On Thursday, the press service of the Tula-based Splav State Research and Production Enterprise, the company responsible for delivering the system to the military, confirmed that the first batch of Tornado-S MRLS platforms has been delivered to the armed forces.
"The production of the Tornado-S MLRS has commenced. The first state contract for the systems' supply to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has been completed," the company's statement curtly explained. The company did not say clarify exactly how many units were delivered.
The 9A52-4 Tornado, Tornado-S's predecessor, is already the most advanced MLRS system available to the Russian armed forces. Designed through the 2000s and introduced in 2011, the Tornado was built as a lightweight, more mobile version of the BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launcher system. The Tornado has been gradually replacing older rocket artillery systems, including the famous BM-21 Grad and BM-27 Uragan, available to the Russian army.
Tornado-S is a substantive upgrade to the Tornado. Most prominently, it features a new automated guidance and fire-control system allowing for the simultaneous automated coordination and control of the fire of an entire artillery battalion. The system is also capable of automatically calculating target data.
Tornado-S also has improved accuracy thanks to the integrated use of the GLONASS satellite navigation system, and can be deployed more quickly from full stop than its predecessor.
The Tornado-S will complement existing Tornado artillery battalions as both systems replace older Soviet-era systems.
Splav's production has met with growing demand in Russia and across foreign markets in recent years, with production increasing by 2.5 times in the last year alone, mainly thanks to foreign orders. The company's profits have increased by 38.5% compared with 2015. The company plans to complete the modernization of its production capabilities, in accordance with the federal program on the development of the military-industrial complex.