BM-21 Grad

BM-21 "Grad"

A Russian BM-21-1 on display in Saint Petersburg, in May 2009
Type Multiple rocket launcher
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1963–present
Used by See Operators
Wars Vietnam War
Lebanese Civil War
Western Sahara War
Angolan Civil War
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Iran–Iraq War
Soviet War in Afghanistan
Gulf War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
First Chechen War
1995 Cenepa War
Second Chechen War
Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel
Russo-Georgian War
Cambodian–Thai border dispute
Libyan Civil War (2011)
Syrian Civil War
Operation Serval
War in Donbass
Yemeni Civil War (2015)
2016 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes
Production history
Designer Splav State Research and Production Enterprise
Designed 1963
Manufacturer Splav State Research and Production Enterprise
Produced 1963–present
Variants See Variants
Specifications (9K51)
Weight 13.71 tonnes (30,225 lb)
Length 7.35 m (24 ft 1 in)
Barrel length 3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)
Width 2.40 m (7 ft 10 in)
Height 3.09 m (10 ft 2 in)
Crew 3

Barrels 40
Rate of fire 2 rounds/s
Muzzle velocity 690 m/s (2,264 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 20 km (new rockets 30–45 km)
Sights PG-1M panoramic telescope

Engine V-8 gasoline ZiL-375
180 hp (130 kW)
Suspension 6×6 wheeled
405 km (251 mi)
Speed 75 km/h (47 mph)

The BM-21 "Grad" (Russian: БМ-21 "Град"), is a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher,[1] and a M-21OF rocket[2] were developed in the early 1960s. BM stands for boyevaya mashina (combat vehicle), and the nickname grad means "hail". The complete system with the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket is designated as the M-21 field rocket system. The complete system is more commonly known as a Grad multiple rocket launcher system. In NATO countries, the system (either the complete system or the launch vehicle only) was initially known as M1964. Several other countries have copied it or developed similar systems.


BM-21-1 launch vehicle during a military parade in Yekaterinburg, 9 May 2009.

The M-21 field rocket system with a BM-21 launch vehicle (122 mm multiple rocket launcher (MRL) system entered service with the Soviet Army in 1963 to replace the aging 140 mm BM-14 system). The launch vehicle consists of a Ural-375D six-by-six truck chassis fitted with a bank of 40 launch tubes arranged in a rectangular shape that can be turned away from the unprotected cab. The vehicle is powered by a water-cooled V-8 180 hp gasoline engine, has a maximum road speed of 75 km/h (47 mph), road range of up to 750 kilometers (470 mi), and can cross fords up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) deep. The original vehicle together with supporting equipment (including the re-supply truck 9T254 with 60 rockets) is referred to by the GRAU index "9K51"; the launcher itself has the industrial index of "2B5". In 1976, the BM-21 was mounted on the newer Ural-4320 six-by-six army truck.

The three-member crew can emplace the system and have it ready to fire in three minutes. The crew can fire the rockets from the cab or from a trigger at the end of a 64-meter (210 ft) cable. All 40 rockets can be away in as little as 20 seconds, but can also be fired individually or in small groups in several-second intervals. A PG-1M panoramic telescope with K-1 collimator can be used for sighting. The BM-21 can be packed up and ready to move in two minutes, which can be necessary when engaged by counter-battery fire. Reloading is done manually and takes about 10 minutes.

Each 2.87-meter (9 ft 5 in) rocket is slowly spun by rifling in its tube as it exits, which along with its primary fin stabilization keeps it on course. Rockets armed with high explosive-fragmentation, incendiary, or chemical warheads can be fired 20 kilometers (12 mi). Newer high explosive and cargo (used to deliver anti-personnel or antitank mines) rockets have a range of 30 kilometers (19 mi) and more. Warheads weigh around 20 kilograms (44 lb), depending on the type.

The number of rockets that each vehicle is able to quickly bring to bear on an enemy target makes it effective, especially at shorter ranges. One battalion of eighteen launchers is able to deliver 720 rockets in a single volley. The system has lower precision than typical artillery and cannot be used in situations that call for pinpoint precision. It relies on a large number of shells dissipating over an area for a certain hit rate on specific targets. Nonetheless, because of the short warning time for the impact of the whole volley, the BM-21 is still considered an effective weapon.


BM-21 launch vehicle.
9P138 launch vehicle of the Grad-1 multiple rocket launcher system.

