According to reports, the development of a promising new MLRS with a uniquely high firepower started no later than the beginning of the current decade. Creating a military technology company engaged Jobaria Defense Systems (JDS), which is part of the Tawazun Group Corporation. At the beginning of this decade, the company-developer completed the design and built prototypes of equipment. Soon they were first shown to specialists and the general public. Considering the specific characteristics and capabilities of the presented equipment, it is not surprising that it aroused keen interest on the part of the military, experts and amateurs of military affairs.
The project, which received the official name Multiple Cradle Launcher or MCL, was based on a rather simple idea of a significant increase in the firepower of a multiple launch rocket system. It was proposed to increase the characteristics of a combat vehicle in the most obvious way, namely by increasing the number of missiles of a single salvo. Nevertheless, a simple-looking method required the development of quite complex systems that gave the finished equipment an unusual appearance and led to ambiguous characteristics.
The need to obtain the maximum possible salvo size did not allow the self-propelled making of a new sample of reactive artillery. The complex with the launchers of the required parameters could only be placed on a large and long semi-trailer platform. In this regard, the MLRS includes a truck tractor with the required characteristics, the task of which is the delivery of the semi-trailer to the position and the subsequent departure from it.
As follows from the available data, the architecture of the JDS Multiple Cradle Launcher rocket launcher system allows the use of tractors of different models. Thus, in the existing test photographs, the vehicles of the MAN company were captured, and for the first time, the systems publicly displayed at the exhibitions were moved by the American company Oshkosh Defense. In fact, the customer has the opportunity to independently choose a tractor from the available machines on the market that meet the requirements.
According to published data, trucks with armored cabs were shown during past exhibitions. It was a bonnet layout with a three-seat cockpit. The STANAG 2 level 4569 reservation was used to protect people from automatic bullets and shrapnel. In addition, the cabin is equipped with air conditioning and collective protection against weapons mass destruction.
The basis of the rocket launcher itself is a five-axle (!) Semi-trailer, on which all the necessary equipment is placed. The main element of the trailer is a rectangular platform of great length with a raised front section necessary for the installation of a king pin. On the front of the platform is a large rectangular armored body of an auxiliary power unit, necessary to power the weapon and its associated systems. The remaining sections of the platform are given for the installation of four launchers. In front of the semi-trailer, under the main platform, placed several boxes for the transport of property. The wheels of the semi-trailer are covered with large metal plates. Behind them, additional transport boxes are provided.
The existing wheeled chassis cannot provide the required stability in firing, because of which the semi-trailer received stabilization means. In front of the platform, in front of the wheels, there are three pairs of retractable hydraulic outriggers. The fourth pair is placed behind the wheels. When deployed at the firing position, the supports are pushed to the sides and lowered to the ground, as a result of which the semi-trailer is displayed in the air.
Outrigger supports are equipped with hydraulic cylinders, the working fluid for which is supplied by a pump of an auxiliary power unit. In addition to it, there is a generator in the front case of the semi-trailer that generates an alternating current of voltage 380 B. Electricity is necessary for the operation of some actuators of launchers. The pump and the generator are connected to a separate diesel engine of low power. For its operation on a semi-trailer there is a fuel tank of its own on the 200 l.
MLRS Multiple Cradle Launcher is equipped with four separate launchers at once. Each such device is based on a rectangular support platform with a wedge-shaped profile of the front. The platform is hinged and can rotate around a vertical axis at the expense of electric motors. In the stern of this platform there are hinges for the installation of a rocking artillery unit. The latter has in its composition a large platform frame structure capable of moving in a vertical plane. Lifting the launcher to the desired angle by using two hydraulic cylinders. A specific feature of the exhibition complexes was the open placement of fire control cables. Despite the presence of large armored units, the platform and the swinging parts were connected by cables that passed outside and had no protection.
Designers of the company Jobaria Defense Systems offered an interesting architecture of the launcher, which allows to obtain the highest possible performance when using ready-made unified components. On the swinging platform, there are mounts for three identical transport-launch containers that hold unguided rockets. With their help, the missiles are delivered to the firing position and then sent to the target. The MLRS is recharged by simply replacing empty TPKs with new ones. To facilitate replacement, the container has a set of hinges for lifting with a crane.
