Monday, December 02, 2019

PLA Showed Another New Rocket Artillery System

via 21CenturyAsianArmsRace Blog.
A month after the military parade the Chinese news agency Global Times published a short analysis by Liu Xuanzun that offered few useful insights. The article claimed the vehicle, whose designation is unknown, mounted eight 370 mm rockets. The non-standard caliber is just one among several large diameter munitions the vehicle can be armed with. Apparently, this rocket artillery system is the sibling of the SR5 that’s designed to launch either 122 mm Grad rockets or a variety of missiles. When the newer system is loaded with the same rockets as the PHL-03 each of its modular launchers carry five rounds for a total of 10.

A more useful comparison is the Polonez developed as a joint venture between Belarusian and Chinese companies. The Polonez is the deadliest rocket artillery weapon in Europe at the moment and is superior to the Russian BM-30 Smerch in two aspects. First, its munitions are able to target farther, reaching an impressive 200 kilometers. Second, the Polonez’ launcher is designed for short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) known as the M20 with an estimated range of 300 km.

This new PLA rocket artillery system does share a few external commonalities with the Polonez; it’s an 8×8 truck supporting an elongated bed that fits a pivoting launcher. The launcher itself has eight tubes that may also carry containers for individual SRBMs or cruise missiles. If this is its intended role as a division level weapon, then the PLA have once again overmatched NATO and the US military as well as its main rivals in East Asia, Japan and Taiwan. 

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