BM-21 "Grad"
A Russian BM-21-1 on display in Saint Petersburg in May 2009
TypeMultiple rocket launcher
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1963–present
Used bySee operators
Wars
Production history
DesignerSplav State Research and Production Enterprise
Designed1963
ManufacturerSplav State Research and Production Enterprise
Produced1963–present
No. built98,670+[citation needed]
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications (9K51)
Mass13.71 tonnes (30,225 lb)
Length7.35 m (24 ft 1 in)
Barrel length3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Width2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
Height3.09 m (10 ft 2 in)
Crew3

Caliber122 mm
Barrels40
Rate of fire2 rounds/s
Muzzle velocity690 m/s (2,264 ft/s)
Maximum firing range0.5–52 km
SightsPG-1M panoramic telescope

EngineV8 gasoline ZiL-375
180 hp (130 kW)
Suspension6×6 wheeled
Operational
range
405 km (251 mi)
Maximum speed 75 km/h (47 mph)

The BM-21 "Grad" (Russian: БМ-21 "Град", lit.'hailstorm') is a self-propelled 122 mm multiple rocket launcher designed in the Soviet Union.[8] The system and the M-21OF rocket[9] were first developed in the early 1960s, and saw their first combat use in March 1969 during the Sino-Soviet border conflict.[10] BM stands for boyevaya mashina (Russian: боевая машинаcombat vehicle), and the nickname grad means "hail". The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket is designated as the M-21 field-rocket system. The complete system is more commonly known as a Grad multiple rocket launcher system.

In NATO countries the system, either the complete system or the launch vehicle only, was initially known as the M1964. Several other countries have copied the Grad or have developed similar systems. In Russian service its intended replacement is the 9A52-4 Tornado. Many similar 122 mm MLRS systems are made by different countries based on the BM-21 Grad.

Description

A BM-21-1 launch vehicle during a military parade in Yekaterinburg, May 2009.

The M-21 field rocket system with a BM-21 launch vehicle (122 mm multiple rocket launcher (MRL) system) entered service with the Soviet Army in 1963 to replace the aging 140 mm BM-14 system. The launch vehicle consists of a Ural-375D 6x6 truck chassis fitted with a bank of 40 launch tubes arranged in a rectangular shape that can be turned away from the unprotected cab.

The vehicle is powered by a water-cooled V8 180 hp gasoline engine, has a maximum road speed of 75 km/h (47 mph), a road range of up to 750 kilometers (470 mi), and can cross fords up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) deep. The original vehicle together with supporting equipment (including the resupply truck 9T254 with 60 rockets) is referred to by the GRAU index "9K51". The launcher itself has the industrial index of "2B5". In 1976, the BM-21 was mounted on the newer Ural-4320 6x6 army truck.[citation needed]

The three-member crew can emplace the system and have it ready to fire in three minutes. The crew can fire the rockets from the cab or from a trigger at the end of a 64-meter (210 ft) cable. All 40 rockets can be away in as little as 20 seconds, and can be fired individually or in small groups in several-second intervals. A PG-1M panoramic telescope with a K-1 collimator can be used for sighting.[citation needed]

Each 2.87-meter (9 ft 5 in) rocket is slowly spun by rifling in its tube as it exits, which along with its primary fin stabilization keeps it on course. Rockets armed with high explosive-fragmentation, incendiary, or chemical warheads can be fired 20 kilometers (12 mi). Newer high explosive and cargo rockets (used to deliver anti-personnel or antitank mines) have a range of 30 kilometers (19 mi) and more. Warheads weigh around 20 kilograms (44 lb), depending on the type.[citation needed]

The number of rockets that each vehicle is able to quickly bring to bear on an enemy target makes it effective, especially at shorter ranges. One battalion of eighteen launchers is able to deliver 720 rockets in a single volley. The system has lower precision than gun artillery and cannot be used in situations that call for pinpoint accuracy. It relies on a large number of shells dissipating over an area for a certain hit rate on specific targets. Because of the short warning time for the impact of the whole volley, the BM-21 is still considered an effective weapon.[citation needed]

Variants

A BM-21 launch vehicle.
The 9P138 launch vehicle of the Grad-1 multiple rocket launcher system.
A BM-21V VDV variant.

Russia

A Grad-P single tube launcher system

Adaptations of the launcher were/are produced by several countries including China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Poland and Romania.

