PHL-03 (also known as Type 03) is an advanced multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) manufactured by NORINCO.
According to Chinese media, at the end of May 2021, the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese Army demonstrated the power of the PHL-03 rocket artillery during a drill. According to Sina, the PLA used long-range rocket artillery PHL-03 and anti-tank missiles to accurately destroy targets from a distance of 150 km.
Based on a report by state broadcaster CCTV, multiple PHL-03 long-range rocket launcher systems were deployed onshore, firing multiple rockets at targets while troops used drones to conduct long-range reconnaissance. Experts said that the army may be deployed with the navy, air force, and rocket force in anti-ship missions against hostile warships.
The PHL-03 has the same configuration as the original Russian counterpart with 12 launch tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets, along with a computerized fire control system (FCS) incorporating GPS/GLONASS/Beidou. A standard weight for each rocket is 800 kg with a 280 kg warhead.
Standard warheads are High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), fuel-air explosive, and cluster warheads with anti-armor and anti-personnel submunitions. Cluster warheads can also carry self-targeting anti-tank munitions. A full salvo of this system could potentially cover an area of up to 67 hectares.
It is known that the PHL-03 complex officially served in the Chinese Army in the period 2004 – 2005. It is still considered one of the most powerful MLRS systems in the world. The maximum range of the PHL-03 is announced up to 150 km and the minimum is 20 km. However, many experts believe that in fact it can only reach a range of 100 km.
According to the announcement, during the last exercise, the PHL-03 accurately destroyed the targets of fighter aircraft and missile launchers from a distance of 150 km. The complex takes about 30 seconds to launch all 12 rockets, reloading time is up to nearly 30 minutes.
PHL-03 uses the base chassis of Wanshan WS-2400 heavy-duty truck. This is a very maneuverable 8×8 military truck, suitable to serve as a platform for a variety of weapon systems. This military vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel off-road. The truck is equipped with a diesel engine with a capacity of 500 horsepower for a maximum speed of 60 km/h on the road, a range of 650 km. It is fitted with a central tyre pressure system, which can be adjusted on the move. This system improves mobility over difficult terrain, such as sand, mud and snow.
The logistics vehicle of the PHL-03 also uses the same 8×8 chassis but is equipped with a hydraulic crane to reload 12 rockets for the launcher vehicle. Both long-range rocket and anti-tank missiles are weapon types traditionally designed to strike ground targets, but the PLA showed that they are versatile and can also play roles in anti-ship missions.