China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has developed a 40-round artillery rocket system (ARS) that features a number of enhancements over its previous systems in this calibre.
The SR4 122 mm system is similar to the widely deployed, Russian-built 122 mm BM-21 (40 round) launcher and, like that system, is also integrated onto 6x6 cross-country truck chassis.
The SR4 is fitted with a four-door forward control cab equipped with protective shutters that are lowered before the rockets are launched. To provide a more stable firing platform two hydraulic stabilisers are lowered to the ground, one either side at the rear of the platform.
The power-operated turntable at the rear of the SR4 ARS platform is fitted with two pods of 20x122 mm rockets, which are launched by remote control with a complete salvo fired in around 30 seconds. The turntable traverses at a rate of 35°/s and elevates at 15°/s, although the system also has a manual back up.
In earlier systems, once the rockets were launched, new ammunition would be loaded manually one at a time. The concept of operations for the SR4 sees the vehicle relocating to avoid counter battery fire and new rocket pods installed rather than individual rockets. According to NORINCO, fitting the new pods takes around five minutes.
Further features of the platform include a land navigation system and a computerised fire control system (FCS) to enable autonomous operation, with target information transmitted to the launcher from a battery command post.
According to NORINCO the SR4 can fire seven types of unguided, solid-propellant 122 mm rocket: mine laying (with a maximum range of 15 km); fuel air explosive (20 km); high explosive (30 km); steel ball high explosive (30 km, 40 km, or 50 km); and steel ball high explosive incendiary (30 km).
The SR4 is typically operated by a crew of three and is stated to have a combat weight of 20 tonnes.
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