On December 29, the press service of the Tula-based Splav State Research and Production Enterprise confirmed that the first batch of new Tornado-S long-range multiple rocket launch systems (MRLS) had been delivered to the Army. The system reached initial operational capability in December 2016, with mass production to get into full swing in 2017.
The Tornado-S is a mobile weapons platform consisting of mover vehicle with integrated crew cab and rear-mounted rocket launcher system. It is designed to strike concentrations of forces, soft and hard-skinned targets, artillery and missile systems.
The system boasts an improved range up to 120 km (75 miles) compared to 90 km range of its predecessor (the Smerch). The accuracy is improved thanks to the use of GLONASS navigation satellite system. Launch readiness time: less than 3 min. Salvo time: 6 rounds in 20 seconds. Reload time: 8 min.
The system features a new automated guidance and fire-control capability to coordinate the combat activities of an entire artillery battalion. The MLRS is also capable of automatically calculating target data.
The new guided rocket launched from 6 artillery tubes has a diameter of 300 millimeter. Dispersion area: 676,000 square meters (7,276,403 square feet), which is roughly equal to at least 100 football fields. According to Russian Zvezda news network, a full salvo of the sophisticated Tornado-S multiple launch rocket system can be compared to a nuclear bombardment as far as killing power is concerned. 300mm is the main caliber but the launcher is capable of supporting 122m and 220m rockets, if need be.
Mounted on the chassis of a KamAZ-63501 8x8 military truck, the Tornado-S system can fire single shots as well as full salvos of 12 guided rockets. They can be launched singularly, by a partial ripple or by a full salvo.
Reloaded within 8 minutes, the Tornado-S can be swiftly moved, before the first of its missiles hits the ground. When the last missile explodes, destroying the target, the system itself could have been moved several kilometres away from the site.
The KamAZ-63501 8x8 heavy utility truck provides good tactical mobility. It has a payload capacity of 15 000 kg. A single container with six launcher tubes for 300-mm rockets can fire all types of rockets, including high explosive fragmentary, incendiary, thermobaric, and cluster with anti-personnel or anti-tank mines.
The weapons system is equipped with an automated laying and all-digital fire control system, along with autonomous satellite navigation and positioning system. Positioning and firing data are exchanged between the launch vehicle and the command vehicle. Thanks to high level of automation, a typical crew is limited to two men only, including a driver.
The vehicle’s weight is 24, 5 tons, length: 11, 2 m, width: 2, 5 m, and a height of 3, 15 m.
The KamAZ-63501 has fixtures for transportation of standard removable containers. A standard troop/cargo body has drop sides, drop tailgate and removable tarpaulin with bows. It has a three-person cab with a sleeping berth. This cab can be fitted with add-on armor kit.
The KamAZ-740.50.360 turbocharged diesel engine’s power is 360 hp. It has a full-time all-wheel drive. Maximum road speed: 95 km/h. Operational range: 1,000km. Maneuverability: gradient: 60%, side slope: 40%, vertical step: 0,6m, trench: 0.6 - 1.4 m, fording: 1.75 m.
This military truck is fitted with a central tire inflation system and recovery winch. It also boasts an engine pre-heater, which starts the engine when temperature is as low as -50°C.
The Tornado-S will greatly enhance the Army’s firepower and allow Russian maintain its traditional technological lead in the multiple rocket systems. Meanwhile, Russia is developing new long-range multiple-launch rocket systems with improved guidance that could allow them to strike targets up to 200 km (120 miles) away.