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Watch How Russian BM-30 Smerch Rockets Use GLONASS Navigation System To Hit Its Target

Russia has reportedly made another major breakthrough in boosting its missile launching capabilities with modernised BM-30 Smerch or 9A53-S Tornado multi-lead rocket launchers with increased strike range to 200 kilometres.


According to local news reports, the Russian Defence Ministry has published the results of the latest missile test which confirms the improvements in the range of the target hitting capabilities of the Soviet Heavy Multiple Launcher.

Earlier, classic missiles used in the Tornado missile-launch systems had a considerably limited range of striking pre-determined targets.

The rocket-launch system makes the long-distance strikes using the “Global Navigation Satellite System” (GLONASS or GNSS), which is a space-based satellite navigation system which provides reliable positioning, navigation and timing services.

The GNSS portal enables the Tornado missile-launch systems to fight dispersed sub-units of the enemies in a single salvo of missiles.

All that is to be done is to set the preferred range and azimuth angle (compass direction from which the sunlight comes) individually for each of the missiles fired. The launch-systems pre-determine the trajectory of the missiles when launched with each of them aiming to hit a specific target using GNSS.

Moreover, the updated BM-30 Smerch possesses the ability to automatically receive and process information from recon units and drones (unmanned aerial vehicles).

The 9A53-S Tornado or Tornado-S is a deep modernisation of the BM-30 Smerch heavy rocket launcher systems, comprising of a carrier in the form of a KamAZ-63501 military truck with 300 mm multi-lead or unguided rocket launcher mounted on it.

BM-30 Smerch | Strategic Bureau of Information
BM-30 Smerch

The modernisation of the launchers enabled the increase in overall range as well as reducing the time window needed to swiftly change from the transport position to combat readiness and change of the combat position.

Moreover, the Tornado-S also had an increase in the rate of fire and is also equipped with the ability to use intelligent and programmable ammunition.

Designed in the early 1980s, the BM-30 Smerch, which is also referred to as “Whirlwind” entered service in the Soviet Army in 1989.

The missile-launch systems have been specially designed to an army-level commander the ability to strike targets deep behind enemy lines which include enemy headquarters, airfields, forward assembly areas, supply dumps and other targets.

The systems which are aimed at defeating personnel, armoured and soft targets in concentration areas use rocket warheads including high explosive submunition, high explosive unitary (single warhead), scatterable anti-tank mine, and anti-armour guided submunitions.

The systems are also capable of swiftly laying down minefields with rockets with mine submunitions.

Along with the modernisation of the BM-30 Smerch to Tornado-S level, the Russian Army is currently working on modernizing its BM-21 Grad, BM-27 Uragan systems to the standards of 9A53-G Tornado-G and 9A53-U Tornado-U.

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