BM-21 Grad

Enlarge Type 81 (rocket launcher) ISBN (identifier)

BM-21 "Grad"
Russian BM-21 Grad in Saint Petersburg.JPG
A Russian BM-21-1 on display in Saint Petersburg in May 2009
TypeMultiple rocket launcher
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1963–present
Used bySee Operators
WarsSino-Soviet border conflict[1]
Vietnam War[2]
Lebanese Civil War[3]
Western Sahara War
Angolan Civil War
Isaaq genocide
Somali civil war
Ogaden war
South African Border War
Uganda–Tanzania War[4]
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Iran–Iraq War
Soviet–Afghan War[5]
Second Sudanese Civil War[6]
Gulf War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
Yugoslav Wars
First Chechen War[1]
1995 Cenepa War
1999 Kargil War[7]
Second Chechen War[1]
Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel
Russo-Georgian War
Cambodian–Thai border dispute
Libyan Civil War (2011)
Syrian Civil War[1]
Northern Mali conflict
War in Donbass[8]
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)[9]
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
2016 Nagorno-Karabakh clashes
Production history
DesignerSplav State Research and Production Enterprise
Designed1963
ManufacturerSplav State Research and Production Enterprise
Produced1963–present
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications (9K51)
Mass13.71 tonnes (30,225 lb)
Length7.35 m (24 ft 1 in)
Barrel length3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)
Width2.40 m (7 ft 10 in)
Height3.09 m (10 ft 2 in)
Crew3

Barrels40
Rate of fire2 rounds/s
Muzzle velocity690 m/s (2,264 ft/s)
Maximum firing range20 km (12 mi) (new rockets 30–45 km)
SightsPG-1M panoramic telescope

EngineV-8 gasoline ZiL-375
180 hp (130 kW)
Suspension6×6 wheeled
Operational
range
405 km (251 mi)
Maximum speed 75 km/h (47 mph)

The BM-21 "Grad" (Russian: БМ-21 "Град", lit. 'hail') is a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher.[10] The weapons system and the M-21OF rocket[11] were first developed in the early 1960s, and saw their first combat use in March 1969 during the Sino-Soviet border conflict.[12] BM stands for boyevaya mashina (Russian: боевая машинаcombat vehicle), and the nickname grad means "hail". The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket is designated[by whom?] as the M-21 field-rocket system. The complete system is more commonly known as a Grad multiple rocket launcher system. In NATO countries the system (either the complete system or the launch vehicle only) was initially known as M1964. Several other countries have copied the Grad or have developed similar systems.

Description

BM-21-1 launch vehicle during a military parade in Yekaterinburg, 9 May 2009.

The M-21 field rocket system with a BM-21 launch vehicle (122 mm multiple rocket launcher (MRL) system) entered service with the Soviet Army in 1963 to replace the aging 140 mm BM-14 system. The launch vehicle consists of a Ural-375D six-by-six truck chassis fitted with a bank of 40 launch tubes arranged in a rectangular shape that can be turned away from the unprotected cab. The vehicle is powered by a water-cooled V-8 180 hp gasoline engine, has a maximum road speed of 75 km/h (47 mph), road range of up to 750 kilometers (470 mi), and can cross fords up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) deep. The original vehicle together with supporting equipment (including the re-supply truck 9T254 with 60 rockets) is referred to by the GRAU index "9K51"; the launcher itself has the industrial index of "2B5". In 1976, the BM-21 was mounted on the newer Ural-4320 six-by-six army truck.

The three-member crew can emplace the system and have it ready to fire in three minutes. The crew can fire the rockets from the cab or from a trigger at the end of a 64-meter (210 ft) cable. All 40 rockets can be away in as little as 20 seconds, but can also be fired individually or in small groups in several-second intervals. A PG-1M panoramic telescope with K-1 collimator can be used for sighting. The BM-21 can be packed up and ready to move in two minutes, which can be necessary when engaged by counter-battery fire. Reloading is done manually and takes about 10 minutes.

