PHL-03, also known as Type 03, is an advanced multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) manufactured by NORINCO Corporation.
The “copying” of foreign weapons systems helps China speed up its military modernization at a dizzying pace. Currently, China is the country that owns many of the longest-range multiple rocket launchers in the world. One of the scariest systems is the PHL-03.
The PHL-03 was officially reported to have been in service with the People’s Liberation Army Army between 2004 and 2005, and is still considered one of the most powerful MLRS systems in the world today. PHL-03 is designed for long-range fire support missions, destroying enemy infrastructure, warehouses, and yards, clearing the way for infantry to attack. It is also used to engage in counter battery fire missions.
PHL-03 is based on the Russian made BM-30 Smerch rocket artillery system. It retains the configuration of the Russian BM-30 Smerch with a cluster of 12 300 mm rocket launchers, along with a computerized fire control system incorporating GPS/GLONASS/Beidou. The PHL-03 uses the 300 mm rockets of the BRE family, namely the BRC4, BRE2 and the guided Fire Dragon 140A which have a range of 130 km.
The whole system is based on a Wanshan WS2400 special wheeled chassis with 8×8 configuration. This military vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel off-road. 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.
Currently the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force is operating 175 systems. PHL-03 has been exported to Morocco and Tanzania in quantities of 36 and 13 respectively. There is information that China is gradually replacing them by the more modular and newer PHL-16.