The Czechoslovakian RM-70 MLRS series

The BM-21 launch vehicle (Russian: БМ-21 “Град”), a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm MLRS, which fires the M-21OF rocket, which were developed in the early 1960s. It was heavily exported and manufactured in WARSAW and Russian Allied nations such as the former Czechoslovakia.

In 1972 the Czechoslovakian army introduced its own version of the BM-21 designated the RM-70. It saw the Russian Ural-375D 6×6 truck with which the launcher was mounted on replaced with a Czechoslovakian Tatra T813 “Kolos” 8×8 truck. The new vehicle provides enough space for carrying 40 additional 122mm rockets in a mechanical reloading rack behind the cab.

The Czechoslovakian RM-70 MLRS series missiles

JROF range 20.75km
JROF-K range of 11km
Trnovnik containing 63 HEAT-bomblets range of 17.5km
Kuš five PPMI-S1 anti-personnel mines
Krizhna-R with 4 anti-tank mines

The Czechoslovakian RM-70 MLRS series Variants

With the peaceful break up of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, the existing vehicles were split between both countries and have received various modifications/upgrades.

RM-70/85 – Un-armoured version of the RM-70, based on the Tatra T815 VPR9 8×8.1R truck with 265hp engine T3-930-51. Combat weight: 26.1 t. Sometimes called RM-70M.

RM-70/85M – Modernised vehicle with new fire control and navigation equipment, can use a new type of rocket with a range of 36 km. Slovakia has ordered 50 upgrade packages.

RM-70 Modular – In December 2000, the Slovak Ministry of Defence and Delta Defence started the RM-70 Modular German-Slovak modernization project. RM-70 Modular allows this artillery system to launch either twenty-eight 122mm rockets, or six 227mm rockets as used on the M270 MLRS. This way the system became fully NATO interoperable. The truck cabin is entirely armoured. The Slovak Republic signed for 26 upgraded artillery systems with the first one delivered on May 20, 2005. RM-70 Modular is being offered as an upgrade for RM-70.

The Czechoslovakian RM-70 MLRS series Operators

Angola – 58
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Czech Republic
– 60 RM-70
Ecuador – 8 RM-70
Finland – 36 RM-70/85 (locally known as 122 RakH 89)
Georgia – 16 RM-70
East Germany – 265 RM-70 and RM-70M; delivered to Greece after the collapse of the GDR
Greece – 116 RM-70 (former German)
Indonesia – 7 RM-70
– 46 RM-70
– 30 RM-70/85
Rwanda – 5
Slovakia – 87 RM-70/85
Sri Lanka – 30+ RM-70 and RM-70M
– 4 RM-70
– 52 RM-70/85

The Czechoslovakian RM-70 MLRS series Spec’s

In service 1972-present
Wars 2008 South Ossetia war, Sri Lankan Civil War
Weight 33.7 tonnes
Length 8.75m (28.70 ft)
Width 2.5m (8.20 ft)
Height 2.7m (8.85 ft)
Crew 6
Calibre 122.4mm (4.8 in)
Launcher tubes 40
Maximum rocket range 20 km (12 mi)
Armour Steel
Secondary weapon Universal machine gun vz. 59
Engine T-903-3 V-12 multi-fuel 250 hp (184 kW)
Suspension 8×8 wheeled
Operational range 400 km (216 nm)
Speed 85 km/h (53 mph)