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BM-21 Grad


9K51 | NATO: M1964


Overview


2B17 launch vehicle

Russian army 2B17 launch vehicle during an exercise with 9K51 Grad systems in 2011.
Source: Vitaly V. Kuzmin - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Multiple rocket launcher
Entered service
1963
Status
In service
Development
1959 - 1963
Developer
Soviet Union - NII-117 / NPO Splav (rockets)
Soviet Union - SKB-203 / NPP Start (launch vehicle)
Production
1960 - 1988
Producer
Soviet Union - Motovilikha plant
Number produced
Over 8.500 launch vehicles
Designations
9K51 (GRAU index for system)
M1964 (NATO reporting name)
Notable users
Soviet Union
Russia

Description


Introduction

The BM-21 Grad is an early Cold War era multiple rocket launcher of Soviet origin. It is an iconic Soviet weapon system that remains in widespread use today.

Design

The BM-21 Grad uses a 40 tube launcher mounted on a turntable at the rear of an Ural-375D tactical truck. At later stages newer vehicles were used as chassis and many nations have developed domestic variants. The launcher is trained onto by hand using an indirect fire sight attached to the left side of the launcher. The 122mm artillery rockets are spin stabilized and feature wrap around tailfins. Various types of warhead exist. The rockets are reloaded by hand, sometimes with the aid of a special transloader vehicle.

Firepower

The BM-21 fires spin stabilized 122mm rockets. A variety of warheads is available, with HE-Fragmentation being most common. The standard range of rockets has a range of 20 km. In Russia and abroad several families of rockets with 30 km and 40 km range have been developed. Often these newer rockets are in use as a supplement to the original ones. All 40 rockets can be ripple fired in 20 seconds.

Mobility

The BM-21 Grad is based on a Ural 6x6 tactical truck chassis. This provides good mobility both on and off road. The V8 petrol engine provides a maximum road speed of 75 km/h.

Protection

The BM-21 Grad system is based around softskin tactical trucks. These vehicles do not provide protection against direct fire, indirect fire or NBC threats. The long range and the mobility of the systems are its only protection. After firing a salvo the BM-21 launch vehicles should relocate in order to avoid counter battery fire.

Users

The BM-21 Grad is the most widely used multiple rocket launcher ever developed. It was used in very large quantities by Soviet and some Warsaw Pact forces. Many systems were exported to Soviet allies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Furthermore, many nations have developed their own improved variants. Most of these remain compatible with original Grad rockets, but also use newer and longer range variants.

Variants


2B5 launch vehicle

Initial launch vehicle design as introduced in 1963. Based on Ural 375D 6x6 truck chassis with petrol engine.

2B17 launch vehicle

Improved launch vehicle based on Ural 4320 6x6 truck chassis with diesel engine. Also known as BM-21-1.

2B26 launch vehicle

Service life extension of older 2B5 launch vehicles by mounting the launcher on a KamAZ-5350 6x6 truck chassis. Refit carried out by Motovilikha plant since 2010's.

Details


Facts BM-21 Grad
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Multiple rocket launcher
Crew
3
Dimensions
Weight
13.7 t combat load
Length
7.35 m
Width
2.69 m
Height
2.85 m
Main armament
Type
122mm 9M22 Grad artillery rocket
Launcher
40-tube launcher
Ammunition
40 rockets, all ready to fire
Elevation
0 to +55°, manual
Traverse
120° left, 60° right, manual
Rate of fire
40 rockets in 20 seconds
Range
20.4 km for 9M22
Chassis
Chassis model
Ural-375D truck
Chassis type
Wheeled chassis, 6x6
Wheelbase
3.50 m + 1.40 m
Tread
1.6 m
Tire size
14.00 x20
Automotive
Engine model
ZiL-375
Engine type
7 liter V8 petrol
Power output
180 hp at 3.200 rpm
Transmission
Manual, 5 forward, 1 reverse
Fuel
360 L
Mobility
Speed
75 km/h on road
Range
550 km on road
Turn radius
10.5 m
Power to weight ratio
13.1 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.3 m
Wall
0.65 m
Trench
0.9 m
Gradient
60 %
Fording
1.5 m
Protection
Armor type
None, softskin vehicle
NBC system
No
Smoke system
No
Fire suppression
No
Equipment
Night vision
No
Fire control
Indirect fire sight mounted on launcher
Radio
No

Systems based on BM-21 Grad


9K54 Grad-V

The 9K54 Grad-V is a lightweight variant of the BM-21 Grad developed for airborne forces. It can be airdropped by parachute platform from a transport aircraft. It uses the shorter range 9M28 series of artillery rockets.

9K55 Grad-1

The Soviet 9K55 Grad-1 is a lighter weight BM-21 system based on the ZiL-131 series of tactical trucks. It was developed for use by the naval infantry and uses the shorter range 9M28 series of 122mm artillery rockets.

RM-70

Czechoslovakian variant of the BM-21 Grad. Based on a larger Tatra 8x8 truck chassis featuring an armored cab for increased battlefield survivability. First design to feature an additional 40 rockets in a frame that allows for a quick reload of the launcher. This feature was added to many foreign improvements of the BM-21 Grad system.

PHL81

Chinese copy of Soviet BM-21 Grad. Based on SX2150 6x6 truck chassis. Known as Type 81 before being renamed PHL81 under the new Chinese naming system.

PHZ89

Chinese tracked multiple rocket launcher. Similar to PHL81, but mounted on a tracked chassis with light armor. Forty additional rockets are carried in an armored bin in front of the launcher.

Media


Related articles


BM-14

The BM-21 Grad was developed as a more capable successor to the Soviet BM-14. The BM-21 Grad has twice the effective range, is more accurate and retains the low cost and mobility associated with the BM-14.