The Ukraine National Security and Defense Council announced, Ukraine’s State Kyiv Design Bureau “Luch” successfully conducted regular tests of the Vilkha-M missile with 120 km range at the proving ground in the Odesa region on March 30-31. This missile is developed by Ukrainian defense enterprises in a closed production cycle. The Vilkha-M is an upgrade of the original Vilkha (“Alder tree”) complex which is based on the Soviet-era BM-30 Smerch 300 mm multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).
“Even in the conditions of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing implementation of the Ukrainian missile program with the active participation of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the General Staff of the Armed Forces continues in the sphere of security and defense. This missile is created by the companies of the defense industry in a closed production cycle. The rocket launcher system with the Vilkha-M missiles will become a powerful weapon of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the National Security Council said.
The upgrade was seen as essential because Ukraine had exhausted its stocks of Soviet-era rockets for the system and needed to develop a replacement. By August 2016, the first tests had been completed. Government testing of the standard Vilkha was completed in April 2018 after a series of launches on the test ground in the Kherson region. The Ukrainian armed forces had accepted the original Vilkha into service by the close of 2018, and the most recent tests reflect the military’s efforts to field an enhanced version, the Vilkha-M.