The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced during the IDEX show held in Abu Dhabi from 20 to 24 February that it has awarded a AED902 million (USD245 million) contract to procure AR3 multiple rocket/missile launchers made by Chinese defense company Norinco. The global open-source intelligence company Janes Norinco states that a typical AR3 battery consists of a command post vehicle, an unmanned aerial vehicle for identifying targets, six launchers, and six ammunition resupply vehicles. Announced by Tawazun Council, which manages procurement for the UAE Armed Forces, the contract was awarded to International Golden Group, Norinco’s Emirati partner, and includes in-country services.
The Norinco AR3 is a Chinese artillery rocket system, developed specially for export. This is the first known export order for the AR3, which carries two munitions pods, each of which can contain five 300 mm Fire Dragon 140 inertial navigation system (INS)/global navigation satellite services (GNSS)-guided missiles or four 370 mm Fire Dragon 280 missiles. Alternatively, it can carry two 750 mm Fire Dragon 480 tactical ballistic missiles, which have a range of 290 km, a warhead weighing 480 kg, and a circular error probability (CEP) accuracy of 30 m. It was first revealed in 2011.
This artillery rocket system is operated by a crew of 5. Crew prepare the launcher vehicle for firing without leaving the cabin. Preparation for launch takes about 5 minutes. Rockets can be also launched remotely from the vehicle. Once the rockets are fired vehicle can leave firing position within 1 minute. Brief redeployment allows to evade counter-battery fire. Launcher vehicles can operate in battery, battalion, or autonomously. A battery of AR3 includes launcher vehicles, reloading vehicles, command post vehicle, meteorological survey vehicle and other associated support vehicles.
The AR3 is based on Wanshan WS2400 special wheeled chassis with 8×8 configuration. The same wheeled chassis is used for most recent Chinese large-caliber multiple launch rocket systems. The WS2400 is powered by a Deutz turbocharged diesel engine, developing 517 hp. This engine is license-produced in China. Engine is located behind the cab. Vehicle has good cross-country mobility and can travel over all kinds of rough terrain and unimproved surfaces. It can operate in various climatic conditions, ranging from -20°C to +55°C. Vehicle is fitted with a central tyre inflation system. Tyre pressure can be adjusted by the driver while the vehicle is on the move.