Belarus

A Belarusian BM-21A "BelGrad"

China

A WS-22 SPMRL of the Bangladesh Army.

Croatia

A LRSV-122 M-96 "Tajfun

Georgia

A Georgian RS-122, a heavily upgraded and automated version of the Soviet BM-21 based on the Ukrainian KrAZ-63221 chassis

Czechoslovakia

A RM-70 launch vehicle, a Czechoslovak variant with the BM-21 launch vehicle launcher unit.

Czech Republic

Pakistan

Pakistan first obtained these MRLS from China in few numbers (52+ Chinese Type-83) and then reverse engineered to develop these multiple rockets indigenously by KRL (Khan Research laboratories). The new missile system were developed with 16 modernization by Pakistani Engineers. A vertical stabilizer was added to the launcher that improved its accuracy. The new indigenously reverse engineered system were named KRL-Ghadab. the range of the indigenously developed rockets were increased to 45Km with <1% CEP.

Poland

A WR-40 Langusta, a deeply modernized and automated version, of the Soviet BM-21 based on the Jelcz P662D.35 6x6 truck, displayed at the MSPO 2007.

Egypt

The Egyptians domestically manufacture the rockets Sakr-18 and Sakr-36, with a respective range of 18 km (11 mi) and 36 km (22 mi), and the latest Sakr-45 with a superior range of 45 km (28 mi). Rather than a standard HE-Frag round, the Egyptian military prefers a 23-kilogram (51 lb) cluster munition, which can be extremely effective against lightly armored equipment and troop concentrations. Both rockets, as well as the original Soviet models of course, are fired by locally manufactured rocket launchers like the RL-21 (copy of BM-11) and RC-21 (copy of BM-21, similar to the Hadid HM20). The Helwan Machine Tools Company also produces portable systems with one, three, four and eight launch tubes.

Gaza Strip

Since 2006 Hamas has fired 122 mm Grad rockets, copies made in Iran, and Eastern-bloc versions modified to expand their range, into Israel.[20] The rockets were believed to be brought into the Gaza Strip via tunnels from Egypt.[20] Some of the rockets were of a Chinese Grad variant.[21] Hamas sources said they were pleased by the performance of the Chinese variants of the BM-21 Grad rocket, which demonstrated a far greater range and blast impact than Palestinian-made rockets, as well as Russian-origin Grads or Katyushas.[21][22]

Hamas have used small man-portable single-tube launchers for rockets in attacks against Israel, designated 122 mm 9P132/BM-21-P.[23] The 122 mm Grad rockets used in Gaza have a range of about 40 km (25 mi), and can reach the Israeli towns of Ashdod, Beer-Sheva, Ofakim, Gedera, Kiryat Gat, Ashqelon, Sderot, Rehovot, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne. They also published a clip claiming device mounted used as a multi-barrel rocket launcher on vehicle used for first time in Gaza.[24] On 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome system successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza for the first time. The rockets were launched without their dedicated platforms and by untrained operators which causes very low accuracy. Over 50% of the rockets miss entire cities and over 10% end up hitting the sea.[25]

Ethiopia

The Homicho Ammunition Engineering Complex produces the rockets while the Bishoftu Motorization Engineering Complex produces the launching tubes and has converted existing trucks to diesel engine. Bishoftu motorization has also produced a six tube launcher to be mounted on light trucks.

North Korea

Iran

D.I.O. from Iran produces copies of the BM-11 and BM-21 systems that can fire the original Soviet rockets as well as the locally developed "Arash" with a range of 20.5 km (12.7 mi). There is also a rocket with a range of 75 km (47 mi).

Iraq

Various 122 mm-type rockets were deployed by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, modified to deliver nerve agents to targets. This included the 40-inch long, domestically produced Grad MLRS-compatible "Borak" warhead designed to disperse sarin gas.[26]

Italy

Produced a limited number of FIROS 25 and 30 rocket launchers. They had the same configuration, exactly 40 rockets 122 mm caliber, compatible also with BM-21 launcher. Range about 25-32 km, sold to Libya, United Arab Emirates and probably other customers. About 150 produced in '80s-'90s.

Pakistan

HIT Al-Khalid MBTs and KRL-122 MLRS in action during Exercise Raad-ul-Barq in 2016.