Each 2.87-meter (9 ft 5 in) rocket is slowly spun by rifling in its tube as it exits, which along with its primary fin stabilization keeps it on course. Rockets armed with high explosive-fragmentation, incendiary, or chemical warheads can be fired 20 kilometers (12 mi). Newer high explosive and cargo (used to deliver anti-personnel or antitank mines) rockets have a range of 30 kilometers (19 mi) and more. Warheads weigh around 20 kilograms (44 lb), depending on the type.

The number of rockets that each vehicle is able to quickly bring to bear on an enemy target makes it effective, especially at shorter ranges. One battalion of eighteen launchers is able to deliver 720 rockets in a single volley. The system has lower precision than typical artillery and cannot be used in situations that call for pinpoint accuracy. It relies on a large number of shells dissipating over an area for a certain hit rate on specific targets. Nonetheless, because of the short warning time for the impact of the whole volley, the BM-21 is still considered an effective weapon.

Variants

BM-21 launch vehicle.
9P138 launch vehicle of the Grad-1 multiple rocket launcher system.
BM-21V VDV variant.

Soviet Union and Russia

Grad-P single tube launcher system

Adaptations of the launcher were/are produced by several countries including China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Poland and Romania.

Belarus

Belarusian BM-21A "BelGrad"

Ukraine

Ukrainian BM-21 Bastion-1 based on KrAZ-260 chassis

Georgia

Georgian RS-122, a heavily upgraded and automated version of the Soviet BM-21 based on the Ukrainian chassis KrAZ-63221

People's Republic of China

Former Czechoslovakia

RM-70 launch vehicle, a Czechoslovak variant with the BM-21 launch vehicle launcher unit.

Poland

WR-40 Langusta, a deeply modernized and automated version, of the Soviet BM-21 based on the Jelcz P662D.35 6x6 truck; displayed at the MSPO 2007.

Egypt

The Egyptians domestically manufacture the rockets Sakr-18 and Sakr-36, with a respective range of 18 km (11 mi) and 36 km (22 mi), and the latest Sakr-45 with a superior range of 45 km (28 mi). Rather than a standard HE-Frag round, the Egyptian military prefers a 23-kilogram (51 lb) cluster munition, which can be extremely effective against lightly armored equipment and troop concentrations. Both rockets, as well as the original Soviet models of course, are fired by locally manufactured rocket launchers like the RL-21 (copy of BM-11) and RC-21 (copy of BM-21, similar to the Hadid HM20). The Helwan Machine Tools Company also produces portable systems with one, three, four and eight launch tubes.

Gaza Strip

Since 2006 Hamas has fired 122 mm Grad rockets, copies made in Iran, and Eastern-bloc versions modified to expand their range and lethality, into Israel.[19] The rockets were believed to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip via tunnels from Egypt.[19] Some of the rockets were of a Chinese Grad variant.[20] Hamas sources said they were pleased by the performance of the Chinese variants of the BM-21 Grad rocket, which demonstrated a far greater range and blast impact than Palestinian-made rockets, as well as Russian-origin Grads or Katyushas.[20][21]

Hamas have used small man-portable single-tube launchers for rockets in attacks against Israel, designated 122 mm 9P132/BM-21-P.[22] The 122 mm Grad rockets used in Gaza have a range of about 40 km (25 mi), and can reach the Israeli towns of Ashdod, Beer-Sheva, Ofakim, Gedera, Kiryat Gat, Ashqelon, Sderot, Rehovot, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne. The Islamic Jihad also published a clip claiming device mounted used as a multi-barrel rocket launcher on vehicle used for first time in Gaza.[23] On 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome system successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza for the first time. The rockets were launched without their dedicated platforms and by untrained operators which causes very low accuracy. Over 50% of the rockets miss entire cities and over 10% end up hitting the sea.[24]

Ethiopia

The Homicho Ammunition Engineering Complex produces the rockets while the Bishoftu Motorization Engineering Complex produces the launching tubes and has converted existing trucks to diesel engine. Bishoftu motorization has also produced a six tube launcher to be mounted on light trucks.

