Since the dark days of World War 2, the Soviet Army has held the rocket projector in high regard and has included thousands of examples in their inventory to fulfill their armor doctrine requirements. The rocket projector provided a relatively inexpensive and psychologically-effective non-line-of-sight battlefield weapon despite its general inaccuracies against specific targets - instead target "areas" were chosen over engagement of targets directly. When used effectively - that is in groups of multiple rocket launching vehicles - the salvos unleashed provided devastating results against the enemy and proved well worth the initiative.
It was only proper that, with the Soviet influence over Czechoslovakia, that the Czech Army followed suit in their armor doctrine as well. For decades following World War 2, the Czechs utilized the basic RM-51 multiple rocket launcher, a six-wheeled truck chassis mounting an elevating/traversing turret armed with 32 x 130mm rockets and based on the Soviet World War 2-era BM-13 series. The type saw use by the forces of Austria, Bulgaria, Cuba, Egypt, Libya and - one of the largest operators - Romania, the latter procuring nearly 600 units and these were known locally the "R-2".
The RM-70's reach was such that all 40 rockets could be fired by the crew in less than 20 seconds out to a range of 20 kilometers. The turret was flexible enough for the system to engage target areas at any required angle without the entire vehicle having to be turned to face the fight. In this way, the vehicle could be used to lay down a "carpet" of rocket fire and displace to a safe position for reloading. Point protection against low-flying aircraft and infantry was by way of personal crew weapons or the included vz. 59 series general purpose machine gun.
The RM-70 was developed into a few notable variant which included the base RM-70 combat model. The RM-70/85 was a lightened, unarmored version fitted with a T3-930-51 series 265 horsepower engine. This was followed by the modernized RM-70/85M which included an all-new fire control system and land navigation suite to keep the system viable for the modern battlefield. The rocket was further evolved with this derivative to include a 36 kilometer range. The RM-70 "Modular" was introduced in 2000 to produce a Multiple Rocket Launch System (MLRS) to conform to NATO standards. The modular nature of the design was such that the armament turret could be replaced with another turret type (fitting different caliber rockets) as needed - broadening the tactical appeal of the RM-70 family considerably. Introduction of these systems was in 2005. The Vz,92 "Krizan VMZ" was an engineering vehicle variant and developed as another modular solution to undertake varying battlefield roles including ranged anti-infantry/anti-tank mine-laying.
The RM-70 has gone on to see widespread use by various forces outside of the Czech Republic (these now since retired) since its introduction in 1971/1972. Operators included Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Finland (as the 122 RakH 89), Georgia, East Germany (later sent to Greece after reunification), Greece, Ghana, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Myanmar, Poland, Rwanda, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Uruguay, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
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April 2022 - Czechia has delivered RM-70 MLRS vehicles to the nation of Ukraine to support its fight against Russia. As many as twenty units were part of the agreement.
State Factories - Czechoslovakia Manufacturer(s)
Angola; Croatia; Czechoslovakia; Czech Republic; Czechia; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Ecuador; Finland; Georgia; East Germany; Greece; Ghana; Indonesia; Iran; Lebanon; Myanmar; North Korea; Poland; Rwanda; Slovakia; Sri Lanka; Uganda; Ukraine (by way of Czechia); Uruguay; Yemen; Zimbabwe Operators
FIRE SUPPORT / ASSAULT / BREACHING
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.
28.9 ft (8.8 meters) Length
8.2 ft (2.5 meters) Width
9.5 ft (2.9 meters) Height
67,384 lb (30,565 kg) Weight
33.7 tons (Medium-class) Tonnage
1 x Tatra T-930-3 diesel engine developing 270 horsepower driving conventional 8x8 all-wheeled arrangement. Drive System
50 mph (80 kph) Road Speed
373 miles (600 km) Road Range
40 x 122mm rockets in traversing/elevating turret mount.
40 x Rockets (single reload); also dependent upon ammunition carrier.
RM-70 - Base Series Designation.
RM-70/85 - Unarmed lightened version; fitted with T3-903-51 series engine of 265 horsepower.
RM-70M - Alternative designation of RM-70/85
RM-70/85M - Modernized RM-70/85; new fire control system and land navigation suite; improved rocket range.
RM-70 "Modular" - Modular variant appearing in 2000 to conform to NATO standards; turret emplacement could be switched out with varying launcher types as required.
Vz.92 "Krizan" VMZ - Engineering Vehicle and mine-laying variant.
122 RakH 89 - Finnish Army Designation.
LRSV-122 M-96 "Tajfun" - Croatian Army variant.
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Image from the Czech Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
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