Brazilian Army Fires Rocket Launcher System Used in Defense of Capital
By Dialogo July 14, 2011
The upgrades to the system presented by the Planalto Military Command (a major command of the Brazilian Army) at the installations of the 6th Multiple Rocket Launcher Group (6th GLMF) in Formosa, a city in the state of Goiás, near Brasilia, include longer-range rockets and a completely digital command-and-control vehicle.
Four Astros II vehicles launched eleven demonstration projectiles on 7 July. A new generation of command-and-control vehicles for the Astros System has a digital display and auto-programmable controls, enabling the artillery command to fire missiles with only the touch of a button.
According to Army Artillery Col. Valério Langer, “with the new technologies, the commands do everything more quickly and with more certainty that they are being executed. The new command-and-control vehicle is going to make it possible to execute launches with more agility, following the addition of a large computational capacity to the vehicle, which is equipped with integrated GPS and a high-precision coded radio signal, preventing enemies from understanding conversations between the soldiers and commanders of the operation.”
Developed by the Brazilian firm Avibras over the last two decades, the Astros System vehicles were planned, built, and delivered to the Brazilian Army, representing an investment of 1.4 billion reais (around 896 million dollars). The system is considered one of the best area-saturation artillery rocket launcher systems currently available (range between thirty and eighty kilometers).
Each battery includes an average of eight vehicles, including launchers, a rocket resupply vehicle, a service vehicle (office), and special command and fire-control vehicles, as well as communications services. The rockets range from SS-30s (thirty kilometers) to SS-80s (eighty kilometers), and a battery is capable of launching 196 SS-30s in sixteen seconds.
This firepower, delivered with two thousand rockets, cannot be purchased separately or for less than 100 million reais (around 64 million dollars), a price that does not include radars, training of personnel, and post-sale assistance.
Highly effective, the Astros System offers high mobility and the capacity to inflict heavy damage on enemy troop concentrations and strategic objectives such as industrial plants, refineries, and energy-generation plants. In the case of the 6th GLMF, the system has the important mission of defending Brasilia, the Brazilian capital.