Armed Forces

Ukraine Modernizes Its Rocket Artillery

Ukrainian Army is going to, within the upcoming months, receive new, automatic “Vierba” multiple rocket launchers, replacing the Russian made BM-21 Grad systems. The design created by the Kharkiv Morozov’s Machinery Design Bureau is based on the Ukrainian components. It is going to outperform its post-soviet ancestor within the scope of manoeuvrability, time in which it gets ready to fire and when it comes to the loading speed. 

In case of the “Vierba” launcher, numerous changes have been applied, starting from the carrier. Instead of a Russian-made Ural chassis, the launcher utilizes the Ukrainian 6x6 KrAZ-6322 truck with a cabin which is able to accommodate five persons. Thanks to the above, not only are the driving characteristics better, but also the vehicle may be also manufactured, without any dependence on the parts supplied from Russia. Contrary to BM-21 Grad, the launcher is highly automated. Processes, efficiency of which has been enhanced, include loading, aiming, and launching of the missiles.

Due to the fact that the rockets are loaded automatically, and there is no need to connect them to a launching system, the whole launch process has been shortened – now it takes ca. 7 minutes. Once a longer frame is used, the autoloader may be applied on the launching platform, which will shorten the time needed to load and prepare the launcher for the next launch – down to ca. 120 seconds. A similar solution has already been proposed in the Kharkiv-developed “Bastion-2” system, and in the “Langusta-2” launcher, presented by the HSW company, from Poland.

“Vierba” targetting system is also automated, and it is said to be capable of being used with modern command and battlefield management system. GPS system is placed at its heart. The navigational suite has been manufactured by the Ukrainian Orizon-Navigation company, specializing in creating GPS/GLONASS devices. Thanks to precise positioning, the accuracy is greatly increased, both when the vehicle is on the move, as well as when the vehicle stays at the firing position.

Moreover, there is an option of using special extended range rockets, doubling the range from 20 to 40 kilometers for the modernized variant of the system, in comparison with the standard BM-21 Grad launcher. When it comes to the combat capabilities, “Vierba” offers a set of features to the Polish WR-40 Langusta system, both when it comes to the performance, as well as within the scope of the solutions used to increase range and firepower. The initial example of the “Vierba” launcher is ready for a test programme. Soon it is going to be delivered to the Ukrainian Army. The less ambitious “Bastion” variant has been presented by the Kharkiv-based Morozov’s bureau in the summer 2014.