During the Second World War the German troops had an opportunity to be convinced of the high efficiency of the Soviet BM-13 and BM-31 RSOs. There were also installations of RSZO in German army. So it is not surprising that soon after the Bundeswehr was created in Germany, the development of LARS (Leichtes Artillerie-Raketen-System - light artillery missile system), designed for the armament of missile divisions of the Bundeswehr's artillery regiments, was started.
The first prototypes of LARS-1 were tested in the mid-60s, and the system was adopted for service with the Bundeswehr in 1969. Series production was carried out since 1970. 209 combat vehicles were produced, which were in service only with the Bundeswehr (until the early 80's, the Bundeswehr was almost the only NATO army, which had in service the RSZO).
In the early 80s, the LARS-1 MLRS was upgraded and received the designation LARS-2.
LARS RESO includes:
- self-propelled launcher,
- unguided rockets,
- fire control equipment onboard,
- control machine (two machines per battery of eight launchers)
- transport and charging machine (one per battery).
Self-propelled launcher is developed on the basis of "Magirus-Deutz" Typ 178 D15A (LARS-2 on the basis of MAN truck). The unit has a classic layout with the placement of artillery pieces on the truck platform. The power unit is mounted in front on a frame of the vehicle, behind it there is an armored crew cabin. Relatively thin armor of the cockpit protects the crew from gunpowder gases produced by the launch of rockets, and bullets of hand guns and pieces of artillery shells and small caliber mines.
The artillery unit has 36 barrels that serve as guides for launching unguided rockets. Originally there were two modifications of the artillery unit: one with 36 barrels and two with 18 barrels each. The latter option was found to be the preferred and standard option for all LARS launchers. The barrel packages are mounted on a pivoting frame that provides ±50° horizontal aiming and 0° to +50° vertical aiming angles. The gunner position is located between the barrel packs. It is equipped with mechanical sighting drives and panoramic sight.
To increase stability of the launcher during firing, its undercarriage is unloaded by two mechanical jacks mounted at the rear of the vehicle frame.
The launcher is equipped with an electric ignition mechanism, which allows to fire single missiles or a volley: both full and part of the ammunition. Full salvo is made in 18 seconds. The commander of the unit controls the firing with the remote control or directly from the cockpit.
Shots are fired by 110 mm unguided rockets, stabilized in flight by opening cross-shaped plumage. The projectiles are equipped with the following head units:
- shrapnel-flag DM-11 with a shock-activated fuse;
- Shrapnel-flag DM-21 with ready-made fragments (5000 steel balls) and a non-contact fuse providing a radius of effective kill of live force 60 m;
- smoke DM-15 containing bkg of smoke-forming composition (a battery of 8 LARS can create a 3-5 km smoke screen, which is held for 15-20 minutes);
- cassette DM-70 equipped with eight AT-1 anti-tank mines. At a given point in the trajectory, the cassette warhead opens and the mines, having dispersed under the influence of the counter air flow, are lowered onto parachutes. After landing, the parachute automatically detaches and the mine, once stabilised, is moved to the combat position. A full salvo is mined in an area of 400 by 300 m (the fence consists of 2304 mines). The mines are equipped with self-propelled liquidators that operate after a set time;
- Shooting, with a radar reflector and used to prepare data for firing by the FERA fire control system.
The starter unit is manually recharged within 15 minutes.
Calculation of the initial data for the firing and introduction of the necessary corrections is carried out by the FERA fire control system hardware complex mounted on the chassis of the two-axle control machine. The FERA system includes firing missiles, missile trajectory tracking radar and computer. One FERA system serves four LARS PU. Reflectors and amplifiers of radar signals are installed in the combat units of point-and-shooter LARS. Four missiles are fired sequentially at a set interval. The radar automatically follows the trajectories of their flight. The average value of the four computer trajectories is compared with the calculated value and determines the corrections, which are introduced into the sighting device installations. In this way, errors are taken into account in determining the target coordinates and the firing position of the PU, as well as deviations of meteorological and ballistic conditions at the time of firing from the actual ones. The radar is mounted behind the firing PU and slightly above it in the barrel of the target. The application of the FERA sieve enhances the firing efficiency of the radar by about 60 %. In addition, there is no need to horizontally and hang the PU on the jacks. At the same time, the time required to move the PU to and from the combat position is reduced to 1 minute, which is very important for MLRSs that heavily demask themselves at the moment of multiple launch shooting.
The auxiliary armament of the launcher consists of a 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted above the hatch in the roof of the armored cab.
Self-propelled launcher is equipped with an eight-cylinder multifuel diesel engine F8L714A, developing at 2300 rpm a maximum power of 148 hp.
The chassis is made on the 6x6 wheel arrangement. The chassis is made on wheel arrangement 6x6. The front wheels are controlled. When driving on the highway, the launcher has a maximum speed of 73 km / h, it is able to overcome steep hills up to 31 ° and move on the ground with low load-bearing capacity.
The equipment of the launcher includes a radio station, navigation equipment and fire extinguishing means. An infrared night vision device can be installed in place of the driver mechanic.
|Number of guides||36|
|Weight in combat position, t||15|
|Weight of projectile, kg||34|
|Weight of projectile, kg||40,5|
|Weight of combat unit, kg||14,5|
|Range of fire, km:|
|- maximum||14,5 (14,7)|
|The duration of the volley, s||18|
|Recharging time, min||15-20|
|Engine power, l. s.||140|
|Maximum speed, km/h||73|
|Power reserve, km||500|
|Year of adoption||1968 (1969)|
The first flight test of the XMG-M52C "Lance" rocket with extended range was conducted at White Sands Range on March 6, 1969. The first series of missiles entered the army for military trials in April 1971. The first launch took place in August 1972, and in March 1972 the military trials were fully completed.
In May 1972, the missile system "Lance" was officially recognized as a protocol model of military equipment and was classified as a class "Standard A". However, only a Lance missile with a nuclear warhead was included in this class, as Congress had not yet approved the development of a cluster bomb head unit, which the command of the ground forces considered necessary to have in service.
Immediately after the approval of the missile, the delivery of the Lance missile system to NATO partners and Israel began. Six divisions were formed in Europe. Two of them were in Germany, which could not but bother the USSR Armed Forces group "Center": the flight time of the Lance missile is only about 200 seconds, so there was no way to quickly detect and shoot down the missile. Missiles equipped with non-nuclear head units were delivered to Israel.
There are reports that the Lance missile system was used by U.S. forces during the war in Afghanistan in the late 70's and early 80's.
In the mid-80s, the Lance missile system was withdrawn from service due to the nuclear arms reduction treaty between the USSR and the United States. Currently, the Lance missile is used as a target for anti-missile testing. There is evidence that it is used in the development of the US national missile defense program.
- В.Н. Шунков "Ракетное оружие" (ООО"Попури" 2001г)
- ГАУ ТО “ГА”. Ф.Р-3428. Оп.1. Д.1128. Л.130.
- М.Регентов "Реактивные системы залпового огня" (Зарубежное военное обозрение N2 1987г)
- Leichtes Artillerie Raketensystem 1 (BW)