Avibras AV-LM-12/36 and vehicle mounted ASTROS Hawk. Range of these systems is 12km
The SARMAC S.A Rattlebox was a Brandt-designed rocket system offered in the mid-1970s. It was a lightweight system intended ..in attack to support the infantry and in defence to break up the enemy attack. It can also be used to cover prepared obstacles with fire (Janes Infantry Weapons 1976, p.506). A simple 7-9 kg stand was used to mount expendable launch packs. The early model mounts three packs but later sources describe a 16 round weapon so evidently this was increased to four. The entire assembly weighed 30-40 kg and could be moved by two men with a light trolley. Each launch unit contained four 50mm x 550mm, 1.3 kg rockets. A launch unit was 140 x 140 x 600mm and weighed under 8 kg. The 12-16 rockets could all be launched in under a second and range is given as 800m. A variety of rocket types were proposed but the standard would probably have been the HEAT-Frag combination round. Shaped-charge warhead penetration is given as 250mm (same as the FIROS-6 HEDP rocket).
Rattleback and FIROS-6 suggest that a battalion-level system to supplement the infantrys mortars would be practical, being a useful saturation fire system against infantry in the open and light armoured and softskin vehicles such as technicals. Possibly a single Rattlebox could be deployed by a single soldier?
FFAR rocket pods have been mounted on vehicles as small as beach buggies (a.k.a. fast attack vehicles) and on various armoured vehicle turrets including USMC LAV-25s. Carlton Meyer has pointed out that FFAR pods can be mounted on the Avenger LAAD HMMWV for both direct and indirect fire. He also points out that a mounting that can take a FFAR rocket pod should also be able to mount a rack of four Hellfire missiles.
Larry Altersitz has suggested mounting rocket pods on self propelled guns and howitzers. Id prefer a system with complementary range, and modern SPG/ SPHs carry enough weight already. For lighter artillery such as mortar carriers the use of rocket pods may be more practical.
Ive often advocated that vehicles such as IFVs/ APCs and Tankitas should mount FFAR pods to give them a cost effective weapon for demolition and light armour. It possible that such an application could use a faster burning rocket motor for a high initial velocity.
A slightly different application is to mount pods of rockets on MBTs. These would be fired en masse to soften up a position as the tanks move into attack.
Some Applications for MRLs.
Ground to Air shooting.
The British 3" ground to air rocket system has already been mentioned, but this is a role seldom considered for modern rocket systems. Prototypes of the Blazer turret had a pod of four 2.75" rockets in addition to the cannon and Stingers. The published reason was that a rocket fired at a pilot would fool him into thinking he was under attack from a guided missile, and cause him to climb to an altitude more suited for Stinger lock-on.
A pod of nineteen 2.75" flechette rockets fired at an aircraft could prove to be a considerable hazard. The British 3" system could fill the air around a target with 64 aerial mines, each trailing several hundred feet of cable attached to an explosive charge.
A novel form of ground to air shooting occurred in Chechnya, when the Russians used their BM-21s as direct fire systems to attack tower blocks.
Long ranged MRLS are already used in this role but there are also more local applications for such weapons, particularly against units armed with ATGWs.
Best warhead for such a role is one containing multiple HEAT-frag bomblets suited to attacking both vehicles and personnel.
An idea inspired by Carltons Tethered Bombs idea is to link the bomblets into a net, each cord being a shade under twice the fragmentation radius of a bomblet. This innovation will allow the optimum dispersal of the bomblets. The net will also tend to drape over vehicles, increasing the chances of a detonation near the vehicle rather than the bomblet bouncing off. Such a munition would also be useful against hovering helicopters.
In counter-insurgency operations enemy forces are often fast moving foot troops. Against such fleeting targets saturation effect from a MRL strike may be more effective in destroying such units than conventional tube artillery.
Rockets do not have the penetration of conventional shells. Againts enemies in buildings howitzers or heavy mortars may prove more effective. The First World War and the defence of places such as Iwo Jima illustrate that properly constructed fortifications can withstand sustained HE bombardment for days at a time. Other than nuclear weapons the only artillery system likely to prove effective in such situations are Fuel-Air explosive (Thermobaric). Multiple rockets are a good way to deliver an attack with thermobarics. The Russians already deploy the TOS weapon system for this purpose.
Against entrenchments that lack such extensive preparation a rocket strike delivering submunitions may prove effective since there is a greater probability that the submunitions will enter trenches. A saturation attack with WP rockets may also considerably reduce a positions effectiveness.
The usefulness of MRLs for delivering chemical weapons is well known and the same capabilities make them highly suited to laying large scale smoke screens.
Some nations deploy launchers designed only for this purpose. The Egyptian 80mm D-3000 and 122mm D-6000 are examples of these. Twelve rockets from one D3000 launcher can lay a screen 1000yrds long up to 2.5km from the launch vehicle. Six rockets from the D-6000 will create a 400m cloud at up to 6km range. These clouds can last up to 15 minutes and maintaining a slow rate of fire can add to or sustain this cloud.
The use of MRL systems to deploy scatterable mines is fairly well known. There also exist purpose-designed rockets intended for the clearance of minefields. China fields several such systems which are characterised by having proportionally large FAE warheads, modest flight velocity and a range of only 800-3,000m. These weapons have a secondary capability against personnel, buildings and field fortifications. The USMC once experimented with the CATFAE system mounted on a variant of the AAV-7A1. This mounted 21 104kg rockets with a range of 500m but I've currently no information as to whether this system was adopted.
Mine clearing rockets mounted in a pod compatible with the M270, HIMARS and other systems should be possible.
A novel application of MBRL is the Russian Damba system, a variant of the 122mm BM-21 Grad system. This is designed to defend against frogmen and swimmer delivery vehicles (SDV). The rockets are fitted with fuses that detonate the warhead at any depth from 3 to 200m. The rockets are obviously different from the standard models in other respects since minimum and maximum range is reduced to 300m and 5000m, which is more useful for their intended role.
On other pages Ive advocated that ways to safely deliver large quantities of riot agents need to be investigated. Mortar and howitzer rounds need a certain degree of structural strength to withstand the stress of firing, which means that a CS round still contains a lot of dense components that can cause considerable damage if fired over an urban area. A rocket can be built with a lighter construction. A modification of the M264 could eject CS grenade submunitions and descend slowly to the ground using a braking parachute.