Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Saturday, June 17, 2017

MLRS and FROG 7(Red Storm Rising)

This post sat half completed on my laptop for 3 days while other things were going on.  I have experience seeing the MLRS in action in the Gulf, I remembered being with a bunch of my buddies and watching the MLRS that were behind us firing on the Iraqi positions as the ground war kicked off.  It was neat from our perspective, I wasn't bloodthirsty but I was glad to be on the other side of that barrage, I know that the Iraqi's were going to get hammered.  The running joke was "Grid square eliminations system" and the MLRS using precision munitions would do that.


   Now in the book the MLRS was used to eliminate the command HQ's and transmitting locations of the OMG and 8th Guards as they tried to coordinate the attack after the initial breakthrough near Alfield on the Leine. 
     The Frog was a rocket system used by the Soviets to deliver chemical, nuclear or high explosive munitions  like it did when the Soviet division commander was angry about the NATO units escaping over the bridges on the Leine he called the rockets to destroy the bridges.  This hampered the breakthrough when 2 of the 3 bridges were destroyed by the rockets.  Later it was talked at the Politburo to use the same rocket system to deliver several 10 megaton nuclear devices to sunder the NATO lines 80 miles wide to allow the Soviet army to penetrate the rear of NATO and force a solution favorable to the Soviet Politburo like the surrender of the NATO alliance and allowing the Soviets to seize the Persian Gulf for the oil resources that are needed for the Soviet economy.


The weapon can fire guided and unguided projectiles up to 42 km (26 mi). Firing ballistic missiles, such as the U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), it can hit targets 300 km (190 mi) away; the warhead in such shots reaches an altitude of about 50 km (164,000 ft). The M270 can be used in shoot-and-scoot tactics, firing its rockets rapidly, then moving away to avoid counter-battery fire.
MLRS was developed jointly by the United Kingdom, United States, West Germany, France and Italy. It was developed from the older General Support Rocket System (GSRS). The M270 MLRS weapons system is collectively known as the M270 MLRS Self-propelled Loader/Launcher (SPLL). The SPLL is composed of three primary subsystems: the M269 Loader Launcher Module (LLM), which also houses the electronic Fire Control System, is mated to the M993 Carrier Vehicle. The M993 is a derivative of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle chassis.

The rockets and ATACMS missiles are contained in interchangeable pods. Each pod contains six standard rockets or one guided ATACMS missile; the two types cannot be mixed. The LLM can hold two pods at a time, which are hand-loaded using an integrated winch system. All twelve rockets or two ATACMS missiles can be fired in under a minute. One launcher firing twelve rockets can completely blanket one square kilometer with submunitions. For this reason, the MLRS is sometimes referred to as the "Grid Square Removal System" (metric maps are usually divided up into 1 km grids). A typical MLRS cluster salvo consisted of three M270 vehicles each firing all 12 rockets. With each rocket containing 644 M77 grenades, the entire salvo would drop 23,184 grenades in the target area. However, with a two percent dud rate, that would leave approximately 400 undetonated bombs scattered over the area, which would endanger friendly troops and civilians.
In 2006, MLRS was upgraded to fire guided rounds. Phase I testing of a guided unitary round (XM31) was completed on an accelerated schedule in March 2006. Due to an Urgent Need Statement, the guided unitary round was quickly fielded and used in action in Iraq. Lockheed Martin also received a contract to convert existing M30 DPICM GMLRS rockets to the XM31 unitary variant.

The M31 GMLRS Unitary rocket transformed the M270 into a point target artillery system for the first time. Due to GPS guidance and a single 200 lb (91 kg) high-explosive warhead, the M31 could hit targets accurately with less chance of collateral damage while needing fewer rockets to be fired, reducing logistical requirements. The unitary warhead also made the MLRS able to be used in urban environments. The M31 had a dual-mode fuse with point detonation and delay options to defeat soft targets and lightly fortified bunkers respectively, with the upgraded M31A1 equipped with a multi-mode fuse adding a proximity airburst mode for use against personnel in the open; proximity mode can be set for 3 or 10 metres (9.8 or 32.8 ft) height of burst (HOB). The GMLRS has a minimum engagement range of 15 km (9.3 mi) and can hit a target out to 70 km (43 mi), impacting at a speed of Mach 2.5.

A German developmental artillery system, called the Artillery Gun Module, has used the MLRS chassis on its developmental vehicles.
In 2012, a contract was issued to improve the armor of the M270s and improve the fire control to the standards of the HIMARS. In June 2015, the M270A1 conducted tests of firing rockets after upgrades from the Improved Armored Cab project, which provides the vehicle with an enhanced armored cab and windows.


When first deployed with the U.S. Army, the MLRS was used in a composite battalion consisting of two batteries of traditional artillery (howitzers) and one battery of MLRS SPLLs (self-propelled loader/launchers). The first operational organic or "all MLRS" unit was 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery.

