Astros II MLRS

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ASTROS II Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)
Astros 2020 (14338252946).jpg
ASTROS II MK6 Brazilian Army
TypeRocket artillery
Place of originBrazil
Service history
In serviceSince 1983
WarsIran–Iraq War
Gulf War
Angolan Civil War
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Military Intervention in Yemen
Production history
ManufacturerAvibras
No. built270+
Specifications
Mass10,000 kg
(22,046 lbs)[1]
Length7 m (20 ft)
Width2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)
Height2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Crew3

CartridgeRocket length: 4.20 m (13 ft 9 in)[2]
Rocket weight: 152 kg (335 lb)[2]
Caliber450mm (7.08in)[2]
Maximum firing range30km(SS-30) to 300km(AV-TM 300)[2]

Main
armament
Universal Multiple Launcher Module 127mm – 450mm
Secondary
armament
1 × 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine gun[1]
EngineMercedes OM422 8-cylinder diesel
280 hp (209 kW)[1]
Suspension6×6
Operational
range
480 km (298 mi)
Maximum speed 90 Km/h (56 mph)

ASTROS II (Artillery Saturation Rocket System) is a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher produced in Brazil by the Avibras company. It features modular design and employs rockets with calibers ranging from 127 mm to 450 mm ( 5-17.72 inches). It was developed on the basis of a Tectran VBT-2028 6×6 all-terrain vehicle for enhanced mobility based on Mercedes-Benz 2028 truck chassis.[3]

Overview[edit]

A full ASTROS system includes 1 wheeled 4×4 Battalion level Command Vehicle (AV-VCC), which commands 3 batteries, and a series of 4x4 and 6×6 wheeled vehicles.[3] Each battery consists of:

  • 1 wheeled 4×4 Battery-level Command vehicle (AV-PCC)
  • 1 wheeled 6x6 Radar Fire Control vehicle (AV-UCF)
  • 6 wheeled 6x6 Universal Multiple Rocket Launchers vehicle (AV-LMU)
  • 6 wheeled 6x6 Ammunition Resupply vehicles (AV-RMD)
  • 1 wheeled 6x6 Field repair/workshop vehicle (AV-OFVE)
  • 1 wheeled 4×4 Mobile Weather Station vehicle(AV-MET).

In the older version of the system, the fire control vehicle were listed as optional vehicle in a battery. The command vehicles and weather stations are recent additions, designed to improve overall system performance on newer versions. All vehicles are transportable in a C-130 Hercules.[3] The launcher is capable of firing rockets of different calibers armed with a range of warheads.[4]

Each rocket resupply truck carries up to two complete reloads.

Service history[edit]

Tectran AV-UCF fire control vehicle

The ASTROS II artillery system entered service with the Brazilian Army in 1983. The system is battle proven, having been used in action by the Iraqi Army in the Gulf Wars.

In the 1980s, Avibrás sold an estimated 66 Astros II artillery systems to Iraq. Iraq also built the Sajeel-60 which is a license-built version of the Brazilian SS-60. Sixty Astros II were sold to Saudi Arabia[5] and an unspecified number sold to Bahrain and Qatar. Total sales of the Astros II between 1982 and 1987 reached US$1 billion. This fact made the Astros II multiple rocket launcher the most profitable weapon produced by Avibrás.[6]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Avibrás worked almost exclusively with the manufacturing of rockets and multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), such as the Astros II, in addition to developing antitank and antiship missiles. At its peak, Avibrás employed 6,000 people; later it would be reduced to 900 people in the early 1990s as the arms industry demand fell. Even so, in the first Gulf War in 1991, the Astros II was successfully used by Saudi Arabia against Iraq.[7] Years earlier, the Astros II system helped Angola to defeat the UNITA.

New generation[edit]

Astros II MK6 Brazilian Marine Corps
Astros II MK6 of Indonesian Army firing SS-09TS rocket.

