The Uragan-1M long-range rocket artillery is expected to bring new strength to Russian units.

The Uragan-1M long-range rocket artillery is expected to bring new strength to Russian units. Russian media reported on January 24, 2024, that the Russian company Tula NPO “Splav” delivered the first batch of Uragan-1M MLRS to Russian troops stationed in an unspecified region of Ukraine. Mass production of these MLRS systems appears to have begun in Russia, with claims that they are designed to counter the weapons of the Western and Ukrainian Armed Forces. However, there is no official confirmation yet.

Some Russian comparisons have been drawn between the Uragan-1M and the American-made M142 HIMARS system. The Uragan-1M is a deeply modernized variant of its legacy Urugan multiple rocket launcher system, with features similar to, perhaps better than, the US-supplied HIMARS system. This artillery rocket system is extremely effective against area targets, such as concentration of troops and armored vehicles, artillery batteries, airfields.

The modernized Uragan-1M was first revealed during the Army 2020 military-technical forum. Like the US HIMARS, the Uragan-1M is a dual-calibre system – it’s fitted with two different launch containers to launch either 220-mm rockets of the legacy Uragan MLRS or 300-mm rockets developed for the Smerch (Tornado-S) MLRS. The latter have SATNAV guidance and a max range of 120 km.

The Uragan-1M can fire all current Smerch and Uragan rockets. Pods with launch tubes are disposable and are replaced after all rockets are launched. Though there were also developed reusable 300 mm launcher packs that can be reloaded with individual rockets by a reloading vehicle in field conditions. The launcher vehicle of the Uragan-1M is referred as 9A53.

The new system has two pods with a total of 12 launching tubes for 300 mm rockets. In this configuration it has the same firepower as the Smerch artillery rocket system. Alternatively the launcher vehicle can carry two pods with a total of 30 smaller 220 mm rockets. In this configuration the Uragan-1M has nearly twice the power of the original Uragan, which carries 16 rockets. The rocket pods are factory fitted and sealed for easier transportation, storage and faster reloading. The Uragan-1M is capable of firing single rockets, partial ripples or full salvos.

A standard 300 mm rocket is 7.6 m long and weights 800 kg. Warhead weights 280 kg. A number of warheads are available, including HE-FRAG, fuel-air explosive, incendiary, cluster with anti-personnel and anti-tank submunitions or self-guided anti-tank munitions. Maximum range of fire is 70 km with ordinary and 90 km with extended-range rockets. Some sources report that the Uragan-1M can also use newly-developed 300 mm rockets with a maximum range of 120 km. A full salvo of two 300 mm pods covers an area of up to 67 hectares.

A standard 220 mm rocket is 4.8 m long and weights 280 kg. Warhead weight is 90-100 kg, depending on the type. A number of warheads are available including training, HE-FRAG, chemical, incendiary, fuel-air explosive, cluster rockets with scatterable anti-tank or anti-personnel mines. These are used for remote mine laying. Also there are leaflet dispensing rockets. Maximum range of fire with 222 mm rockets is up to 34 km. A full salvo of two 220 mm pods covers an area of 8 hectares.

The use of two pods makes the Uragan-1M more versatile than the single-pod HIMARS launcher. The Uragan-1M, manned by a crew of three, weighs 31.2 tons without any pods and over 42 tons with a pod. The Uragan-1M is based on a Belarusian MZKT-7930 special wheeled chassis with 8×8 configuration. Vehicle is powered by a turbocharged diesel engine, developing 500 hp. Vehicle has an armored cab, which provides some degree of protection for the crew. It’s capable of doing 70 kph on a highway and can switch from cruise to combat in 20 seconds. The cruise range is 1,000 km.

All processes in Uragan-1M are fully automated. The electronic equipment installed on the system facilitates networking with reconnaissance assets and other strike complexes, making it possible to carry out strikes in real time with high efficiency.

Conceptually, the Uragan-1M is a more advanced MLRS system than even the HIMARS. The system carries more rockets and has the ability to carry rockets of different calibers simultaneously. Currently, only the 300 mm rockets of the system are known to be guided. In the future, the 220 mm rockets could also feature SATNAV guidance.

Deploying the Uragan-1M to Ukraine could involve delivering a small batch to evaluate the material’s performance, with the potential for mass production if successful, or it could be in the finalization phase. Finalization in military vehicle development includes rigorous testing, evaluation, and adjustments to ensure compliance with performance, durability, and reliability standards. This step is essential to ensure the vehicle’s readiness for deployment across various operational scenarios.

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