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This report contains a general overview of the current state of rocket artillery. Its aim is to give a complete picture of the technology, capacity and distribution of these types of weapon.  

Although the principles of rocket propulsion have been known for centuries, the concept of rocket artillery, as it is known today, was introduced during The Second World War. Since then its popularity and distribution has steadily increased, and it is currently a part of the inventory of more than one hundred national armies. In addition, non-state armed units have also acquired this capacity, and have used it on several occasions during the last decade. This use has also included the application of improvised rockets based on readily available components, and used in a mode where the precision and the accuracy of the delivery have been compromised. This development is a result of the increasing tendency towards asymmetric warfare, where direct exchange of fire in a regular battle is of secondary importance.  

Herein, rocket artillery is defined as rockets fired in an indirect mode and with a capability to engage targets at less than 100 km range, but not excluding systems capable of reaching several hundred kilometres However, the class commonly known as short range ballistic missiles is not included here. With these limitations, rocket artillery includes systems of around 50 mm calibre with a range of a few kilometres and a load of a few hundred grams of explosives up to large systems that may contain more than 100 kg of explosives.  

The report discusses several technological aspects including construction, ballistics, accuracy of delivery, use, and the effect of the warhead. Some examples of use and its effect on a given target are presented. This target is chosen to represent a typical target in the context of defence of camps against such ordnance.  

Serving the purpose of a reference document, a high number of rocket artillery systems are briefly described. Systems that are obsolete or that never have matured beyond the prototype level have not been included.

Author: Norwegian Defence Research Establishment - June 2010

179 Pages, PDF format. Download link will be immediately available after checkout. 

File size: 6.42 MB

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