AFU destroys the Russian Smerch MLRS

The armed forces have destroyed the Russian BM-30 Smerch long-range multiple launch rocket system.

The photo was published by the Ukrainian military on social media.

This missile system is quite rare and difficult to intercept due to the peculiarities of use, which involve firing at a large distance from the line of contact.

In the published photo, you can see a burning MRL through the lens of the Ukrainian-made Shark reconnaissance drone.

Destroyed Russian BM-30 Smerch MLRS, September 15, 2023. Photo credits: Twitter/@externalPilot

It is yet unknown by what weapon such a rare target was hit. However, several places from the ruptures can be seen next to it. Given the methods of operation of the Ukrainian counter-battery units, it can be assumed that these are traces of hits by GMLRS guided missiles of HIMARS/M270 MRL.

During the entire war against Russia, only one defeat of such an artillery system was confirmed among the invaders. The first Smerch was hit in the Kharkiv region in October last year.

A BM-30 Smerch MLRS of the Russian military was hit in the Kharkiv region. October 2022. Ukraine. Photo from social media

Developed in the Soviet Union, the MRL can use old 300mm rockets with high-explosive or cluster warheads at range of up to 70 kilometers. These rockets are equipped with a simple inertial flight adjustment system, but they are still limited in accuracy and are only suitable for hitting group targets in an open area.

At the same time, Russia has developed high-precision 300mm guided missiles of the Tornado-S series MRL under the 9М544 and 9М549 indices. Both missiles have a cluster warhead and are capable of hitting targets at a distance of 120 kilometers.

Russian guided rockets of the Tornado-S series

It is known that it was these multiple launch rocket systems that the invaders repeatedly fired with cluster munitions at Ukrainian settlements and cities to kill civilians. In particular, it regards the strikes on Kryvyi Rih and Krasnohorivka.

Shark drones

The position of the enemy MRL was spotted by the Ukrainian Shark reconnaissance unmanned system. The system is well protected from enemy electronic warfare, as well as a large operational radius.

35 such systems are known to operate at the front as part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which were acquired by the Come Back Alive Fund. Each of these consists of two UAVs, a launch system and a command post.

UAV Shark from Ukrspecsystems. 2022. Photo credits: Ukrspecsystems

As previously reported, last week it was due to this UAS that five vehicles of the Russian Buk anti-aircraft system in Zaporizhzhia were destroyed. It can be assumed that the strike actually destroyed an anti-aircraft missile division.


  1. Nice shot! The new Shark drones are worth their weight in gold, as long as they remain immune to counter electronic warfare measures.

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