Artillery: The Flatbed Terror

Archives

April 12, 2013: A UAE (United Arab Emirates) company (Jobaria) has developed a unique artillery system. The MCL (Multiple Cradle Launcher) is an armored tractor hauling a flatbed trailer on which is mounted three automatically aimed launch turrets, each holding two pods each containing 40 122mm or 107mm rockets. Thus one MCL system can carry and launch 240 rockets in less than a minute. Reloading is fast (less than ten minutes) but requires trucks, with a crane, carrying 20 tons of rockets (in six pods). The big savings is in manpower, as each MCL only requires a crew of three.

The MCL uses rockets that are made by dozens of manufacturers. The 122mm rockets are based on the Russian BM-21 design. Each of these rockets has a range of 20-40 kilometers. The 122mm rockets weigh 68.2 kg (150 pounds) and are 2.9 meters (nine feet) long. These have 20.5 kg (45 pound) warheads but not much accuracy because they are unguided. These rockets are only effective if fired in salvos or at large targets (like cities, large military bases, or industrial complexes). The longer range ones have smaller warheads and larger rocket motors, giving them a range of up to 40 kilometers.

The smaller 107mm rockets have less range (six kilometers) and are based on the Russian BM-12 design. The 107mm rocket weighs 19 kg (42 pounds) and is 84 cm (33 inch) long. This rocket has a range of 6-12 kilometers and 1.35 kg (three pounds) of explosives in its warhead. There are BM-12 variants which have a smaller warhead and larger rocket motor, which gives it a max range of 12 kilometers.

What could make the MCL truly terrifying would be the use of the GPS guided rockets that are becoming increasingly common. It was not easy getting the mechanical and electronic components to fit effectively in these small unguided rockets, but in the last few years several companies (including one in the UAE) have turned 70mm unguided rockets (long popular as aircraft and helicopter weapons) into laser guided missiles. Turning the 122mm rockets into GPS guided missiles would enable an MCL to hit over 200 targets with great accuracy in less than a minute. That would be a formidable artillery weapon.

For the last decade the UAE has been encouraging local companies to develop weapons for use by local forces and export markets. So far this has resulted in UAE firms manufacturing military trucks, guided missiles, and small arms.

 


Article Archive

Artillery: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close