The transport and launch container from the JDS Multiple Cradle Launcher complex is a protected metal block of rectangular shape with the required dimensions. Inside the common body are 20 launch tubes for unguided missiles (five rows of four guides). The guides are made in the form of pipes with two longitudinal spiral grooves on the walls. With the help of the latter, the initial spin of the projectile is carried out at launch.
The launching of launchers is carried out synchronously or differentiated by commands from a console located in the cockpit. With the help of electric motors, the platforms turn in azimuth at an angle of up to 90 °; hydraulics provide lifting of swinging parts from TPC to the required angle. Start control is carried out by electric pulses from the console.
The crew of the combat vehicle Jobaria Multiple Cradle Launcher consists of only three people. They are located in the cab of the tractor and have all the necessary tools to prepare for shooting and firing. Shooting and targeting are performed using a remote control system. If necessary, the remote control can be used for the same purposes. The calculation of the guidance angles is carried out by an automated fire control system associated with modern navigation equipment. To determine its own location, the crew must use an inertial navigation system or instruments using GPS satellite signals. The use of its own set of meteorological instruments is foreseen.
Communication equipment is available on board the vehicle for exchanging data and obtaining the desired target designation. Data on intended targets can be received and transmitted to other machines. Due to this, the complex can work both independently and as part of compounds.
The previously presented configuration of the multiple launch rocket system implied the use of Turkish-made TR-122 unguided missiles. These products are another version of the shells of the Soviet system BM-21 "Grad". Rockets caliber 122 mm and a length of about 3 m have a mass up to 71,6 kg and are equipped with solid-fuel engines. Depending on the modification, such a projectile is capable of delivering a high-explosive warhead or a warhead with ready striking elements to a range from 16 to 40 km.
Each transport and launch container has 20 guides for missiles. The swinging part of the launcher is capable of carrying three such TPKs. Four launchers of a Multiple Cradle Launcher multiple launch rocket launcher carry 240 missiles. The unique size of the ammunition, as well as the possibility of separate guidance of four launchers allow one combat vehicle of a new type to replace the battery of four MLRS BM-21 or their direct analogues.
After arriving at the intended firing position, the crew of the complex need several minutes to deploy. During this time, the auxiliary power unit is launched, the semi-trailer is hung out by outriggers and the launchers are guided. Further, having received the order, the calculation can open fire. Each of the four launchers can fire up to 2 shots in an 1 second. To shoot three TPK takes at least half a minute. Depending on the assigned fire mission, the MLRS JDS MCL can use four launchers simultaneously or sequentially. A full 240 salvo with shells at one point allows you to destroy targets over an area of about 4 sq. Km. Collapsing to leave a position takes a few minutes.
After the ammunition is used up, the combat vehicle needs recharging. To perform such operations, a special transport-loading machine was developed. All special equipment of TZM is based on a five-axle semi-trailer, similar to that used for transporting launchers. On the semi-trailer two cranes of the required loading capacity are located. Next to them there are places for transporting several containers with missiles. A complete recharge takes about 30 minutes.
Transport-charging machine complex JDS MCL. Photo Armyrecognition.com
When using the Oshkosh three-axle truck tractor, the total length of the complex in the stowed position reaches 29 m. Full width - 4 m, height - 3,8 m. Combat weight of the complex - 105 t. MLRS can reach a relatively high speed on the highway. With a full mass, the power reserve reaches 450 km. In connection with the use of specific running gears, the reactive volley fire system places special demands on the quality of the roads. This technique does not have high maneuverability and therefore needs roads with good coverage. To move such cars is supposed, first of all, on the existing highways.
In February, the next international exhibition of weapons and military equipment IDEX was held in the United Arab Emirates in February 2013. During this event, the company Jobaria Defense Systems for the first time presented to the general public its latest development in the field of rocket artillery. In the open area of the cabin, two promising complexes with missile weapons were displayed at once. According to foreign media reports, at the time of the first public display of the MLRS Multiple Cradle Launcher has already been adopted by the UAE ground forces.
