With rocket shelling becoming a defining feature of the Ukraine war, Russia is reportedly developing an advanced 300-millimeter Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), “Sarma,” which will complement the existing MLRS in Moscow’s arsenal.
A source told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the brand-new Sarma MLRS would feature increased mobility and be capable of firing guided munitions.
“Enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex are developing a promising MLRS of 300 millimeters “Sarma,” which will be a continuation of the MLRS “Kama,” created on the chassis of KamAZ.”
The source added that the vehicle would have “an advanced automated fire control and guidance system.”
According to the report, the Kama multiple-launch rocket system was presented in 2007 at the MAKS air show. It was a modification of the “Smerch” system with six instead of 12 guides for firing rockets. The system was mounted based on a KamAZ vehicle and was supposed to have greater mobility when driving on highways.
The difference with the Smerch was minimal – instead of a sealed container for missiles, an open MZ-196 was installed on the Kama MLRS. However, it was somewhat more comprehensive and much heavier at about seven tons.
No Kama MLRS was produced for the Russian troops, which may be why the brand-new Sarma MLRS is touted as the continuation of the Kama system.
In the ongoing Ukraine war, Russian troops have deployed an array of rocket launching systems, ranging from archaic Soviet-era equipment to the modern MLRS developed by the Russian Federation. For instance, the troops have extensively deployed the Tornado-S MLRS, a 300mm caliber system.
The Tornado-S is routinely used to fire guided munition on Ukrainian troops and military positions. Such ammo has a satellite-corrected inertial navigation guidance system that enables the Russian troops to hit various targets inside Ukraine with extreme accuracy.
The Tornado-S Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), which the Ukrainians have been using for the past year, has been touted as superior to HIMARS by some experts, as EurAsian Times reported.
The US M142 HIMARS can fire six GPS-guided 227mm rockets that can reach 80 kilometers and are accurate within five to ten meters.
On the other hand, Russian ground forces 9A54 Tornado-S systems can accurately fire twelve 300mm GLONASS-guided rockets at a distance of 120 kilometers. Additionally, the Tornado-S is more efficient thanks to its reduced launch-ready time of just three minutes. It also comes with updated and new payloads.
The “Sarma” MLRS range has not been made clear by the source to RIA Novosti, but the precision-guided munition, which will allow Russia to attack the enemy locations with pinpoint accuracy, could be the system’s defining characteristic.
The system will significantly enhance Russia’s combat capability since Russia is supposedly exhausting its precision-guided missiles by the day.
However, the report stopped short of specifying the schedule under which the Sarma MLRS would be ready for induction by the Russian troops. Despite being under sanctions by the international community, Moscow has continued the development of state-of-the-art weapon systems for its forces.
Meanwhile, Russia’s missile attacks on Ukraine continue unabated, focusing now on hitting Ukraine’s command and decision-making centers.
Surprise Russian Missile Attack Startles Ukraine
On the night of May 31, Kyiv came under a massive missile attack by Russia, which it claims to have successfully repelled. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the capital Kyiv was targeted using Iskander ballistic missiles throughout the night.
However, as per the preliminary data, the Ukrainian military shot down all 10 Iskander ballistic missiles.
The Ukraine MoD tweeted on its official account: “Last night, the Russians attacked Kyiv with 7 Iskander-M ballistic missiles and 3 Iskander-K cruise missiles. All missiles were shot down. Unfortunately, fragments of the destroyed missiles hit an apartment building and a pediatric hospital. Three civilians, including a child, were killed, and ten were injured.”
Last night, the russians attacked Kyiv with 7 Iskander-M ballistic missiles and 3 Iskander-K cruise missiles.
All missiles were shot down.
Unfortunately, fragments of the destroyed missiles hit an apartment building and a pediatric hospital.
3 civilians, including a child, were…
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) June 1, 2023
The attack comes two days after Russia changed tactics and launched a daytime attack on Ukraine using the Iskander missiles. The Russian troops launched a surprise daytime attack on Kyiv on May 29 after bombarding Kyiv and the rest of Ukraine throughout the previous night.
The military forces of Kyiv claimed to have shot down 11 Iskander missiles fired by Russia during the raid. Serhii Popko, the chief of the military administration for Kyiv, claimed that this attack demonstrates how “the enemy changed its tactics” because it did it during the daytime, when most people were at work and outside, as opposed to long-distance attacks that only occurred at night.
However, the Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson, Yury Ihnat, later stated on national television that the Russian military expected to surprise Ukrainian air defenses. However, Ukraine’s air defenses started operating minutes after the explosions were heard in the capital.
“They wanted to take our air defense by surprise after the nighttime attacks, which were carried out with drones and Kh-101 cruise missiles,” Ihnat said.
“They decided to strike at noon in such an unusual way, thinking that the air defense system was reloading somewhere. No, we’re ready; we’re on combat duty 24/7. We’re always ready; that’s why we got such a result. The air defense system worked perfectly yesterday, both at night and at noon.”
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