-owned firearms manufacturer FAMAE has released a video showing the test-fire of the Leopard 1V MLRS.
The main armament of the MLRS Leopard 1V has been removed but it keeps the original turret. The roof of the turret is fitted with two pods of twenty launcher tubes. The development of the new rocket launcher station was based on the Tralcan 70mm Multiple Launch Rocket System.
In November 2020, it was announced that Chilean company FAMAE has conducted final firing tests with the locally-made Tralcan 70mm MLRS. according to the company, the weapon system is designed to be mounted on any type of wheeled or tracked combat vehicles
The Leopard 1V with the 122mm rocket launcher system will offer the mobility of a tracked armored vehicle in all-terrain conditions and the firepower of a standard MLRS.
The 122mm rocket used with Leopard 1V MLRS has a minimum range of 21 km and a maximum firing range of 40 km. The rocket has an approximate weight of 65.9 kg. The launching station is equipped with the Nekulpan fire control system which is also used with the Israeli-made LAR 160 light artillery rocket.
The LAR 160 multiple rocket launcher system was developed in the late 1970s by Israel Military Industries (IMI), now part of Elbit Systems, and incorporated by the Chilean Army in 1993. As part of a program for modernization of the LAR 160's fire control system, the unit is adopting the Nekulpan command and control system jointly developed by FAMAE and Desarrollos de Automatización (Desa). The Nekulpan system allows the control of all ballistic variables including cartographic scenarios and the use of any type of rockets, regardless of their origin or manufacturer.
Close view of the rocket launcher weapon station mounted on the turret of a Leopard 1V main battle tank. (Picture source FAMAE via Technologia & Defesa website)