North Korea

Iran

D.I.O. from Iran produces copies of the BM-11 and BM-21 systems that can fire the original Soviet rockets as well as the locally developed "Arash" with a range of 20.5 km (12.7 mi). There is also a rocket with a range of 75 km (47 mi).

Iraq

Various 122mm-type rockets were deployed by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, modified to deliver nerve agents to targets. This included the 40-inch long, domestically produced Grad MLRS-compatible "Borak" warhead designed to disperse sarin gas.[26]

Pakistan

APRA-40, a Romanian variant of the Grad, and a 6-rocket launcher.

Romania

Serbia

Serbian LRSVM Morava

South Africa

Thailand

Croatia

LRSV-122 M-96 "Tajfun

Projectiles

The original "GRAD" rocket has a range of about 20 kilometers (12 mi). The first modification called "G-M" increased the range to about 27.5 kilometers (17.1 mi), while the second modification "G-2000" further increased the range to about 40 kilometers (25 mi).[34] The latest technology development has allowed new Grad rockets to have 52 km range.[35] The range may also vary due to the type of warhead.

Origin Ammunition type Minimum range Maximum range Length Weight Warhead weight
metres miles metres miles metres ft in kg lb kg lb
9M22U (M-21OF) USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 5,000 3.1 20,380 12.66 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66.6 147 18.4 41
9M28F USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 1,500 0.93 15,000 9.3 2.27 7 ft 5 in 56.5 125 21.0 46.3
9M28K USSR/Russia Anti-tank mines 13,400 8.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 57.7 127 22.8 50
9M43 USSR/Russia Smoke 20,000 12 2.95 9 ft 8 in 66 146 20.2 45
9M217 USSR/Russia Anti-tank submunitions 30,000 19 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
9M218 USSR/Russia HEAT submunitions 30,000 19 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
9M519 USSR/Russia RF jammer 18,500 11.5 3.04 10 ft 0 in 66 146 18.4 41
9M521 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 40,000 25 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66 146 21 46
9M522 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 37,500 23.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
PRC-60 USSR/Russia Underwater charge (for BM-21PD) 300 0.19 5,000 3.1 2.75 9 ft 0 in 75.3 166 20 44
Type 90A China Fragmentation-HE 12,700 7.9 32,700 20.3 2.75 9 ft 0 in 18.3 40
M21-OF-FP Romania Fragmentation-HE 5,000–6,000 3.1–3.7 20,400 12.7 2.87 9 ft 5 in 65.4 144 6.35 14.0
M21-OF-S Romania Fragmentation-HE 1,000 0.62 12,700 7.9 1.927 6 ft 3.9 in 46.6 103 6.35 14.0
Edepro G2000/52 Serbia Fragmentation-HE 52,000 32 2.862 9 ft 4.7 in 64.4 142 19.0 41.9
Sakr-45A Egypt AT / AP submunitions 42,000 26 3.310 10 ft 10.3 in 67.5 149 24.5 54
Sakr-45B Egypt Fragmentation-HE 45,000 28 2.900 9 ft 6.2 in 63.5 140 20.5 45

Also Incendiary, Chemical, Illumination, Antipersonnel mines.

Operators

Map of BM-21 operators in blue with former operators in red
A fired 122mm projectile of a RM-70 multiple rocket launcher stuck in muddy land in Vaharai, Batticaloa during the Sri Lankan Civil War (2007).
Djiboutian Army Rocket Launcher.
BM-21 on display near the Karen Demirchyan Complex, Yerevan, Armenia

Current operators

 Hezbollah[65]

Former operators

Evaluation only

See also

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