Artillery: Russia Improvises


August 2, 2023: By 2023 Russia has to improvise to replace its heavy artillery losses in Ukraine. Russian manufacturers were unable to replace the losses because some key components were imported from NATO countries that had banned exports to Russia. One of the improvisations was to mount A-22 MLRS (multiple rocket launcher) system on the MT-LB armored tractor. The A-22 has launch tubes for 22 140mm unguided rockets. This launcher was designed for use on ships and the fire control was provided by the ship-based DVU-3-BS rangefinder. DVU-3 was too bulky to fit on the MT-LB so a less accurate improvised fire control system was installed. It does not make much difference because the 140mm rockets have a max range of 8 kilometers and are meant to be fired all at once towards an area, not a specific target.

The first MLRS systems were Russian improvisations created during World War II. During the 1930s Russia invented the modern solid fuel rocket motor that made possible various caliber rockets used in multiple rocket launchers. The first MLRS vehicles were truck-mounted to provide mobility for reaching a firing location and for quickly moving after launching all its rockets at once to avoid return fire from enemy artillery. It took 30 minutes or more to reload an MLRS and this had to be done where enemy fire was unlikely. The Russian MLRS systems were an unpleasant surprise for German invaders during 1942. Germany copied the MLRS idea but never produced or used as many MLRS and rockets as the Russians. Russia continued upgrading its MLRS systems and rockets since World War II. Russia keeps a lot of older MLRS systems in storage along with older armored vehicles like the MT-LB.




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