During the 1979 Sino-Vietnam border conflict, Chinese Forces captured Russian BM-21 Grad MLRS vehicles. In true Chinese fashion the vehicle was reverse engineered in to the wheeled Type 81.
TThe Chinese Type 81 122mm MLRS artillery rocket system was introduced in 1981 and entered PLA service in 1982.
Most PLA motorised infantry divisions have a Type 81 battalion (18 units) in their subordinated artillery regiment.
The rocket launcher is mounted on a Yan’an SX2150 6X6 truck. The electrically powered launcher has four rows of 10 tubes mounted above each other on a rotating cradle assembly. The launch tubes have an elevation range of 0° to 55°and the unguided rockets are fired to a maximum range of 20km.
The rocket launcher can be operated in manual, semi-automatic, or automatic modes. The electrical firing system fires the rockets in either single or in salvo with 0.5 seconds interval. The launcher can be operated inside the driver’s cab or remotely outside the vehicle. The Type 81 can fire 40 rockets in 20 seconds. The reloading by its 7-man crew takes 8 minutes.
The Chinese Type 81 122mm MLRS Specifications
Rocket calibre: 122mm
Number of tubes: 40
Rocket length: 2.87mm
Launch tube length: 3m
Rocket weight: 66.8kg
Muzzle velocity: 50.7m/s
Max speed: 692m/s
Max firing range: 20km
Rate of fire: 40 rounds in 20 seconds
Reloading time: 8 minutes
Vehicle combat weight: 15.5 tonne
Top speed: 70km/h (road); 20km/h (off-road)
Operational range: 600km