The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Tibet Military District is deploying a new longer-range guided rocket with modified PHL-03 multiple rocket launchers (MRLs). China Central Television (CCTV), released footage on 20 October showing several units of the new rocket being loaded onto a PHL-03 MRL, which is fitted with 12 launch tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets. The new rocket, the range is 30 km greater than that of the standard rockets used by the system, is shown in the footage being fired by an artillery brigade during a high-altitude live-fire exercise – presumably in Tibet – and accurately striking several small targets in quick succession.
The PHL-03 is a 12-tube 300 mm long-range multiple rocket launcher of the People’s Republic of China . The design is based on the Russian made BM-30 Smerch rocket artillery system. The PHL-03 has the same configuration as the original Russian counterpart with 12 launch tubes for 300 mm artillery rockets, along with a computerized fire control system (FCS) incorporating GPS/GLONASS/Beidou. The main role for this multiple rocket launcher is to engage strategic targets such as large concentrations of troops, airfields, command centres, air defense batteries and support facilities. It is also used to engage in counter battery fire missions.
Given that the unguided BRC4, BRE2 and the guided Fire Dragon 140A 300 mm rockets used by the 8×8 PHL-03 all have a maximum range of about 130 km
A standard weight for each rocket is 800 kg with a 280 kg warhead. Maximum firing range is depending on warhead type with around 70 – 130 km. Standard warheads are High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), fuel-air explosive, and cluster warheads with anti-armor and anti-personnel submunitions. Cluster warheads can also carry self-targeting anti-tank munitions. A full salvo of this system could potentially cover an area of up to 67 hectares. The new guided rocket – the designation of which was not revealed – has a maximum range of about 160 km.