The Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS

The Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS has to be (or certainly its launcher) the most influential Multiple Rocket Launcher System in the Post World War 2 and Cold War era.

Developed in the 1960’s, it entered service with the Former Soviet Army in 1963 and was heavily exported within WARSAW nations and to many other Soviet friendly nations, thanks to its simplicity in design and production, as well as reliability and lethality.

The vast number of operators has generated a huge demand for the supply of its 122mm rockets and like anything that is manufactured in vast volumes, this drives down the production costs and making it a very cost effective form of artillery, which has seen in the last few years the launcher system integrated into a number of new modern MLRS vehicles.


The Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS Original Russian Model

Launcher – Its comprised of 40 launching tubes, which are 122mm calibre. All 40 rockets can be fired within 20 seconds, but can also be fired individually or in small groups in several-second intervals.

Targets are acquired by a PG-1M panoramic telescope sight with a K-1 collimator mounted on the rear of the vehicle and the launcher is then elevated and directed to hit the target. The 4 man crew fire the rockets from within in the cab or from a trigger at the end of a 64m cable.

The rockets when fired are unguided, but stabilised in flight by an imparted spin from the rifling in the launching tubes.

Truck –  The Launcher originally was mounted on the Ural-375D 6×6 truck chassis. It used a ZiL-375 180hp V8 engine giving it a top road speed of 75 km/h and operational range 405km.  In 1976, the BM-21 was mounted on the newer Ural-4320 6×6 army truck.

The original Ural-375D 6×6 truck chassis also served as the re-supply truck 9T254 which carried 60 spare rockets.


The Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS Rockets

(Russian types, other 122mm rockets are manufactured around the world)

Origin Ammunition type Maximum range Length Weight Warhead weight
metres miles metres ft & in kg lb kg lb
9M22U (M-21OF) USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 20,380 12.66 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66.6 147 18.4 41
9M28F USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 15,000 9.3 2.27 7 ft 5 in 56.5 125 21.0 46
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 66 150 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
9M521 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 40,000 25 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66 150 21 46
9M522 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 37,500 23.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55

International and modern 122mm MLRS vehicles based on the The Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS

Turkey

T-122 – Click here to view

Serbia

Oganj 2000 ER – Click here to view

Romania

LAROM – Click here to view

Poland

WR-40 Langusta – Click here to view

Israel

GradLAR upgrade – Click here to view

Israel

Lynx – Click here to view

Czechoslovakia

RM-70 series – Click here to view

China

PHZ89 – Click here to view

China

Type 81 122mm – Click here to view

China

Type 90 122mm – Click here to view

Belarus

BM-21A BelGrad – Click here to view


The Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS Operators

Afghanistan – Afghan National Army
Algeria – 250
Angola – 75
Armenia – 50
Azerbaijan – 63
Bangladesh – KRL 122, Type 90B
Belarus – BM-21 and BM-21A “BelGrad”
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 6
Bulgaria – about 192 active, some 200 in storage
Burkina Faso – 10
Central African Republic – 5
Cambodia – 100
Cameroon – 20
Chad – 4
Ivory Coast – 20
Croatia – 64
Cuba – 250
Cyprus – 4
Republic of the Congo – 6
Democratic Republic of the Congo – 6
Djibouti
Ecuador
– 10
Egypt – 215
Eritrea – 25
Ethiopia – 10
Finland – 24 units. Known as 122 RAKH 76. Now withdrawn from service.
Gaza – Hamas and other militants (including Iranian made 20 km range and Chinese 40 km range Grad variants).
Georgia
Greece
– 116 RM-70
Hungary – 46
Indonesia – N/A RM-70 (operated by marines)
India – 150+
Iran – 100+
Iraq – 55
Israel – 50 confiscated from militant groups, not in active service
Kazakhstan – 100
Kyrgyzstan – 21
Lebanon – 30-including some BM-11
Liberia – ?
Libya – ?
Morocco – 36
Mongolia – ?
Macedonia – 12
Mali – 2
Mozambique – 5
Myanmar – 230
Namibia – 4
Nicaragua – 30
Niger – 11 APR-21 and APR-40
North Korea
Pakistan
– 40
Peru – 14
Poland – 219
Romania – 352
Russia – 1,750
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – 10
Somaliland – 75
South Ossetia – 5
Syria – 250
Tajikistan – 10
Tanzania – 48
Turkmenistan – 56
Uzbekistan – 36
Ukraine – 600
Venezuela – 52
Vietnam – 800
Yemen – 280
Zambia – 50
Zimbabwe – 25

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