Soviet Union

Adaptations of the launcher were/are produced by several countries including China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Poland and Romania.



Ukrainian BM-21M "Grad-U" based on KrAZ-6322 chassis


Georgian RS-122, a heavily upgraded and automated version of the Soviet BM-21 based on the KrAZ-63221

People's Republic of China

Former Czechoslovakia

RM-70 launch vehicle, a Czechoslovak variant with the BM-21 launch vehicle launcher unit.


WR-40 Langusta, a deeply modernized and automated version, of the Soviet BM-21 based on the Jelcz P662D.35 6x6 truck; displayed at the MSPO 2007.


The Egyptians domestically manufacture the rockets Sakr-18 and Sakr-36, with a respective range of 18 km (11 mi) and 36 km (22 mi), and the latest Sakr-45 with a superior range of 45 km (28 mi). Rather than a standard HE-Frag round, the Egyptian military prefers a 23-kilogram (51 lb) cluster munition, which can be extremely effective against lightly armored equipment and troop concentrations. Both rockets, as well as the original Soviet models of course, are fired by locally manufactured rocket launchers like the RL-21 (copy of BM-11) and RC-21 (copy of BM-21, similar to the Hadid HM20). The Helwan Machine Tools Company also produces portable systems with one, three, four and eight launch tubes.

Palestine and the Gaza Strip

Since 2006 Hamas has fired 122 mm Grad rockets, copies made in Iran, and Eastern-bloc versions modified to expand their range and lethality, into Israel.[6] The rockets were believed to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip via tunnels from Egypt.[6] Some of the rockets were of a Chinese Grad variant.[7] Hamas sources said they were pleased by the performance of the Chinese variants of the BM-21 Grad rocket, which demonstrated a far greater range and blast impact than Palestinian-made rockets, as well as Russian-origin Grads or Katyushas.[7][8]

Hamas have used small man-portable single-tube launchers for rockets in attacks against Israel, designated 122 mm 9P132/BM-21-P.[9] The 122 mm Grad rockets used in Gaza have a range of about 40 km (25 mi), and can reach the Israeli towns of Ashdod, Beer-Sheva, Ofakim, Gedera, Kiryat Gat, Ashqelon, Sderot, Rehovot, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne. The Islamic Jihad also published a clip claiming device mounted used as a multi-barrel rocket launcher on vehicle used for first time in Gaza[10] On 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome system successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza for the first time. The rockets were launched without their dedicated platforms and by untrained operators which causes very low accuracy.Over 50% of the rockets miss entire cities and over 10% end up hitting the sea.[11]


The Homicho Ammunition Engineering Complex produces the rockets while the Bishoftu Motorization Engineering Complex produces the launching tubes and has converted existing trucks to diesel engine. Bishoftu motorization has also produced a six tube launcher to be mounted on light trucks.

North Korea


D.I.O. from Iran produces copies of the BM-11 and BM-21 systems that can fire the original Soviet rockets as well as the locally developed "Arash" with a range of 20.5 km (12.7 mi). There is also a rocket with a range of 75 km (47 mi).


Various 122mm-type rockets were deployed by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, modified to deliver nerve agents to targets. This included the 40 inch long, domestically produced Grad MLRS-compatabile "Borak" warhead designed to disperse sarin gas.[14]



APRA-40, a Romanian variant of the Grad, and a 6-rocket launcher built on a DAC chassis.


Serbian LRSVM Morava

South Africa



The original “GRAD” rocket has a range of about 20 kilometers (12 mi). The first modification called "G-M" increased the range to about 27.5 kilometers (17.1 mi), while the second modification "G-2000" further increased the range to about 40 kilometers (25 mi).[21] The range may also vary due to the type of warhead.

