Artillery types

How Rocket Artillery Works on the Modern Battlefield

Rockets are adaptable weapons that can play a variety of roles on the modern battlefield and in other wars centuries ago. Artillery dates back to ancient China when the Southern Wu used fire arrows, thought to be the original ancestor of their design. Since then, armies around the world have showered their adversaries with various types of mortars, rockets and heavy weapons in anticipation of a strike. Like the American M270 multiple launch rocket system, rocket artillery is now standard on the battlefield.

In a broad sense, the term “rocket” encompasses a wide range of jet-propelled missiles in which forward motion results from a response to the rearward expulsion of material, usually hot gases, to supersonic speeds. Solid or liquid rocket fuel combustion products are typically used to create a propellant jet of gas. Rocket engines differ from other propulsion engines in that they are self-contained.

The M270 MLRS performs a rocket launch.

Use in battle

Most people don’t know if rocket artillery is used for direct infantry support or hitting high-value targets at great distances. In the real sense, rocket artillery is normally used for both reasons, given its versatility. They can hit a wide range of targets at both shorter and longer ranges using modern navigation systems and ammunition.

In order to use this asset to the limit of its capabilities, it is not recommended for direct support. These combat arms are stationed farther from the front lines to take on counter-battery responsibilities. Each time the opponent hits, the friendly artillery radar detects the bullet’s direction of travel and closes in on the coordinates of the enemy guns. Following this, the position is given to the rocket artillery, which in turn fires rockets to soak up the area. This artillery is designed for counter-battery missions, but commanders can use judgment and adapt them to support other situations.

How the Different Rocket Artillery Works

Fun fact: artillery rockets are generally of similar design across the world. The degree of freedom that will reign over the enemy varies from country to country. Yet the science is the same.


It is the most common rocket artillery used by military forces. It consists of a firing system that can launch multiple rounds simultaneously, making it a deadly weapon. GMLRS systems provide precision on the battlefield, delivering a 200 pound explosive warhead at defined coordinates with a range that can reach and hit anyone.

The rocket artillery system is operated by three army men and is positioned on a high performance and maneuverable guarded armored launcher. The GMLRS forms the bulk of the Army’s sniper capability, with GPS guides built into the system and accurate to over 70 kilometres.

celestial saber

The skysaber was designed to take the place of the rapier, renowned rocket artillery. It is a missile defense system composed of three distinct parts: radar, command and control and missile systems. The Celestial Saber works on the modern battlefield by monitoring 24 missiles simultaneously in the air, aiming them at 24 different targets in ambush.

How Rocket Artillery Works on the Modern Battlefield
A Starstreak, just after being launched from a AN/TWQ-1 Avenger mobile short-range air defense platform.

Starstreak high-speed missile

This is intended to combat the dangers posed by high-speed, low-flying aircraft and fast-moving attacks using helicopters. The missile, which travels faster than sound, uses a system of three projectiles in the form of darts, making it possible to inflict heavy damage on the target. Depending on the situation, the Starstreak high-speed missile can be fired from the shoulder, ultralight multiple launchers, or the Stormer armored vehicle.