Russia to replace Grad and Smerch MLRS with new generation systems

Russia has stopped serial production of the Grad and Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), as they are to be replaced by a new generation of MLRS, as announced by Vladimir Lepin, CEO of Techmash (part of Rostec), Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports.

According to him, the Grad system first appeared in 1963. It has been an extremely successful project, which has been improved several times, and today “it would completely satisfy the requirements of the time”.

“Not only the Grad, but also the more powerful Smerch MLRS will be gradually replaced. Already today, the serial release of Grad and Smerch systems has been discontinued. Production of two new systems – the Tornado G and the Tornado S – has begun. One will have the Grad’s 122mm caliber, and the other will have a 300mm like the Smerch system’s,” Lepin explained.

He noted that the Tornadoes are completely new generation systems, equipped with modern ballistic computers that work in conjunction with the Global Navigation System (GLONASS), and the “accuracy and range of their shots is significantly better than their predecessors’”.

“With the Tornado-G we have achieved significant growth in firing power. On the face of it, the decision was simple, but there were many nuances. The classic Grad rockets destroy area at an inclined trajectory. The Tornado-G’s load has new ammunition – when it is over the target, a combat unit detaches, a parachute opens and an entire salvo is fired vertically. Thus there can be an explosion from both the strike and at a certain altitude,” the CEO of Techmash explained.
Lepin also noted that the Tornado S rockets “can correct themselves in flight, which significantly increases the accuracy of target destruction at a distance greater than 100 km. However, they are not corrected by a human operator, but by the guidance system located directly inside the rocket”.

“We are still producing quite a powerful MLRS – the 220mm Uragan. This system has also been upgraded. A feature of the Uragan 1M is a package charge. There are two packages on the launcher. One can be 220 mm, the other 300 mm. Or two 220 mm. The guidance tubes are carbon fiber. They are filled with rockets at a factory or special artillery arsenal. After firing a salvo with the Uragan 1M, the launch unit is simply discarded, which enables the machines to leave the firing position quickly. Then fully loaded packages with new rockets are installed at a safe distance,” Lepin continued.

On March 1 during his address to the Federal Assembly, Putin announced that Russia has hypersonic weapons – the Avangard and Kinzhal systems, as well as nuclear submarines, drones, combat lasers and nuclear-powered cruise missiles. Somewhat later, Deputy Defense Minister Yuriy Borisov said that Russia possesses new weapon systems about which no information was disclosed.

  Grad multiple rocket launcher systems, Smerch MLRS, Russian weapons