The China Academy of Launch vehicle Technology (CALT) developed the "A-100" rocket launching vehicle for possible adoption by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) based on Chinese experience with the Soviet-Russian BM-30 (9A52-2) "Smerch" 8x8 wheeled system. It is believed that the Chinese took on an unknown number of these vehicles for evaluation during the late 1990s. While not adopted outright, the Russian product no doubt had an influence on a local Multiple Rocket Launch System (MLRS) solution for the PLA. One result of this work became the A-100 which was debuted in 2000. The A-100 was evaluated by the PLA but the role eventually fell to the "PHL03" series wheeled rocket projectors.
Differences between the Chinese interpretation of the Russian Smerch series is in the carrier vehicle and the rockets themselves. The carrier vehicle is a local Chinese industry heavy-duty 8x8 wheeled chassis - the Tai'an TAS5380 truck - powered by a diesel-fueled engine of 640 horsepower. This supplies a maximum road speed up to 60 kmh with a road range out to 650 kilometers. The vehicle features a running length of 9 meters, width of 2.8 meters, and height of 3.2 meters. A forward-mounted crew cab is featured for the driver's compartment and the total crew complement is four. Hydraulic legs are lowered prior to the firing of the rockets - which takes just seconds to clear the launcher unit.
Concerning the rockets, these weapons are fitted with a basic guidance system (featuring computer correction) which helps to improve overall accuracy. Since field saturation is primarily the name-of-the-game regarding MLRSs, accuracy remains something of a bonus quality of the A-100. None-the-less, accuracy on the battlefield is still a priceless commodity regardless of weapon, particularly where collateral damage and civilian deaths are to be avoided. The rockets are of 300mm caliber and hold a maximum range out to 100 kilometers. The launcher unit is sat atop the carrier vehicle and sports ten total launch tubes for a devastating salvo against an intended enemy-held area. The typical warhead is a High-Explosive, FRAGmentation (HE-FRAG) type while a submunition dispenser variant is also available for combating infantry and armored forces. Rockets are powered by a solid propellant booster unit and measure some 7+ meters in overall length.
Tanzania is said to be the only global operator of the A-100.
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