A report in the latest issue of Modern Ships praises the Chinese multiple launch rocket system called the Type PCL191 as the most cutting-edge piece of weaponry capable of firing both rockets and ballistic missiles. The modular launcher appears to be based on the AR3 system intended for the export market.
Unlike other weaponry on display in Beijing during China’s National Day military parade on 1 October, the Type PCL191, dubbed by CCTV as “a self-propelled rocket launcher with precision strike capability", travelled up and down the streets of the capital loaded on the back of heavy-duty trucks almost anonymously, the report has it.
It also gives an in-depth description of the system’s capacity saying it can carry eight 370 mm (14½ inch) rockets – each with a range of 350 km (220 miles) – or two 750 mm Fire Dragon 480 tactical ballistic missiles, capable of flying up to 500 km.
According to PLA Daily, an MLRS brigade was stationed with the 72nd Group Army in Huzhou, in the province of Zhejiang on China’s eastern seaboard. Separately, per an a military source unnamed due to the sensitivity of the subject, another PCL191 brigade is based to the south of Huzhou, in Xiamen, Fujian Province, the closest place to Taiwan on mainland China.
The Taiwan Strait, which separates the mainland from Taiwan deemed by Beijing as a part of China's sovereign territory, is no more than 180 km across.
Speaking to CCTV in October, Wang Tanshen, a master sergeant with the 72nd Group Army’s artillery brigade, noted that the range of the new launch system exceeded that of its closest predecessor by “seven times”.
“The new generation MLRS has extended our firing range to cover everywhere we want to hit". he remarked.
According to Song Zhongping, a military commentator for Phoenix Television in Hong Kong, Chinese scientists’ extremely hard work is behind the state-of-the-art capabilities and range of the PLA’s multiple launch rocket systems.
“Chinese MLRS technology has kept pace with American products, which have also successfully merged rockets and missiles", the former instructor with the PLA’s Second Artillery Corp said.
He further elaborated on what exactly had been specially developed in the PCL191s, which require only three people to operate them.
“Scientists have upgraded the chassis [of the trucks that carry the launchers], the explosives [used to propel the rockets and missiles], and other technologies to extend the firing range of the MLRS and improve its precision strike capabilities", he said.
Chinese missiles and rockets are guided by the domestically designed BeiDou navigation satellite system, the closest rival to the United States’ GPS system.