Skip to content

Indonesia Is Able To Manufacture Its Own Grad Rockets

November 27, 2019

Via PT Pindad.

A short video clip published by the state-owned conglomerate PT Pindad, whose catalog includes small arms and explosives, showed Indonesian soldiers testing the “R-HAN 122B.” The unguided munition is a joint venture involving several government entities and originated in the beginning of the decade when generous funding allowed military projects to flourish. The R-HAN was supposed to equip the Indonesia armed forces the TNI with a locally made rocket artillery system. It now appears the scope of the work has been trimmed to just unguided rockets.

In the video clip on PT Pindad’s Youtube channel R-HAN rockets are shown being loaded into Czech-made RM-70 launcher vehicles. The location of the firing tests was a secluded beach and some rockets managed to travel 18 kilometers.

The BM-21 and its descendants remain the most popular rocket artillery in the world and are in use with up to 50 countries. The appeal of 122 mm Grad rockets is their ability to saturate a target with shrapnel or high explosives; an effect recently demonstrated in Syria’s civil war and the grinding conflict between Russia and Ukraine. When used with pin-point accuracy, salvos of Grad rockets can demolish physical structures and wipe out entire formations. It’s now possible to extend the range of individual Grad rockets as far as 40 km and equip them with precision targeting–the Ansar Allah in Yemen are known to posses upgraded 122 mm rockets supplied by Iran.

The TNI have a sizable arsenal of rocket artillery that includes the Brazilian Astros II and Czech RM-70. The latter features a new 8×8 carrier vehicle with an elongated bed mounting the Grad launcher, with its usual 40 tubes, and a storage rack for holding additional rockets. The RM-70 is among the better variants of the Soviet vintage Grad launcher and competes with similar vehicles from Belarus, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. The success of the R-HAN makes Indonesia the first country in ASEAN to localize 122 mm rocket production and promises to become a viable export if enough customers enquire about it.

Rocket artillery enjoys strong demand among ASEAN militaries. With the exception of Brunei and the Philippines, rocket artillery is a vital component in regional ground warfare doctrine. To date, Singapore’s army is the sole operator of the US-made HIMARS. Neighbors like Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam possess an abundance of 122 mm rocket artillery systems. Laos and Myanmar acquired theirs from China, with the former having adopted the Norinco SR5 without much fanfare. Thailand went further by localizing production of Chinese 300 mm rocket artillery and once the resulting system enters service the firepower equivalent is on par with a short-range ballistic missile.

The slow progress of the R-HAN is another symptom of Indonesia’s lackluster state-owned arms industry. Though it ranks as the largest and most ambitious in ASEAN, local companies in the armaments sector struggle to find partners and find production technology that suits Jakarta’s outsized ambitions for the 2030s and beyond.


Comments are closed.