Artillery: China Clones Russian Imitation of U.S. Weapon

November 4, 2008: Pakistan is buying some A100 rocket systems from China, for evaluation purposes. The A100 is a reverse engineered Russian BM-30. Both are 300mm rocket launchers. Both employ a 40 ton wheeled vehicle carrying 12 rockets and a crew of three. The BM-30 entered service in the late 1980s, and was seen as the Russian answer to the U.S. MLRS (a 27 ton tracked vehicles carrying twelve, 650 pound, 227mm rockets). All these rockets are more accurate than earlier generations of unguided rockets. The U.S. took this one step further two years ago, when it stopped using unguided rockets. Now only GPS guided MLRS rockets are used, which can reach out as far as 70 kilometers.

Pakistan is looking at the A100 (which fires 550 pound rockets as far as 80 kilometers) because India has bought the BM-30 system. No satellite guided BM-30 or A100 rockets have appeared yet. Russia pioneered the development of modern battlefield rockets in the late 1930s, but the U.S. introduction of the high-tech MLRS in the early 1980s made these weapons much more effective.

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