Today’s SOFREP Pic of the Day is one you will not see anywhere else. Here we have Papa, from the recent articles on Ukraine featured in SOFREP, with a new weapon. It’s a modified grad tube system made in a garage workshop. And who says necessity isn’t the mother of invention? This is ingenuity at work. Making the best of what you have.
The BM-21 Grad is (typically) a Soviet-Era truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher and a type of rocket artillery. The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket is designated as the M-21 Field Rocket System. The complete system is more commonly known as a Grad multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).
An Overview of the BM-21 Grad
- Origin and History: The BM-21 Grad was developed in the early 1960s and entered service with the Soviet Army in 1963. The name “Grad” means “hail” in Russian.
- Design: The BM-21 launch vehicle consists of a Ural-375D six-by-six truck chassis fitted with a bank of 40 launch tubes arranged in a rectangular shape. Later models were mounted on the newer Ural-4320 six-by-six army truck.
- Rocket: The original rocket, the M-21OF, has a range of 20 kilometers (12 miles). The warhead is fragmentation-HE, and it’s stabilized with spin imparted by the venturi nozzle.
- Function: The BM-21 is used to deliver saturation bombardment to a target area, not for precise strikes. It is used to disrupt enemy troop concentrations, destroy entrenched positions, and soften up the defense for an impending assault.
- Rate of Fire: A full salvo can be fired in less than 20 seconds, and the launch vehicle can move away to avoid counter-battery fire. The system can then be reloaded and ready to fire again in three minutes.
- Variants: Since its introduction, many variants have been produced, both in the Soviet Union (and successor states) and in other countries that either received or reverse-engineered the system.
- Global Use: The BM-21 has been widely exported and used in conflicts all over the world. Its simplicity, robustness, and effectiveness have made it a favored system among many countries.
- Modernization: Some modern variants have introduced enhancements in targeting, range, and automation. This includes new computerized fire control systems that can provide more accurate targeting information.
The BM-21 Grad has become emblematic of Soviet and Russian artillery support in conflicts throughout the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st century. Its widespread use and production under various licenses around the world make it one of the most recognizable multiple-launch rocket systems.