LRSV M-87 Orkan
|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
|Name:||Multiple rocket launcher|
Late in 1988, at a military exhibition in Iraq, the Iraqi army displayed a 262 mm 12-round multiple rocket launcher system known as the Ababeel 50.
Examination of available evidence indicated that the system was Yugoslav in origin and mounted on the rear of the Yugoslav FAP 3235 heavy-duty (8 × 8) cross-country truck.
Since then further information, gained at the Iraqi's First Baghdad International Exhibition for Military Production in 1989, has shown that it was originally a joint Iraqi-Yugoslav project with Iraq contributing to the development and producing some of the parts locally.
Recent information is that a small production batch of about 10 systems was completed, with most of these systems remaining in the former Yugoslavia. As far as it is known the system was not used in an operational form by Iraq.
A typical battery of M-87 launchers would consist of:
- four 8 × 8 launchers
- four 8 × 8 resupply vehicles (each with 24 reload rockets)
- one 8 × 8 command post vehicle
- two 4 × 4 topographic survey light vehicles
- two 4 × 4 observation post light vehicles
- one 4 × 4 meteorological survey vehicle
The command post vehicle is fitted with a German Teldix land navigation system. The resupply and command post vehicles are both on the same 8 × 8 chassis as the launcher vehicle and have a similar tarpaulin system to make identification of the launcher difficult.
Loading of the launcher is performed by a semi-automatic system with the preparations to fire taking 2 minutes. Firing of the rockets can be either singly or in a ripple mode by means of an electronic trigger in the vehicle cab. If needed, firing can also be done up to 20 to 50 m off-vehicle by means of a remote-control box with attached cable. All the traverse and elevation functions are automatically performed via control units with manual systems available as a back-up.
In Serbian Army service the launcher is fitted with a 12.7 mm heavy AA machine gun on the cab roof and four 82 mm smoke dischargers integrated either side in the front bumper.
The five-man crew has two 7.62 mm fully automatic rifles, two 7.62 mm semi-automatic rifles and a 90 mm RBR-90 hand-held anti-tank unguided rocket launcher for self-defence.
The 262 mm unguided rocket, known as the M-87, is 4.656 m long and uses a two-stage solid-propellant rocket motor. The booster stage contains 10 kg of fuel and burns for 200 ms to generate 8,000 kg of thrust to lift the rocket clear of the launcher tube. Once this happens the main sustainer motor cuts in with its 130 kg fuel load to give 18,000 kg of thrust during its 5 second burn time. This gives the rocket a maximum velocity of 1,200 m/s. Flight time to the maximum range of 50,000 m is 110 seconds with the highest possible altitude reached, depending upon launch angle, being 22,000 m. By opening and closing the four available aerodynamic brake assemblies one of four different ballistic range trajectories can be chosen: 24,000, 28,000, 37,000 or 50,000 m.
A TV camera made by Bosch of Germany is mounted on top of the left side of the launcher. It is used in a similar manner to the German 110 mm LARS (which has now been phased out of service) in that a single rocket is launched and at some point in its flight is detonated so as not to alert the target area. The camera monitors this and the data collected is used to calculate the correct firing solution so that the remainder of the battery or vehicle salvo can be fired.
Several types of warhead can be fitted:
- 91 kg unitary APHE. An inertial fuze with instantaneous or delay action is fitted
- 91 kg cluster munition with a payload of 288 HEAT fragmentation bomblets. The shaped charge equipped bomblet also has some 420 steel spheres to enhance the fragmentation effect. Lethal radius is approximately 10 m and conventional armour plate penetration is claimed to be 60 mm plus. A typical dispersion pattern for a warhead at payload release height would be an ellipse 180 × 165 m. An alternative warhead with 420 anti-personnel submunitions has also been mentioned
- 83 kg cluster munition with a payload of 24 small cylindrical shaped-charge anti-tank KB-2 mines, each fitted with four flip-out curved vanes to stabilise their flight to the ground and ensure correct orientation. The mine can penetrate up to 40 mm plus of conventional steel armour plate
Both cluster munition warheads are fitted with an electronic time fuze for bomblet/mine delivery.
The vehicle is fitted with a central tyre pressure regulation system which is operated by the driver from within the cab and to provide a more stable firing platform four stabilisers are lowered to the ground, by remote control, one either side to the rear of the second roadwheel and two at the very rear. When travelling, the launcher is traversed to the front and the whole launcher is covered by a tarpaulin cover with integral bows.
The FAP 3235 (8 × 8) heavy-duty chassis has also been used for a number of other applications. These include a 152/155 mm (8 × 8) self-propelled artillery system and as a trial platform for the recently developed Turkish TOROS surface-to-surface rocket system. An illustration of this combination appears in a separate entry. TOROS is still under development.
There was also an 8 × 8 resupply vehicle on a similar chassis that carried a total of 24 262 mm rockets. This is understood to have reached the prototype stage.
It is understood that production of the FAP 3235 (8 × 8) chassis is now complete.
Yugoimport SDPR, the marketing organisation for all defence equipment being manufactured in Serbia, has released some details of another application for some elements of the 262 mm (12-round) LRSV M-87 'Orkan' multiple rocket launcher system.
This is designated the LRSV M-1996 Orkan-2 and a small batch is currently in service with Serbia. It consists of the Russian FROG-7 (8 × 8) launcher, fully covered in a separate entry, with the original elevating launch rail fitted with four launch tubes from the in-service 262 mm (12-round) LRSV M-87 'Orkan' system. It is assumed that the rockets launched by this system are the same as those used in the original system.
A small batch of these LRSV M-1966 Orkan-2 systems are understood to be in service with Serbia. At this stage it is not certain as to whether or not the system could be switch back to transporting and launching the FROG-7 unguided surface-to-surface rocket.