Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chinese 300 mm PHL03 / PHL96 / AR1 / AR1A / AR2 / AR3 MLRS

During the nineties, China imported a number of Russian 300 mm BM-30/9A52 Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), which were mounted on a Chinese chassis instead of the original MAZ chassis and designated the PHL96.

This system was used as a basis to develop their own MLRS version with the designation PHL03, which retained the original Russian configuration with 12 rocket tubes.

Other versions with alternative configurations were developed by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), primarily for the export market:
  • the AR2 is the export designation of the PHL03 in service with the Chinese army with identical configuration
  • the AR1 variant with 2 x 4 tube layout enabled faster reloading by swapping out just 2 boxes with 4 tubes each
  • the AR1A variant is similar to the AR1 with the difference being each box containing 5 tubes in a 2 x 5 layout
  • the AR3 variant can also mount heavier 2 x 4 370 mm rockets as well as the original 300 mm rockets

Another variant to appear on the export market was the A100. Unlike the previous system, this variant was developed by China Precision Machinery Import Export Corporation (CPMIEC) and carries 10 300 mm rocket tubes in a 3-4-3 layout.

Various rocket types have already been developed for the PHL03, including:
  • high explosive, fragmentation
  • thermobaric
  • incendiary
  • cluster munition, anti-personnel 
  • cluster munition, anti-tank minelets
  • sensor fuzed, smart submunition
The up to 100 km range 300 mm rockets, depending on type, can also be used to carry special payloads, such as for aerial reconnaissance.

While the Chinese and Russian rockets are similar in dimensions, according to their Chinese manufacturers the Chinese rockets are different internally and incompatible and therefore cannot be substituted for their Russian counterparts.






Credit original poster, via Chinese Internet

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