VIDEO: Russia Deploys Land Attack Rocket Launchers

March 7, 2014 -- (TRN)  -- In a continuing escalation of the Ukrainian situation, Russia has begun deploying dozens of truck-mounted land-attack multi-barrelled rocket launchers to the Ukraine Border.  Over a dozen trucks with the "Smerch" rocket launcher system were videotaped on a road in Crimea.  These rockets have a maximum 90 km range and are only useful in support of a ground invasion.  We have the video, below.

 The "Smerch" multi-barrelled rocket launcher is a truck mounted offensive weapon system invented in the 1980's by the former Soviet Union.  The system was deployed in 1989 and remains in service to the present day.

Mounted on various types of truck chassis, each system has twelve (12) rocket tubes .  Each tube accommodates a 300mm (twelve inch) rocket which has a maximum firing range of 90 kilometers.  The system is strictly a surface-to-surface offensive weapon.

300-mm "Smerch" projectiles are fitted with solid fuel engines. Rockets have 7.6 m length and 800 kg weight. Warhead weight is 280 kg. Warhead can be simple or cluster. Later projectile types:
  1. High Explosion Fragmentation projectile 9M55F with simple warhead (explosives weight - 92.5 kg ). Projectile is used to destroy fortifications, command points, missile launching positions, etc.;
  2. Cluster projectile 9K55K fitted with 72 combat elements 2 kg weight each. Main projectiles purpose is defeat of personnel.  10 - 16 such projectiles are enough to annihilate a motorized company;
  3. Cluster projectile 9K55K1 fitted with 5 self-guiding high-effective "Motiv"combat elements . Four "Smerch" launching vehicles fitted with such projectiles can defeat a tank company in it's concentration region

Other projectiles, fitted with vacuum effect or incendiary warheads, anti-tank or anti-personnel mines were also developed. The most recent improvement was the development of thermo-baric warheads to destroy fortifications and any personnel near them.

A "Smerch" launch vehicle is able to fire single rockets, or a salvo from some to all 12 rockets. A Full salvo lasts 38 seconds. Projectiles are launched by an operator from inside the cabin or outside it, using an extractive control device. Three "Smerch" launching vehicles salvo destruction power is equal to the work of two brigades, fitted with 9K79 "Tochka-U" ground-to-ground missiles. One launching vehicles salvo covers 672 square meters in a 20 - 70 km range.

This is a system used solely for a ground invasion.  Since the Russians already hold Crimea, the only ground that could be targeted by these systems is ground outside of Crimea; and the only ground outside Crimea is the Ukraine.

 It now appears the Russians are planning for a ground invasion of Ukraine.  The deployment of the Smerch rocket systems coincides with an announcement yesterday of a "training drill" of all Russian forces in the Western Military Districts of Russia, which happen to lay on the eastern border of Ukraine.  The trouble is that we've all learned that "Training & Drill" are the new Synonyms for "Staging & Preparing."

Below is a video obtained by TRN proving the deployment of multiple SMERCH rocket system trucks in Crimea.