Shortly after the “premiere” of an interesting development, there were reports of the possible creation of new modifications of this system. The use of launchers with replaceable transport-launch containers of missiles, at least in theory, allowed the use of unguided rockets of various types, calibers and purposes. Thus, the possibility of using 240 107 mm missiles was mentioned. When using the 300-mm TR-300 missiles, the complex could destroy targets at ranges up to 100 km. However, until a certain time, alternative weapons options for the JDS MCL existed only in the form of initial technical proposals.
According to available data, no later than the beginning of 2013, the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates received the first serial MLRS of a new type. New credible reports about the continued production of this technology were not received in the future. Perhaps the customer, represented by the army, considered it inexpedient to further purchase the most interesting, but ambiguous, samples of military equipment. Foreign countries showed no interest in such combat vehicles and did not wish to order them for their armed forces.
Like any other model of weapons or military equipment, the Jobaria Multiple Cradle Launcher rocket launcher has both advantages and disadvantages. The specific appearance of this sample, associated with the desire of developers to improve certain characteristics, has accordingly affected the pros and cons, strengthening them in one way or another. As a result, the unique MLRS is interesting not only for its design, but also for the features associated with it.
The main advantage, which has become the cornerstone of the entire project, is an extremely large mobile ammunition. The four JDS MCL launchers use 240 mm 122 missiles, which is equivalent to a traditional MLRS rocket battery. Carrying out the functions of a battery, a single combat vehicle with a large ammunition can more quickly reach a position and carry out preparations for firing. Such characteristics are further enhanced by maximizing the automation of various processes. The company also developed an argument in the form of a reduction in the necessary personnel: the crew of one Multiple Cradle Launcher is ten times smaller than all the calculations of an artillery battery with equivalent firepower.
In general, in terms of the characteristics of the missiles and the combat capabilities of the entire complex, the development of JDS looks like another attempt not only to copy the Soviet / Russian “Grad”, but also to significantly improve its characteristics. In this case, to increase the combat potential, it was decided to use several unified launchers in combination with modern navigation equipment, an advanced fire control system, etc. All this to a certain extent increases the accuracy of shooting and the probability of hitting the target. Large volumes of salvo, in turn, enhance the positive effect of modern equipment. The tasks of increasing firepower and overall combat effectiveness can be considered successfully solved.
A specific feature of the Multiple Cradle Launcher complex is the used platform in the form of a truck tractor with a semi-trailer. Such equipment allowed to place all the necessary units and launchers on one chassis, but these results were obtained at the price of a noticeable reduction in mobility. A tractor with a semi-trailer is quite demanding on the quality of the roads and, in fact, cannot be driven off-road. Perhaps the UAE road network allows you to quickly and easily transfer military equipment to the required areas, but the impossibility of normal movement over rough terrain can be considered a minus of the original project.
Problems with mobility in some situations can most negatively affect the results of the combat operation of equipment. For example, because of them, the MLRS may have difficulty reaching the required firing position and its subsequent abandonment. In this case, it simply will not be able to realize its full potential, due to the large ammunition and high performance fire control tools. In addition, being tied to highways, the JDS Multiple Cradle Launcher system risks being detected by an adversary with an understandable sad result. All this reduces the real combat capabilities and the overall potential of an interesting sample.
Layout MLRS Jobaria TCL. Photo Armyrecognition.com
Probably, the creators of the JDS MCL project realized their mistakes and took them into account when creating new samples of rocket artillery. At the IDEX 2017 exhibition in February, for the first time, layouts of the prospective Jobaria TCL multiple launch rocket system were presented. The proposed combat vehicle is based on existing developments and retains some features of the already well-known complex. At the same time, to improve the technical, combat and operational characteristics, it was decided to use some new ideas. The MLRS of a new type is also being built on the basis of a semi-trailer, but now it has only two launchers with standard mounts for TPK 300-mm unguided missiles.
The development of various weapons and military equipment, aimed at improving the basic characteristics, often leads to very remarkable results. Improvement of modern multiple launch rocket systems, pursuing similar goals, several years ago led to the emergence of a unique JDS Multiple Cradle Launcher combat vehicle. As far as is known, this technique was put into service only by the UAE army, while other countries did not order such combat vehicles. Such results, perhaps, clearly confirm the obvious fact: far from any improvement in the characteristics makes sense and can find practical application. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that such conclusions are drawn from the results of a study of the finished sample of equipment brought to the test and operation in the army.
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