Multiple rocket launcher
Smerch, Tornado (Russian nickname)
M1983 (NATO reporting name)
1989 - present
- UNIT COST
Various warheads available
Large and heavy
Lack of armor protection
The BM-30 Smerch is a multiple rocket launcher of Soviet origin. Due to its firepower and range it is one of the most powerful conventional artillery systems. It was developed in the 1980's, partly in response to the US MLRS system. The name Smerch is Russian for tornado.
The BM-30 is based on the large MAZ-543 8x8 truck chassis and features a trainable 12 round launcher for 300mm artillery rockets. The 300mm solid fuel rockets are unguided and spin stabilized and feature wrap around folding fins.
BM-30 is able to launch all 12 300mm rockets in 38 seconds. The rockets have a range of 70 or 90 km and may feature a wide variety of warheads. Reloading takes about 20 minutes. There is no secondary armament. The range and firepower makes the BM-30 one of the most powerful contemporary artillery systems.
The BM-30 is an unarmored system that is vulnerable to any kind of direct and indirect fire. Its long range allows it to engage many enemy systems beyond their maximum range.
The MAZ-543 8x8 truck on which the BM-30 is based has a good mobility, both on and off road. A 525 hp diesel engine provides propulsion and allows road speeds of up to 65 km/h.
For a large caliber rocket artillery system the BM-30 has been produced in large quantities. It is in service with Russian forces and has been exported to a variety of Asian and Middle Eastern nations with good ties to Russia.
9A52 launch vehicle
The 9A52 is the standard and most common version of the BM-30 Smerch. The original 9A52-1 is based on the MAZ-543 chassis and the newer 9A52-2 on the similar but more modern MAZ-79111.
The 9T234 is a transloader based on the same chassis as the launch vehicle. It carries additional ammunition and a crane for reloading the launch vehicle.
9A52-2T launch vehicle
The 9A52-2T is an export version of the BM-30 Smerch that is based on a Tatra T816 10x10 truck chassis. The launcher and capabilities are similar to the systems based on the MAZ chassis. The 9T234-2T transloader is based the same 10x10 chassis.