Improved Version of Soviet-era MLRS
UkrOboronProm (UOP) released details on 1 April of the BM-21UM BEREST, an upgrade for the venerable Soviet BM-21 GRAD 122 mm multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). The report claims the BM-21UM was developed with Ukrainian soldiers, with combat experience influencing the design, which is intended to perform fire missions both independently and as part of a unit, the former presumably influenced by Russia’s tactics in the Donbass.
The BM-21UM is based on a KrAZ-5401NE 4×4 truck, which provides an operating range of 600km from two 165l fuel tanks and a top road speed of 90 m/h. It features a digital fire control system that can receive data in real time from UAS, counter-battery radars and other surveillance assets, according to UOP, which claims this increases system reaction times and accuracy.
The vehicle is fitted with the SN-4215 navigation system from Arizona-Navigation, another essential element for effective artillery fires that was not standard for the BM-21. It is part of what enables the crew to lay the launcher onto its target automatically and facilitates the exchange of accurate information between units.
The capacity of the launch unit is increased to 50 rockets over the 40 carried by the BM-21. It is also provided with electronic actuators and two hydraulic jacks used to stabilise the vehicle whilst firing.
The upgrade represents an improvement in the capabilities of 122mm rocket launchers: however, the inherent weaknesses of the design; increasing accuracy errors with range; complicated logistics requirements; and an extensive signature once fired, remain without upgrades to the rockets themselves.