The Southern Military District rocket unit stationed in the Astrakhan Region in south Russia has been fully rearmed with advanced 9A53-S Tornado-S multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS). The heavy launch rocket systems unit with 1,000 servicemen and over 100 items of military hardware, including fighting and transporter-loader vehicles of the Tornado-S multiple launch rocket systems had been formed in late 2018. At the end of the 2019 training session, one of the large unit’s formations was granted the shock force title.
The 9A53-S Tornado is the most powerful and universal long-range multiple rocket launcher in the world. This model is aimed at replacing the previous generation of Russian multiple rocket launchers, including BM-21 Grad, BM-27 Uragan and BM-30 Smerch. The 9A53-S system is based on the chassis of the MZKT-79306 8×8 military truck, which provides good tactical mobility. It is equipped with a 300mm Upgraded BM-30 Smerch Multiple Rocket Launcher Modules, which can fire all current Smerch rockets, including HE-FRAG, incendiary, thermobaric, cluster with anti-personnel or anti-tank mines.
Each unit comprises 12 launchers that can fire a salvo or single missiles. The firing range is 120 km and can be increased up to 200 km. Tornado-S considerably accelerates the missions. It needs several minutes to fire the whole round of munitions and one minute to abandon the firing position and escape a retaliation strike. The Tornado-S t is a fully automatic weapon with new precision munitions of a bigger range. They have homing warheads. The power is comparable to Tochka-U missiles. However, Tochka-U can fire one missile while Tornado-S a salvo.