The Type-81 is built on the OQ-261 Honyuan 6×6 truck chassis, which is considered a Chinese-made version of the famous Soviet BM-21 Grad.

As one of the world’s leading militaries today, China has long paid special attention to its artillery force, including multiple rocket launchers. The most numerous are the Type-81 multiple rocket launchers, also known as the PHL-81, and its variants. The Chinese military officially put this weapon into service from 1989 until now with about 550 Type-81 and Type 90 systems, and about 375 Type-89 complexes – a tracked chassis variant.

The Type-81 is built on the OQ-261 Honyuan 6×6 truck chassis, which is considered a Chinese-made version of the famous Soviet BM-21 Grad. The Type 81 was the first in a family of Chinese self-propelled 122┬ámm rocket launchers. The system forms the backbone of People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s combined arms brigade. Type 81 went through different iterations of modernization to improve the combat effectiveness.

The Type 81 has 40 launching tubes for 122 mm rockets. A standard HE-FRAG rocket is similar to that, used by the BM-21 Grad. It is 2.87 m long and weights 66.8 kg. Maximum range of fire is 20 km. NORINCO has developed a number of specialized warheads for this multiple launch rocket system. These include high-explosive incendiary, cluster warheads with anti-tank or anti-personnel submunitions and mine-laying warheads. Rockets can be launched from the inside of the driver’s cab or remotely from the vehicle. This artillery rocket system is reloaded manually. Reloading takes around 8 minutes. Reload rockets are carried by an escorting truck.

The upgraded version of the Type-81 is the Type-90. The new system is built on a more modern new off-road vehicle that allows to significantly expand the floor of the complex, while adding a reloading system and adding 40 shells for quickly reload. After firing, loading the rocket complex with the available loading system only takes 3 minutes, ensuring extremely high fire density.

Another version of the Type-81 that is also widely used in the Chinese army is the Type-89, which is built on a tracked armored vehicle chassis. It was adopted by the PLA in 1989. The Type 89 mounts a new type of 40-round box launcher on the armored tracked chassis of the Type 83 self-propelled gun. The rockets may be fired in 20 seconds. The launcher is mounted at the rear with a reload pack in front.

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