The next step is an ambitious program, the ASTROS 2020 (MK6), based on a 6x6 wheeled chassis.[8] Being a new concept, it will require an estimated investment of R$1.2 billion, of which about US$210 million will be invested solely in development. It will be integrated with the cruise missile AVMT-300 with 300-km range during the stage of testing and certification. It is said that the venture will, for example, enable the Army to integrate the Astros with defense anti-aircraft guns, paving the way for the utilization of common platforms, trucks, parts of electronic sensors and command vehicles.[9][10] The new MK6 system will use Tatra Trucks’ T815-790R39 6×6 and T815-7A0R59 4×4 trucks instead of the original Mercedes-Benz 2028A 6x6 truck. ASTROS 2020 offers several basic improvements including an improved armored cabin, modern digital communications and navigation systems, and a new tracking radar that replaces the AV-UCF’s Contraves Fieldguard system.[3] The new tracking radar used by MK6 AV-UCF was latter revealed to be the Fieldguard 3 Military Measurement System from Rheinmetall Air Defence.[11] The Astros 2020 will also be equipped with a 180 mm GPS-guided rocket called the SS-AV-40G with a range of 40 km (25 mi) and SS-150 newly developed rockets with a claimed maximum range of 150 km. Four of them are carried.[12] 36 Astros 2020 systems are to be acquired.[13]

Rocket variants[edit]

Astros II in Malaysian Army paint scheme.
  • SS-09TS – fires 70 mm rockets – Loads 40
  • SS-30 – fires 127 mm rockets – Loads 32
  • SS-40 – fires 180 mm rockets – Loads 16
  • SS-AV-40G – fires 180 mm rockets – Loads 16
  • SS-60 – fires 300 mm rockets – Loads 4
  • SS-80 – fires 300 mm rockets – Loads 4
  • SS-150 – fires 450 mm rockets – Loads 4
  • AV-TM 300 - fires 450 mm Cruise missile – Loads 2
  • FOG MPM - Fiber Optic Guided Multi-Purpose Missile – Anti-tank, anti-fortification and anti-helicopter missile
  • FOG MLM - fiber Optics Guided multi-purpose missile

Specifications[edit]

Astros II MK3 Iraq.
  • Range in indirect fire mode[14] (first figure is minimum range):
    • SS-09TS: 4–10 km
    • SS-30: 9–30 km
    • SS-40: 15–40 km
    • SS-AV-40G: 15–40 km
    • SS-60: 20–60 km
    • SS-80: 22–90 km
    • SS-150: 29–150 km
    • AV-TM 300: 30–300 km
    • FOG MPM: 5–60 km
  • Armour: classified. Probably light composite to give protection against small-arms fire.
  • Armament: one battery of 2, 4, 16 or 32 rocket-launcher tubes
  • Performance:
    • fording 1.1 m
    • vertical obstacle 1 m
    • trench 2.29 m
  • Ammunition Type: High explosive (HE) with multiple warhead

Operators[edit]

Map with Astros II operators in blue

Current operators[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "ASTROS-II – Avibrás / Brasil". Archived from the original on 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  2. ^ a b c d Hogg, Ian. Twentieth-Century Artillery. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000. ISBN 0-7607-1994-2 Pg.304
  3. ^ a b c d Staff, Defense Industry Daily. "ASTROS 2020 MLRS: Brazils Industrial Investment in Precision Strike". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  4. ^ a b "Astros II Artillery Saturation Rocket System". Archived from the original on 31 August 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b Servaes, Army Recognition Alain. "Military army ground forces equipment Saudi Arabian Army Forces Saudi Arabia Equipements militaires armée forces terrestres Arabie Saoudite". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Export Controls In Brazil" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  7. ^ "BBC News - BUSINESS - Cruise missiles 'Made in Brazil'". Archived from the original on 29 March 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-08. Retrieved 2017-12-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Governo se torna sócio da Avibrás Aeroespecial". Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
  10. ^ "ANA株主優待券は安く買おう!便利な株主優待券の使い方!". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Rheinmetall Defence - Archive 2018 Follow-up order from Brazil for Rheinmetall's Fieldguard 3 measurement system". www.rheinmetall-defence.com. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-08. Retrieved 2017-12-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Brazilian army will continue to upgrade Astros rocket launchers Archived 2013-01-02 at the Wayback Machine – Armyrecognition.com, December 29, 2012
  14. ^ "ASTROS (Artillery SaTuration ROcket System)". Archived from the original on 2006-04-21. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
  15. ^ "Kosmo! Online - Negara". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  16. ^ Mahadzir, Dzirhan (2019-04-05). "Malaysia's Defence Doldrums". Asian Military Review. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  17. ^ "Indonesian army takes delivery of MLRS Avibras Astros II Mk 6 from Brazil | June 2020 News Defense Global Security army industry | Defense Security global news industry army 2020 | Archive News year". www.armyrecognition.com. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  18. ^ "Brazil releases funds to develop surface to surface missile system for the Army". Merco Press. 31 August 2011. Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2013.

External links[edit]