A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unit of Xinjiang Military Command deployed the country’s latest PHL-03 long-range multiple rocket launcher (MRL) artillery system in Tibet.
At least 10 units were delivered at a commissioning ceremony Saturday, along with other eight vehicles for command & control and and communications.
A report in semi-official Global Times said that the PLA Unit deployed to a high-altitude plateau (read Tibet) recently replaced its outdated artillery with digital, long-range heavy rocket artillery, greatly enhancing its all-weather combat capability in the border region.
The new MRL artillery will be deployed for missions like seizing and control of key regions, and group assault in high-altitude terrains and deserts as well as close to rivers and lakes, under all weather conditions, the report said.
The PHL-03, a 12-tube 300mm MRL. According to media reports, the PHL-03 is based on the Russian BM-30 Smerch and includes technology provided by the Russians for its launch system, trajectory control system besides rockets and warheads.
The PHL03 mounted MRL and vehicle has an overall combat weight of 43 tons. The vehicle is 12 meters in length, 3 meters in width and 3 meters in height. It is based on a Wanshan WS2400 8×8 special wheeled chassis and has a 500 horsepower diesel engine. The maximum road speed of the vehicle is 65 km / h with 850 kilometers range.
The maximum range of its basic rocket shell is 70 kilometers with salvo time of 38 seconds and the refill time is 20 minutes. Chinese PLA reported that improved rocket shells were also developed with the maximum range of 150 kilometers.
Each vehicle is capable of launching 24 rocket shells continuously and a combat unit can continuously fire 96 to 144 shells, covering the range of about 2 square kilometers.
Global Times said that he commissioning of the new artillery system comes with the arrival of spring to Southwest China’s high-altitude border regions, as the harsh cold season withers away. Previous border conflicts often started in this time of the year. The new weapons system shows that China is prepared to safeguard its territorial integrity at all times, the publication said quoting “observers.”