The 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery was reactivated as the Army's first Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) battalion on 1 October 1984, and became known as the "Proud Rockets". In March 1990, the unit deployed to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico to conduct the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation of the Army Tactical Missile System. The success of the test provided the Army with a highly accurate, long range fire support asset.
On 2 September 1990, the 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. Assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, the unit played a critical role in the early defense of Saudi Arabia. As Desert Shield turned into Desert Storm, the Battalion was the first U.S. Field Artillery unit to fire into Kuwait. Over the course of the war, the 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery provided timely and accurate rocket and missile fires for both U.S. corps in the theater, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 6th French Light Armored Division, the 1st Armored, 1st Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized).

A Battery 92nd Field Artillery (MLRS) was deployed to the Gulf War in 1990 from Ft.Hood Texas. 3/27th FA (MLRS) out of Fort Bragg deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield in August 1990. A/21st Field Artillery (MLRS) – 1st Cavalry Division Artillery deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield in September 1990. In December 1990, A-40th Field Artillery (MLRS) – 3rd Armored Division Artillery (Hanau), 1/27th FA (MLRS) part of the 41st Field Artillery Brigade (Babenhausen) and 4/27th FA (MLRS) (Wertheim) deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield from their bases in Germany and 1/158th Field Artillery from the Oklahoma Army National Guard deployed in January 1991.

MLRS-System with launch vehicle, loader and a command center inside an M577 command vehicle.
In early February 1991, 1/27th FA launched the biggest MLRS night fire mission in history. It has since been used in numerous military engagements, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In March 2007, the British Ministry of Defence decided to send a troop of MLRS to support ongoing operations in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand; they will use newly developed guided munitions.
In April 2011, the first modernized MLRS II and M31 GMLRS rocket were handed over to the German Army's Artillery School in Idar Oberstein. The German Army operates the M31 rocket up to a range of 90 km.

S military operators refer to the M270 as "the commander's personal shotgun" or as "battlefield buckshot". It is also commonly referred to as the "Gypsy Wagon", because crews store additional equipment, such as camouflage netting, cots, coolers, and personal items, on top of the vehicle as the launcher itself lacks adequate storage space for the crew. Within the British military, a common nickname is "Grid Square Removal System", a play on the initialism GSRS (from the older General Support Rocket System). With the adoption of the new M30 GPS guided rocket, it is now being referred to as the "70 kilometer sniper rifle". During the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqis referred to the small M77 submunitions rockets as the "Steel Rain".




The 9K52 Luna-M (Russian: Луна; English: moon) is a Soviet short-range artillery rocket system. The 9M21 rockets are unguided and spin-stabilized. Its GRAU designation is 9K52, and its NATO reporting name is FROG-7. "FROG" is a backronym for "Free Rocket Over Ground".

The 9M21 rockets are mounted on a wheeled 9P113 transporter erector launcher (TEL) based on the ZIL-135 8x8 army truck. The TEL features a large hydraulic crane used for reloading rockets from 9T29 transporters (also ZIL-135 based). The 9M21 has a range up to 70 km and a CEP (circular error probable) between 500 m and 700 m. The road mobile rocket has a 550 kg warhead and is capable of delivering high explosive, nuclear, or chemical warheads.
  

Six of the initial version of the 9M21 were in Cuba during the missile crisis in October 1962. These missiles, which were ready to fire, had nuclear warheads installed. A further 70 warheads were stockpiled on the island.
The Luna was later extensively deployed throughout some Soviet satellite states. The rocket has been widely exported and is now in the possession of a large number of countries. After the war with Iran, Iraq modified its stock of 9M21s with a joint assistance programme with Egypt and Egyptian Army engineers, by extending their range to 90 km and fitting a submunition-carrying warhead. The rocket was renamed Laith-90.

In the course of the Yugoslav Wars, Serb forces launched FROG-7 rockets on a number of Croatian cities, like Zupanja, on 12 December 1992, or the capital Zagreb, on 11 September 1993, while the battle of Medak Pocket was still ongoing.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Headquarters of the 2nd Brigade, US 3rd Infantry Division, Tactical Operations Center (TOC) of U.S Col. David Perkins, was targeted and struck by either an Iraqi FROG-7 rocket or an Ababil-100 SSM missile, killing three soldiers and two embedded journalists. Another 14 soldiers were injured, and 22 vehicles destroyed or seriously damaged, most of them Humvees.

RAF jets targeted and destroyed FROG-7 launchers operated by Pro-Gaddafi forces south of Sirte in the 2011 Libyan civil war.
Starting in 2012, during the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Arab Army fired several FROG-7 rockets against different areas under control of different insurgent formations. Once again they proved to be an area weapon with scarse military effectiveness against dispersed targets while inflicting severe damage to the civilian population and infrastructure. 
 

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