Croatian M87 Orkan in Museum
|Type||Self-propelled multiple rocket launcher|
|Place of origin||Yugoslavia Serbia|
|Designer||VTI - Military Technical Institute Belgrade|
|Length||9 m (29 ft 6 in)|
|Width||2.64 m (8 ft 8 in)|
|Height||3.84 m (12 ft 7 in)|
|262 mm x 12
Orkan ll x 4
|Speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
The M-87 Orkan is an Yugoslavian self-propelled multiple rocket launcher. The generic M-87 project was configured with 12 launch tubes mounted on a FAP 2832 truck. It has a range of about 50 km, able to deliver warheads, anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. Very few of these were ever built, The production of Orkans ceased in the early 1990s due to break-up of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Development started as a joint Iraqi and SFRY project under the name of KOL-15. In early talks with Iraq, Yugoslavia offered two options:
- 1.Development of a MRL with 12 barrels and a 50 km range
- 2.Development of a MRL with 4 barrels and a 120 km range
Iraq chose the first option as did Yugoslavia.
At the start of development 2 prototypes where built: 1 for Yugoslavia and 1 for Iraq. In accordance with requests from purchasers rockets where developed with cluster warheads. According to the chief operating officer of the Artillery department of Military Technical Institute Professor Obrad Vucurovic, Orkan was never a copy of any previous designs. The Yugoslav ideology when developing the system was based on the premise that countries who copy designs are at least five years behind of those who have the weapons developed.
One battery of M-87 Orkans consist of:
- four 8×8 launchers
- four 8×8 resupply vehicles (each with 24 reload rockets)
- one 8×8 command post vehicle
- two 4×4 topographic survey light vehicles
- two 4×4 observation post light vehicles
- one 4×4 meteorological survey vehicle
The FAP 2832 vehicle with its base platform is fitted with a central tyre pressure regulation system which is operated by the driver from within the cab, and to provide a more stable firing platform four stabilisers are lowered to the ground by remote control one at either side to the rear of the second roadwheel and two at the very rear. When travelling, the launcher is traversed to the front and the whole launcher is covered by a tarpaulin cover with integral bows.
The rocket is 4.6 metres long and it is packed in a glass-ceramic housing and transported by the vehicle. Rockets are re-loaded by the FAP 3232 with a built-in crane. The rocket speed is 1000 m/s. Extended range rockets are 4.88 m long and weigh 404 kg. Extended range rockets are produced for a new Serbian version of the Orkan by Edepro Belgrade. A battery of 4 launchers with 16 barrels and 192 rockets cover a target area of 3–4 km².
- M-87-APHE with a fragmentation warhead to 91 kg. Range 50 km.
- M-87-APHE-ER with a fragmentation warhead to 91 kg. Range 65–70 km.
- M-87-ICM-AT with 288 piece shaped charge bomblets type KB-2 . Range 50 km.
- M-87-ICM AP with 420 piece splinter bomblets. Range 50 km.
- M-87-AT with 24 piece YU-S-AT (KPOM) mines with Magnetos. Range 50 km.
Some of rockets are not longer in production.
- Ability to disperse anti-tank or anti-personnel mines up to 50 km from the firing location.
- Semi-automatic loading.
Loading was semi-automatic from the vehicle with reserve rockets. Rockets were carried by crane and lowered onto the loading device after which the rocket was automatically loaded in barrel.
- Preparations to fire taking 2 minutes.
- Automatic leveling. Automatic Leveling of weapon was very precise. The system has a TV camera corrector for correcting missile path.
The system for automatic levelling would record I,II and III fired missile paths then navigate the barrels as needed.
- Automatic barrel sight.
- Hard chromed barrels without the need for cleaning.
- Mines KB-2 with wings and parachutes with two fuses (magnetic and for self-destruction after 24 hours)
According to the chief operating officer of the Artillery department of Military Technical Institute Professor Obrad Vucurovic, Orkan's main feature was the ability to disperse anti-tank or anti-personnel mines from 5 to 50 km from the firing location.
Modifications and versions
There where few modifications of Orkan M-87:
- First modification was made by Army of Republic of Srpska with 2 barrels placed on Luna R-65 luncher(ZIL-135).
- FR Yugoslavia modified Krupp M-418/37 and placed two Orkan barrels on it.
- Serbia developed the M-96 Orkan II modification. The simplest solution was to integrate 4 262mm launch tubes on a ZIL-135 launcher as it required minimum investment. The basic purpose of these modified launchers can be restored. New rockets are developed increasing range of Orkan II to 65 km. New modular long range MLRS is in development by VTI Belgrade, Serbia intended to replace Orkan 1 and Orkan 2 with completely new MLRS. New rockets family with 262-392mm caliber would have range prospectively of 65,90 and up to 150 km based on new rocket engines which are already tested.
- Orkan CER developed by Yugoimport SDPR based on KamAZ-6350 
Serbs from Croatia used it to attack military targets in Croatia from 1992. After Operation Flash in 1995, it was used alongside cluster munitions by the Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK) to target Croatian civilians as an act of retaliation during the Croatian War of Independence.
Orkan is also capable of deploying chemical weapons; thousands of rockets were made with chemical warheads. Many were deployed in Iraq. Orkan ammunition was found on the Boka Star, a ship thought to be smuggling arms to Iraq in contravention of an embargo.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina - 1 Non-operational in Banja Luka, 1 completed and 3 partial assembled are destroyed, rockets destroyed. Notice:1 completed was previously in Army of Republika Srpskaand other one completed was in Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or better to say in BNT "Bratstvo" factory Travnik since there is no official data about use in army. 5 delivered from Serbia in 2013.
- Croatia - 2 - 1 in reserve due to lack of adequate rocket ammunition(probably disassembled), 1 in Museum, all rockets destroyed
- Yugoslavia- 9 + 1 prototype
- Iraq- 1 prototype and 4 Orkan launchers called "Ababeel 50" + 4 reload vehicles. 4 pcs showed in military parade in Iraq. Not in use anymore.
- Georgia - 4 M-87 Orkan
- Astros II MLRS An earlier, very similar system.
- "Interview with chief constructor in Serbian Armed Forces Magazine Odbrana" http://www.odbrana.mod.gov.rs/odbrana-stari/odbrana069/08-11.pdf
- Orkan II
- R267 262mm
- R400 392mm
- Roger Cohen (May 4, 1995). "Rebel Serbs Pound Zagreb for Second Day". New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- Miller. Conflict Iraq. ISBN 0-7603-1592-2.
- "Chemical Agents in the Former Yugoslavia". FAS. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- "Američko-hrvatski lov na jugoslavenske krijumčare oružja". Nacional. 30 October 2002. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- "Odlazi brod kojim je krijumčareno srpsko oružje za Sadama". Glas Istre. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2013.