Romania

Serbia

A Serbian LRSVM Morava

South Africa

Thailand

Ukraine

A Ukrainian BM-21 Bastion-1 based on a KrAZ-260 chassis

Projectiles

The original "Grad" rocket has a range of about 20 kilometers (12 mi). The first modification called "G-M" increased the range to about 27.5 kilometers (17.1 mi), while the second modification "G-2000" further increased the range to about 40 kilometers (25 mi).[36] The latest technology development has allowed new Grad rockets to have 52 km range.[37] The range may also vary due to the type of warhead.

The 9M22S munition (see below) was developed by NPO Splav during the Soviet era.[38][39] Instead of a high-explosive fragmentation warhead, the 9M22S rocket carries a warhead containing 180 separate 9N510 incendiary elements.[40] Designed to ignite vegetation, storage facilities, or fuel, these incendiary elements consist of hexagonal prisms made from a magnesium alloy known to the Russian GOST as ML-5,[41][42] filled with a thermite mixture.[43] Each element has a nominal length of 40 mm and a width of 25 mm and a burning time of at least 2 minutes. It is also noted that the effect of these incendiary, as well as conventional lighting munitions (especially at night), outwardly resembles the use of phosphorus munitions.[38]

Origin Ammunition type Minimum range Maximum range Length Weight Warhead weight Effective damage radius
metres miles metres miles metres ft in kg lb kg lb
9M22U (M-21OF) USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 5,000 3.1 20,380 12.66 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66.6 147 18.4 41
9M18 USSR/Russia POM-2 submunitions
9M28F USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 1,500 0.93 15,000 9.3 2.27 7 ft 5 in 56.5 125 21.0 46.3
9M28K USSR/Russia Anti-tank mines 13,400 8.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 57.7 127 22.8 50
9M43 USSR/Russia Smoke 20,000 12 2.95 9 ft 8 in 66 146 20.2 45
9M217 USSR/Russia Anti-tank submunitions 30,000 19 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
9M218 USSR/Russia HEAT submunitions 30,000 19 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
9M519 USSR/Russia RF jammer 18,500 11.5 3.04 10 ft 0 in 66 146 18.4 41
9M521 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 40,000 25 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66 146 21 46
9M522 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 37,500 23.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
PRC-60 USSR/Russia Underwater charge (for BM-21PD) 300 0.19 5,000 3.1 2.75 9 ft 0 in 75.3 166 20 44
Type 90A China Fragmentation-HE 12,700 7.9 32,700 20.3 2.75 9 ft 0 in 18.3 40
M21-OF-FP Romania Fragmentation-HE 5,000–6,000 3.1–3.7 20,400 12.7 2.87 9 ft 5 in 65.4 144 6.35 14.0
M21-OF-S Romania Fragmentation-HE 1,000 0.62 12,700 7.9 1.927 6 ft 3.9 in 46.6 103 6.35 14.0
Edepro G2000/52 Serbia Fragmentation-HE 52,000 32 2.862 9 ft 4.7 in 64.4 142 19.0 41.9
Sakr-45A Egypt AT / AP submunitions 42,000 26 3.31 10 ft 10 in 67.5 149 24.5 54
Sakr-45B Egypt Fragmentation-HE 45,000 28 2.9 9 ft 6 in 63.5 140 20.5 45
9M22S USSR/Russia Incendiary 1,500 0.93 19,890 12.36 2.97 9 ft 9 in 66 146 17.8 39
9M28S USSR/Russia Incendiary 1,650 1.03 15,070 9.36 2.318 7 ft 7.3 in 53 117 17.8 39

Also Incendiary, Chemical, Illumination, Antipersonnel mines.

Operators

A map of BM-21 operators in blue with former operators in red
A fired 122mm projectile of a RM-70 multiple rocket launcher stuck in muddy land in Vakarai, Batticaloa during the Sri Lankan Civil War (2007).
A Djiboutian Army Rocket Launcher.
A BM-21 on display near the Karen Demirchyan Complex, Yerevan, Armenia
An upgraded 9P138 "Grad-1" rocket artillery system of the Myanmar Army.

Current operators

 Djibouti

 Ecuador: 18 as of 2016[65] and mounted on a KAMAZ chassis since 2019[66]

Former operators

Evaluation only

See also

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Bibliography