Australia seems highly likely to purchase the US High Mobility Rocket Artillery System (HIMARS), which is being used with devastating effect against the Russian invaders of Ukraine – but there is an alternative. South Korean company Hanwha is also at the forefront of rocket artillery systems and says that if Australia is interested, it would transfer all technology – allowing for local production not only of the launchers but also more importantly the precision guided missiles that they fire.

Modern rocket artillery systems emerged from the Second World War and the success of the ‘Katyusha’ used in huge numbers by the Red Army for saturation bombardment of the battlefront. The concept was fairly simple – mount between 14 and 48 unguided rockets with explosive warheads on rails on the back of a standard truck, point them in the general direction of the enemy and ripple fire the lot within a few seconds. The individual rockets were not accurate, but this was compensated for by huge numbers of them arriving from multiple launchers onto a target area almost simultaneously.

While in widespread use in the Soviet bloc and with allied nations such as China – and North Korea – they were relatively unknown in the west until the 1980s. This is where HIMARS originated, starting life on a tracked chassis rather than the current lighter, faster, wheeled version. In parallel, the same concept was being explored by South Korea, which had to counter the North launching a massive surprise attack involving human wave tactics and sending huge numbers of technologically inferior vehicles swarming across the DMZ.

In such a nightmare scenario, relatively slow firing conventional artillery risked being overwhelmed, but a truck mounted MLRS could deliver volleys of missiles, drive away and quickly reload. It would also be able to target concentrations of North Korean artillery while remaining beyond the range of enemy shell fire. This was the genesis of the multi-calibre South Korean ‘Chunmoo’ system, introduced into service in 2015.

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.

For Editorial Inquiries Contact:
Editor Kym Bergmann at

For Advertising Inquiries Contact:
Director of Sales Graham Joss at

Previous articleDefence ration packs go green
Next articleUS$1.1 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here