Russia's rocket launchers target Ukraine's cities

 | Updated: Mar 09, 2022, 04:20 PM IST

The Russian Army is reportedly using Grad (Hail), Smerch(Tornado) and Urgan(Hurricane) multiple rocket launchers against Ukraine.

Russia's rocket launchers against Ukraine

As Russian forces continue to pound Ukraine, the country has been using rocket fire indiscriminately since February 24 when Putin declared his "special operation" against Ukraine.

The Russian Army is reportedly using Grad (Hail), Smerch(Tornado) and Urgan(Hurricane) multiple rocket launchers.

The Grad is reportedly capable of firing 20 rockets in less than 20 seconds. It is a Soviet-era launcher first developed in the 60s. The missile literally means "hail" in Russian signifying a hailstorm of bombs pouring out from the air at a targeted area.

Human rights activists have hit out against Russia's indiscriminate use of rocket launchers targeted at civilian areas.

Russia has reportedly used the Grad rocket launchers in Kharkiv which has reportedly suffered immense damage. It was also reportedly used by Volnovakha and Donetsk targeting civilians.


Russia's Uragan rocket launchers

According to reports, Russia fired the Soviet-era BM-27 Uragan (Hurricane)  against Ukrainian cities. The missiles have been launched on truck-mounted on the Zil-135 8X8 chassis. 

Reports claim the US has sent AN/TQP-53 Quick Reaction counterbattery radars to Ukraine to track the Russian rocket launchers.

The Uragan rockets had first entered service in 1977. The rocket launchers can fire two rounds per second with high-explosive fragmentary warheads. Reports claim Uragan-1M has been developed by the Russian defence forces with improved fire control systems.


Grad missile launch system

The "air-droppable" version of the Tornado-G missile can be mounted on a new chassis. The Tornado-G launcher has been derived from the Grad system. It can reportedly launch its system quickly and can rapidly change its firing position.

Russia is expected to retain the  Tornado multiple launch rocket systems for a long time. The Tornado-S rocket system has a range of upto 120 km. The smart rocket is set to enter into serial production, according to Splav.



Avangard hypersonic warheads

According to Russia's TASS news agency, the second regiment of UR-100N UTTKh intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with the Avangard hypersonic warheads will assume combat alert in Russia’s Strategic Missile Force before the end of the year.

The second regiment of the Avangard hypersonic missile system will take position in the Yasny missile formation, the news agency said.

The first regiment had taken command post in late 2019 and was put to full strength in 2021. The Avangard hypersonic weapon was first mentioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2018.


Russia's new ICBM

Last year Russia tested the Kedr intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Plesetsk spaceport.

The Russian defence forces expect to replace the RS-24 Yars ICBM with the Kedr in 2030. The design and development of the missile is currently under Moscow's Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT).

The test was carried out in mid-June months ahead of Russia's troop deployment along Ukraine's border.

Kedr has both silo-based and mobile ICBM variants. The mobile-based ICBMs have a definite advantage since they can be moved around and are harder to detect. Russia is intent on upgrading its ICBM force as it takes on NATO and America in long-range missile duel.


The Punisher drone

As the war with Russia continues to drag on, Ukraine has deployed the lethal Punisher drones which has carried out several successful missions.

It can reportedly fly upto 30 miles inside enemy territory and has been used to disrupt Russia's supply lines blasting the long convoys and targeting the ammunition dumps.

The drones fly almost undetected with a wingspan of 7.5 feet and can fly at a height of 1,300 feet. The flight path of the "Punisher" is automatic and it feeds off its companion drone called the "Spectre" which helps in reconnaissance and identifying targets.

The drone is reportedly designed by a company called UA Dynamics comprising of veterans who fought in the Crimea conflict against Russia in 2014.


Russia: World's second-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons

On the EU doorstep, Russia has flexed its muscles in Belarus, during joint drills that involved sophisticated weapons systems such as S-400 surface-to-air missiles and Pantsir air defence systems.

Russia last month also announced a series of naval exercises in the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

With roughly one million active-duty military personnel and state-of-the-art weapons, the Russian army is one of the largest and most powerful in the world.

Moscow has the world's second-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons and a huge cache of ballistic missiles.


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Putin has also boasted of developing a number of "invincible" weapons that can surpass existing systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

In recent years the Kremlin strongman has scored a number of battlefield - and foreign policy - triumphs that helped boost his popularity despite economic malaise at home.

In January, Russia swiftly sent troops to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan to back a Kremlin-friendly regime in what was touted as a peace-keeping operation amid deadly unrest.

In 2015, Russia charged into Syria with an air campaign that turned the tide of a complex conflict in favour of the Damascus regime.

The intervention helped President Bashar al-Assad reclaim swathes of territory his forces had lost to Islamists and Western-backed opposition groups. Syria has also proved a valuable training ground for the Russian military.