Artillery vehicle

Russian-made BM-27 Uragan Rocket Artillery MLRS fighter in Ukraine

  • The BM-27 Uragan is one of many artillery systems used during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Despite the age of the BM-27, the system was widely used by Ukraine and Russia.

The Russian “Hurricane” serving both Ukraine and Russia: the BM-27 Uragan – The BM-27 Uragan is just one example of the many artillery systems that were used during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Despite its age, the system saw significant use at various stages of the war by Ukraine and Russia, adding to its long history of service.

What is the BM-27 Uragan?

BM-27 Uragan MLRS rocket artillery

The tail of a 220mm rocket launched from a BM-27 Uragan multiple rocket launcher at the cemetery in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, March 21, 2022.

BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

Known alternatively by its Russian designation as 9P140, the Russian BM-27 Uragan (which is the Russian word for “hurricane”) is produced by Russia’s NPO Splav, which also produces the other Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS ) Russians.

The Uragan system consists of 16 x 220 mm rocket tubes mounted on a ZiL-135 8 × 8 wheel “transport-loading” type vehicle. In its base form, the Uragan has a range of 35 to 40 kilometers and can launch high-explosive and fragmentation rockets designed to deliver a variety of mine types.

Development of the Uragan

Ukrainian rocket artillery BM-21 Grad MLRS

Ukrainian troops fire a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher system near the town of Lysychansk in the Lugansk region on June 12, 2022.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Development of the Uragan began at the height of the Cold War to create a replacement for the aging BM-21 Grad MLRS. The Uragan and Grad can trace their “legacy” back to the Soviet Union’s BM-13 Katyusha MLRS, famous during World War II, which German troops dubbed “Stalin’s organ”.

Full-scale development on the Uragan was initiated in 1969, and the first prototype example of the model was built in 1972. In 1975, the BM-27 was accepted into Soviet service, which then saw the legacy system by many post-Soviet servicemen. , including those of Russia and Ukraine.

Given the age of the Uragan, Russia and Ukraine have been working hard to modernize their BM-27 fleets. Known as the BM-27M, the upgraded version of the Uragan includes improvements to the system’s range (which now reaches up to 120 kilometers according to Russian sources), the ability to fire 300mm rockets and more 220 mm by default, improved navigation technology, and a more powerful engine inside the “transport-loading” vehicle.

Ukraine has also made efforts to modernize its collection of Uragans, which also includes improvements to the range of systems and digitization of its fire control systems.

Service in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russian rocket artillery BM-27 Uragan MLRS

A Russian BM-27 Uragan MLRS, covered in improvised metal armor, in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region in March 2022.

Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/

Employed by both the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces, the BM-27 Uragan potentially even served with Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass from the first months of fighting between Ukrainian forces and the aforementioned separatists as well as elements of the Russian army in the Donbass. 2014.

Russian Uragans played an important role in the ongoing artillery war in Moscow in the Donbass and were used to strike civilian targets behind Ukrainian lines. According to the open-source intelligence blog Oryx, which counts confirmed Russian equipment losses, Russia lost 18 examples of the BM-27 Uragan in Ukraine, which were either destroyed by Ukrainian forces or captured.

On the other hand, while it is not inconceivable that Ukraine may have lost examples of its Uragans in combat, no such losses have been reported.

Despite the long service history of BM-27 Uragans in Russian and Soviet service, the system will likely remain in the Russian arsenal for years to come due to Moscow’s extensive modernization of the system. While Ukraine is forced to rely on whatever artillery systems it can maintain or get its hands on to offset Russia’s raw numerical advantage in artillery, it is likely to phase out its use of the Uragan after the end of active fighting between Russia and Ukraine. -Old artillery ammunition becomes increasingly difficult to acquire over time.

Either way, Uragan will continue to play an active role on both sides of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the remainder of the conflict.

Wesley Culp is a researcher at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. He writes regularly on Russian and Eurasian leadership and national security topics and has been published in The Hill as well as the Diplomatic Courier. It can be found on Twitter @WesleyJCulp.