Rocket artillery is a type of artillery system that uses rocket explosives as the main projectile. The use of rocket artillery dates back to medieval China where devices such as fire arrows were used (mostly used as a psychological weapon). Fire arrows were also used in multiple launch systems and transported via carts. First true rocket artillery was developed in India by the Kingdom of Mysore. In the late nineteenth century, due to improvements in the power and range of conventional artillery, the use of early military rockets declined; they were finally used on a small scale by both sides during the American Civil War. Modern rocket artillery was first employed during World War II, in the form of the German Nebelwerfer family of rocket ordnance designs, Soviet Katyusha-series and numerous other systems deployed on a smaller scale by the Western allies and Japan. In modern use, the rockets are often guided by an internal guiding system or GPS in order to maintain high accuracy. The recent ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has shown the importance of rocket artillery systems in modern warfare, which are the weapons that have the full capability to change the direction of wars.
According to Military Watch, multiple rocket launchers since World War II have become an effective method of conducting long-range bombardment beyond the reach of conventional artillery systems.
Rocket Artillery Systems have played an important role in many recent major conflicts including the Syrian War and the ongoing Russia-Ukrainian conflict. Let’s have a look on the five most powerful rocket artillery systems in the world today.
The first is the Chinese PHL-16 truck-mounted self-propelled multiple rocket launcher (MRL) system. It is in active service with the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force since 2019, PHL-16 has put China at the forefront in the field of rocket artillery systems with the ability to deploy large-sized 750mm, 370mm and 300mm rockets, providing maximum striking range up to 500km.
These advanced rocket artillery systems are deployed from 8×8 wheeled mobile launchers, forming combinations of six launchers and several loader vehicles. PHL-16 has been put into operation and affirmed its superiority against leading Chinese self-propelled howitzers such as PLZ-05A, PLZ-52.