The PHL03, based on the Russian BM-30 "Smerch" Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), was adopted ahead of the competing A-100 for People's LIberation Army (PLA) service. The vehicle was then further developed to become the "AR-1" 8x8 wheeled series and appeared during 2009, offering improved tactical capabilities and support of guided rocket munitions. The AR-1 has since been expanded to include several progressive versions with an export model - designated as A-100E (AR-1A) - delivered to Pakistan.
The AR-1 continues support of the 300mm variable-warhead battlefield rocket and, like other MLRSs, is intended for area saturation of enemy-held territory. An 8x8 heavy duty wheeled chassis forms the carrier vehicle portion of the complete MLRS system with the launcher unit set atop the rear section of the chassis. The crew numbers four with members housed in a forward-set cabin. The launcher unit is trainable to an extent which allows the vehicle to not have to be turned completely into the direction of fire. Hydraulic recoil legs at the rear sides of the truck are lowered for stabilization prior to firing - firing taking just seconds to empty the whole launcher unit. Ten launch tubes make up the basic 300mm rocket launcher component.
The AR-1A has since been introduced as something of a modular variant of the original AR-1 series in which the entire launcher unit can be replaced in-the-field by an accompanying support vehicle. In this way each launch tube does not have to be reloaded individually and therefore offers a much higher rate-of-fire for the crew. NORINCO then followed this mark with the AR-2 which retains the modularity of the AR-1A but supports increased engagement ranges out to 130 kilometers. The AR-3 form has also emerged and supports a 370mm battlefield rocket while retaining support firing the earlier 300mm rocket type. In the case of the 370mm launcher unit, the launch tubes number four.
A relatively new addition to the inventory of the PLA, the AR-1 series should maintain a healthy service life. Export sales may also increase its global popularity when competing with more expensive Russian offerings.
10 x 300mm rocket launch tubes (AR-3 supports 370mm types).
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
10 x 300mm rockets plus reloads carried through accompanying ammunition carrier.
AR-1 - Base Series Designation; further development of the earlier PHL03 system while also based on the Russian BM-30 Smerch platform.
AR-1A - Development of the AR-1 model; 10 x rocket launcher unit.
AR-100E - Export variant of the AR-1A
AR-2 - Development of the AR-1 / AR-1A with increased engagement range out to 130 km.
AR-3 - Development of AR-2 model with 370mm rockets.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
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