Origin Ammunition type Minimum range Maximum range Length Weight Warhead weight
metres miles metres miles metres ft in kg lb kg lb
9M22U (M-21OF) USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 5,000 3.1 20,380 12.66 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66.6 147 18.4 41
9M28F USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 1,500 0.93 15,000 9.3 2.27 7 ft 5 in 56.5 125 21.0 46.3
9M28K USSR/Russia Anti-tank mines 13,400 8.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 57.7 127 22.8 50
9M43 USSR/Russia Smoke 20,000 12 2.95 9 ft 8 in 66 146 20.2 45
9M217 USSR/Russia Anti-tank submunitions 30,000 19 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
9M218 USSR/Russia HEAT submunitions 30,000 19 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
9M519 USSR/Russia RF jammer 18,500 11.5 3.04 10 ft 0 in 66 146 18.4 41
9M521 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 40,000 25 2.87 9 ft 5 in 66 146 21 46
9M522 USSR/Russia Fragmentation-HE 37,500 23.3 3.04 10 ft 0 in 70 150 25 55
PRC-60 USSR/Russia Underwater charge (for BM-21PD) 300 0.19 5,000 3.1 2.75 9 ft 0 in 75.3 166 20 44
Type 90A China Fragmentation-HE 12,700 7.9 32,700 20.3 2.75 9 ft 0 in 18.3 40
M21-OF-FP Romania Fragmentation-HE 5,000–6,000 3.1–3.7 20,400 12.7 2.87 9 ft 5 in 65.4 144 6.35 14.0
M21-OF-S Romania Fragmentation-HE 1,000 0.62 12,700 7.9 1.927 6 ft 3.9 in 46.6 103 6.35 14.0
Sakr-45A Egypt AT / AP submunitions 42,000 26 3.310 10 ft 10.3 in 67.5 149 24.5 54
Sakr-45B Egypt Fragmentation-HE 45,000 28 2.900 9 ft 6.2 in 63.5 140 20.5 45

Also Incendiary, Chemical, Illumination, Antipersonnel mines.


Map of BM-21 operators in blue with former operators in red
A used 122mm projectile of multiple rocket launcher stuck into muddy land in Vaharai, Batticaloa during the Sri Lankan Civil War (2007).
Djiboutian Army Rocket Launcher.

Current operators

Former operators


See also


  1. Splav 122 mm BM-21 multiple rocket launcher family (Russian Federation), Multiple rocket launchers, Jane's Armour and Artillery
  2. 122 mm BM-21 Grad-series rockets (Russian Federation), Artillery rockets, Jane's Ammunition Handbook
  3. "BM-21 Grad firing MRLS multiple rocket launcher system Russia Russian Army Recognition". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 Israel and Hamas: Conflict in Gaza 2008–2009. Congressional Research Service.
  7. 1 2 "Hamas turns to Chinese rockets over homemade: 'We need weapons that work'". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  8. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Terror in Gaza: Twelve months since the Hamas takeover”, 16 June 2008.
  9. Aviation Week, "Grad Rockets Hit Aqaba Port". 4/23/2010
  10. "Watch multi-barrel rocket launch from Gaza". ynet. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  11. "Iron Dome successfully intercepts Gaza rocket for first time". 7 April 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  12. "Hadid HM 20 122 mm 40 rounds Multiple rocket launcher system". Army Recognition. 21 November 2011.
  14. Chivers, C.J. ; Schmitt, Eric (Feb 15, 2015). "C.I.A. Is Said to Have Bought and Destroyed Iraqi Chemical Weapons". New York Times.
  15. "POF, French company sign MoU on rocket technology". AAJ TV. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  16. "Refurbishment/Range Enhancement of 122 mm MBRL Ammunition". GIDS. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  17. Galerie Foto
  18. "Brigada 8 LAROM". Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  19. "R122 mm G-2000/G-M". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  20. Royal Thai Army DTI-2
  21. "MLRS "GRAD" AND IT'S MODIFICATIONS" (PDF). EDePro. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  22. John Pike. "Kazakhstan Land Forces Equipment". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  23. John Pike. "Kyrgyzstan - Army Equipment". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  24. The Military Balance 2010. — P. 419.
  25. ". .". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  26. "Latest rockets manufactured in China". The Jerusalem Post - Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  27. "BBC News - Israeli air strikes hit two Gaza towns". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  28. Army Recognition Alain Servaes. "Index army military equipment Peruvian Army Peru Index des quipements militaires arme pruvienne du Prou". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  29. "MILITARIUM – Uzbrojenie Wojska Polskiego w 2008 r"
  30. Eugene Yanko, Copyright 1997 – "9m22u Grad MLRS | Russian Arms, Military Technology, Analysis of Russia's Military Forces". Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  32. Frente Polisario
  33. John Pike. "Tajikistan - Army Equipment". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  34. John Pike. "Turkmensitan Army Equipment". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  35. John Pike. "Uzbekistan Army Equipment". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  36. "French soldier killed in Mali, 20 rebels dead". Reuters. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  37. "Grad". Deagel.


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