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Belarus to develop new long-range MRL

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A Polonez B-200BM combat vehicle at MILEX 2017. As well as a longer-range version being developed, the system may also be adapted to fire the 750 mm M20 guided missile (shown in the foreground). Source: N Novichkov

The Belarusian defence industry is developing a multiple rocket launcher (MRL) with a range of up to 300 km, an official spokesperson for the State Military Industry Committee (GKVP) told Jane's at MILEX 2017, which took place in Minsk from 20-22 May.

"In accordance with an order by GKVP, the Precision Electro-Mechanics Plant [ZTEM] has started the development of an MRL with a firing range of up to 300 km within the framework of the established co-operation. The localisation of its manufacturing is supposed to reach 85%," the spokesperson said. He added that the first live-firing trials of the new system are scheduled for October.

The official pointed out that deliveries to the Belarusian armed forces of the B-200 Polonez MRL, which has a 200 km range, had been among the pivotal achievements of the country's defence industry in 2016. The system was produced in Belarus with assistance from China and is based on the Chinese A200 MRL.

The upgraded 300-km-range variant will be designated the B-300. Offered for export by state-owned foreign trading enterprise Belspetsvneshtekhnika, the system might also be tested and certified for the Belarusian military.

The Polonez system, which was unveiled at MILEX 2017, incorporates the B-200BM combat vehicle, the B-200TZM transporter-loader vehicle, and the B-200BMU mobile command-and-control (C2) post vehicle. The system is designed to engage mechanised units, infrastructure, signal hubs and other weapon systems. The B-200 has a firing range of 50-200 km and a combat readiness time of 10 minutes. A division of Polonez MRLs has an ammunition load of 144 rockets.

The B-200BM combat vehicle is armed with eight ready-to-launch 301 mm missiles in two containerised pods. The missiles are mounted on an MZKT-7930-300 8x8 heavy truck produced by Minsk Wheeled Tractor, which has a fully laden weight of about 46 tonnes, a crew of three and a maximum road speed of 70 km/h.

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