All major military powers of the world reserve some form of rocket-projecting vehicle in inventory for long-range, area-denial actions. These weapons are prolific in their ability to cover large swathes of terrain with explosive, anti-infantry, chemical or biological warheads / payloads. While some forms are towed by mover vehicles, many more modern approaches center on self-propelled models and many in the East rely on proven Soviet-era design influence - such as the "Fajr-3" ("Dawn-3") of the Iranian Army.
The vehicle was developed in or around 1990 and is believed to have entered service with Iran in 1996, having since been exported to Iran-aligned fighters of Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria. Iran had already managed extensive use of mobile rocket-projecting vehicles during its 1980s war with neighboring Iran. The Fajr-3 has been progressively improved and updated as the years has gone by. Most of its production has been handled by Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group (SBI).
The Fajr-3 is classified as a Multiple-Launch, Rocket System (MLRS) and is based on a 6x6, three-axled military truck. The rocket-launching pack is seated over the rear of the flatbed portion of the vehicle while the driving / crew cab is set over the first steerable axle. Road speeds of the vehicle reach 60 kmh on prepared roads and 25 kmh off-road.
The Iranian Fajr-3 is a locally-produced MLRS though it is based on a modified form of the original M1985 (Model 1985) produced by North Korea.
The M1985 is a modernized version of the M1977 which is based on the Soviet BM-21 "Grad" / "Katyusha" (detailed elsewhere on this site). It fires 40 x Rockets of 122mm caliber from an Isuzu 6x6 truck. The Iranian models differs primarily in its use of 20 x 240mm rockets and the chassis of a Mercedes-Benz Model 2624/2631 heavy-duty truck.
The 240mm solid-fueled rocket is over 5 meters in length and can range out to 43 kilometers. Each instance in held in its own launch tube in two packs of six rockets each (for a total of twelve) and carries a High-Explosive, FRAGmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead of considerable lethality - perfect for use against soft-skinned targets such as dug-in infantry.
The launcher portion has an elevation span of 0 to 57-degrees and can train 90 degrees to the left and 100 degrees to the right of centerline. Rate-of-fire is twelve rounds per forty-eight seconds.
The weapon, as a complete system, is crewed by five personnel, each trained in its proper function with cross-training for each position should one member of the process become incapacitated. An accompanying resupply vehicle provides the necessary ammunition for reloads and refire. This process takes as little as fifteen minutes to complete. Upon having fired its rocket war load, the vehicle can then make its escape - making for one very hard moving target to pinpoint and neutralize.
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