2012/09/12

MRL: The Ray Ting 2000

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American, Russian, British, Israeli, German, French and Swedish weapon systems are well-known among anglophone people with an interest in the military. These are the "elite countries" (a term from theories about media) that get the most if not all attention.

There's a much greater (even frustratingly large) quantity of weapon systems, though. Maybe some day I will understand why so many incrementally differing weapons have been developed by mankind. The quantity of assault rifle models alone is staggering. AK and AR-15 clones and variations are so numerous that there's no point in trying to memorize them.
81.4 mm mortars differ marginally, but even generations ago when this kind of weapon was new every country seemed to have its own modified copy already.

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Sometimes there's a substantial difference, though.
MLRS (a specific "multiple launch rocket system") has almost become a synonym for MRL ("multiple rocket launcher" in general) to the point that I corrected some wikipedia entries conflating these words. The wikipedia article on "MLRS" still redirects to the general MRL article, not to the specific system's article.

There are practically only two versions of MLRS known in the West; the original one on tracked chassis and HIMARS, a single pod truck-based version meant for greater mobility.
Neither is really optimal.

The Taiwanese turned out to have a better idea, and developed the RT 2000. They do usually neglect their army, but they seem to have gotten the MRL thing right (albeit with delays):

This MRL (Ray Ting 2000, RT 2000, Thunder 2000) system does

(1) combine two MLRS pods on one vehicle
(2) employ a high mobility heavy truck as vehicle
(3) offer the choice between multiple calibres



20 x 117 mm (15 km maximum range), 9 x 180 mm (30 km) or 6x 230 mm (45 km)*. The "230 mm" and "45 km" figures are so close to normal MLRS rockets (M26A2) that I dare to say this is most likely an unofficial copy of the 227 mm MLRS ammunition.

I swear, I did not know about the RT 2000 when I wrote back in 2009:

An optimal concept would in my opinion look like this:
* A medium truck-based MRL with a range of munitions of 105, 160 and 227 mm size with emphasis on 160mm (plus ATACMS). This would be part of independent artillery units under corps HQ control.
(...)
So they took a heavy instead of a medium truck, 117 instead of 105, 180 instead of 160 and (supposedly) 230 instead of 227 mm. They did apparently purchase MGM-140 ATACMS, for which they have no other launcher than the RT 2000. The RT 2000 is meant for the artillery under direct control of "army groups" (~ corps).
I feel they followed almost the same reasoning.

On top of that they get two launch pods on a vehicle instead of only one on HIMARS, which means less clumsy convoys and less personnel for the same unit firepower.


Now feel free to keep your eyes open for future MRL-related reports and count how often you see HIMARS mentioned and how often you see RT 2000 mentioned. I bet you can detect a bias in there.

S Ortmann

*: Per pod, thus twice the quantity of rockets overall.
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3 comments:

  1. Wikipedeia is a nice thing to have, but it does have issues like that time to time.

    The wiki on 9A52-4 Tornado has in the "See Also" lists a number of different contries stuff listed (like Pinaka which I never hear anything about).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9A52-4_Tornado#See_also

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  2. The IMI Lynx is another MRL along the same lines.

    http://www.imi-israel.com/vault/documents/lynx.pdf

    It can fire 122mm Grad, 160mm LAR, 227mm MLRS, 300mm EXTRA or Deliah cruise missiles. I assume ATACMS would be straight-forward to integrate.

    It also uses a lighter vehicle.

    Guided Grads or LAR would make for a decent artillery substitute or precision fires system.

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  3. The only ammo they're missing (and that is explainable by the fact that both systems use soft trucks) is a TOS-1 equivalent rocket (45 kg thermobaric warhead) that nullifies field fortifications.

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