Vilkha M is a development of the BM-30 Smerch rocket launch system.

Although Ukraine’s defense industry has made many encouraging achievements in recent years, especially in the field of missiles, financial difficulties make it very difficult for Kiev to implement many promising projects. Vilkha M is a new multiple launch rocket system developed by the State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch” in collaboration with other public and private Ukrainian defence companies.

Vilkha M is a development of the BM-30 Smerch rocket launch system. The MLRS can destroy infantry, armoured, and soft-skinned targets in concentration areas of artillery batteries, command posts, and ammunition depots. It is ten times more accurate than the ageing MLRS platforms in service with the Ukrainian Army. The system will enable Ukraine to protect its borders, straits, and territorial waters, as well as its naval bases and coastal infrastructure within the missile launch range.

The Ukrainian Army accepted the Vilkha M system in 2018, while the serial production of the missile complex began in 2019. The MLRS also received interest from multiple foreign customers. The first export contracts for the MLRS were announced in April 2021. State tests of the Vilkha M system with 120 km range were conducted in October 2021.

Each system is manned by a crew of four and is capable of firing missiles in single or salvo modes. The launch mass of each 300mm Vilkha missile is 800kg. The system can fire 12 missiles in 45 seconds and engage the targets with a circular error probability of less than 30m.

The multiple launch rocket system is based on the chassis of the KrAZ-7634 8×8 truck. The driver’s cab is mounted on the forward left section of the chassis. Power comes from a YaMZ-7511.10 turbocharged diesel engine with 420hp, enables a maximum speed of 100km/h. The rear section of the truck is mounted with two separate banks of four launch tubes with the remaining four tubes above and between the inner tubes of the two banks.

The Vilkha M missile employs a GPS-free guidance system to avoid the risk of signal loss due to satellite-navigation jamming or deceiving attacks. Powered by a solid motor, the rocket can be attached with different types of warheads. It also features an inertial correction system. The truck is also fitted with a pair of circular legs of stabilisation on either side of the chassis.

It is expected that in the near future Ukraine will complete the development of a new generation ballistic missile variant fired from the Vilkha-M complex, with the ability to hit targets at a distance of 200 km or more. Some of the Vilkha-M complexes were used by the Ukrainian Army during the beginning of the war and received very positive reviews. However, the biggest difficulty for Ukraine is that its defense-industrial infrastructure has been destroyed quite badly. It is difficult to mass-produce to meet the requirements of the increasingly fierce battlefield.

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