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VIDEX 2022: Russian company positions 9A52-4 rocket system for regional requirements

A model of the six-tubed variant of Russia's Smerch MLRS, which is being marketed in Vietnam for the first time. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

A teaming of Russian companies has completed development works on a lightweight variant of the Smerch 300 mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and is positioning the weapon for regional requirements.

Speaking to Janes at the Vietnam International Defense Exhibition (VIDEX) 2022 in Hanoi, a representative from Russian arms company Splav described the system, which utilises the 9A52-4 launcher and a Kamaz 63501 vehicle, as one that has been under development for several years.

The lightweight variant has been developed to fulfil requirements for a lighter, more easily deployable MLRS for challenging terrains such as those found across the Southeast Asian region where soil conditions are usually softer and muddier.

“After years of development, the system is now ready for export and we are marketing the weapon system in Vietnam for the first time,” said the representative who added that Russia is also receptive to exporting the MLRS to other services besides the People's Army of Vietnam.

A main feature of the ‘lightweight Smerch' is its reduced number of launch tubes – six instead of the 12 found on the original weapon system in use with the Russian Armed Forces.

Like the Smerch, the lightweight variant can fire the complete range of 300 mm rockets, such as the 7,600 mm 9M525 scattering cluster warhead projectile and the 9M55S thermobaric round, both of which have a maximum range of 90 km.

These rockets can be fired as single rounds, or in complete salvo modes, said the representative.

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