The Tornado-G multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) is designed and manufactured by SPLAV Scientific Production Enterprise, a company based in Russia. It is an upgraded variant of the BM-21 Grad MLRS, the new MLRS will provide improved tactical capabilities over its predecessor. Even though it looks remarkably similar to the BM-21 500-series Grad rockets, there are significant design changes especially in terms of the rocket motor and warhead. The Tornado-G rocket system is designed to destroy enemy fortifications and artillery systems with a high degree of precision. Equipped with automated targeting and navigation systems, the MLRS offers superior target engagement capabilities.
Development of this artillery rocket systems commenced in the 1990s. It was first revealed in 1998. However due to funding problems first order for 36 units was made only in 2011. The weapon system underwent a number of tests and successfully completed official testing by the Russian Armed Forces in January 2017. Splav Spa JSC revealed details of three upgraded 122 mm Grad rocket variants for the Tornado-G multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) at the 21–26 August 2018 Army International Military-Technical Forum in Kubinka, Russia. It was announced that by 2020 the Tornado-G will completely replace ageing BM-21 Grad in service with the Russian Army.
The range of Tornado-G MLRS firing these rockets is up to 20 km, less than the 30–40 km range achieved by the ‘500-series’ Grad rockets. The Tornado-G 9M538 HE Frag (high explosive, fragmentation) rocket is slightly shorter at 2.64 m when compared to the earlier 9M521 HE Frag (2.84 m in total length); although the warhead section is increased to 1 m in length. The Tornado-G 9M539 has a larger warhead that separates from the motor section and descends on to the target under a small parachute. A proximity fuze enables the spread of preformed and naturally-formed fragments in a circular pattern around the burst point and greatly improves lethality. The Tornado-G 9M541 ‘cargo’ rocket now has 70 dual-purpose HE/high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) submunitions instead of the previous 45.
The Tornado-G multiple launch rocket system is referred as 2B17. The launcher vehicle is based on Ural-4320 6×6 army truck is powered by a turbocharged YaMZ-238M2 diesel engine, which is rated at 240hp. The launch rocket systemn module is rectangular in shape and has the capacity to accommodate 40 launcher tubes, which can carry 122mm-calibre rockets weighing 70kg each. The rockets can carry a 40kg warhead, which is capable of penetrating through rolled homogeneous armour (RHA) with a thickness of 60mm to 100mm. The weapon system is capable of firing all artillery rockets simultaneously within a duration of 20 seconds. The artillery rockets carried by the escorting truck are reloaded manually by the onboard crew into the weapon system within seven minutes.