Artillery: December 26, 2001


: Taiwan has decided to buy locally-designed and built RT2000 mobile rocket launcher vehicles instead of US-built Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. Sixty RT2000s (out of a requirement for 150) are on order. The RT2000 was designed and is built by the Chungshan Institute, which also built the older Kung Feng-6 launchers it is replacing. While the Kung Feng-6 carried only 117mm rockets, the new RT2000 (Thunder 2000) can use three different rocket types:

@ 117mm rockets, 20 per pod, range 15km

@ 180mm rockets, 9 per pod, range 30 km

@ 230mm rockets, 6 per pod, range 45km

The rockets can carry single high-explosive warheads or M77 dual-purpose bomblets (which fire a shaped-charge straight down and scatter fragments horizontally). The Thunder-2000 uses the US-built Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, which can carry two pods. Taiwan says that the Thunder-2000 costs about 1/3 of what the tracked and armored MLRS costs.--Stephen V Cole 


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