Modernized Rocket Artillery
(Source: Serbian Ministry of Defence; issued June 17, 2020)
Serbia has unveiled improved artillery weapons, including the ALAS wire-guided missile (pictured) and Grad extended-range unguided rockets, both of which are fired from a truck-mounted rocket launcher, as well as a new 6x6 MRAP vehicle. (Serbian MoD photo)
The Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin, attended today the completion of factory reception of the 0-series of the modernized “Oganj” rocket launcher and the test firing in the “Nikinci” Weapons and Military Equipment Testing Centre.

As Minister Vulin pointed out after the firing, rocket artillery and its units are one of the most significant Army components.

“Our power has significantly increased with the digitalized "Oganj", a modernization we have been doing for the first time since 1977. In addition to having a new INS (inertial navigation system), and to being digitalized to a great extent and receiving numerous improvements in communication systems, this model has achieved what is most important in modern warfare - it provides a much greater speed of use.

“It only takes three minutes for the digitalized “Oganj” to fire the weapon load after the arrival of the battalion to the fire position. It took the non-digitalized “Oganj”, which we have had so far, 26 minutes to do that,” said Minister Vulin, adding that “this is a big change in modern warfare where everything is done in a matter of minutes and seconds "and where there is nothing more important than to arrive safely, fire your ammunition accurately and get out of the firing position as quickly as possible."

The Minister of Defence said that the Serbian Armed Forces will get one and a half batteries in its composition in a few days, that they will continue the modernization of all “Oganj” systems that the Serbian Armed Forces have a lot of, and that thus our rocket artillery will be significantly improved.

“Today, we also saw something that is not a modernized system, but a brand new one. It is a modular “Oganj” that will be able to fire all calibres, but also the “ALAS” type guided missiles. It is something completely new, and we will not wait too long to introduce it into the armaments of the Serbian Armed Forces,” Minister Vulin said.

The Assistant Minister for Material Resources, Nenad Miloradović, PhD, pointed out that the final adjustment of the 0-series of the modernized “Oganj” rocket launcher was demonstrated at the testing range in Nikinci.

“The development was finished last year. Several companies of the Serbian Defence Industry participate in this project, and the company in charge of the serial modernization is “Prva petoletka” from Trstenik which delivers main sub-systems, and a great part of work is done by the Technical Overhaul Institute “Čačak”. This is highly automated equipment that will significantly improve the capabilities of our artillery, primarily by dramatically reducing preparation time for delivering fire. Completely new digital electronics, inertial navigation system and other sub-systems that accelerate the action of a battery at the fire position have been installed,” Miloradović said.

He pointed out that this is not the end of the development, and that the equipping with modernized assets begins within the first phase of modernization.

“Since all final adjustments have been successfully made, primarily the adjustment of the inertial navigation system, which we witnessed today during the verification and firing practice, we expect the delivery of 0-series, i.e. one and a half batteries in two weeks’ time, and we expect initial equipping with this artillery system. Another such modernization of at least one more battery is planned until the end of the year,” said Miloradović.

According to him, the development of a new generation of ammunition for this weapon is just being completed, and one type of rocket with appropriate fuses has already been introduced into the armaments – the M-18 rocket, and the production of significant number of those rockets has been agreed with “Krušik”.

“We are carrying out a complex, systematic equipping of the artillery of the Serbian Armed Forces, which was our priority, so in addition to modernized weapons, the initial unit will get a new fire control system, a reconnaissance vehicle with optoelectronics and other devices and a fire-control computer system for the battery commander, and it will also get a new generation of ammunition,” said Miloradović.

The Assistant Minister for Material Resources emphasized that the first phase of modernization of our rocket artillery and the development of appropriate systems has been completed.

“This does not end the development of our rocket artillery. The next phase is the modular “Oganj”, which is a weapon with completely new capabilities that our artillery has not had so far, and it is the capability of firing all existing types of unguided rocket projectiles, including the 40 km-range projectiles that have already been developed and 50 km-range rocket projectiles that are being developed, including the rocket with flight path correction,” Miloradović pointed out, adding “that this is our first artillery weapon that can fire guided rockets as well, and as part of the work on the prototype weapon, all sub-systems for preparing, firing and guiding a rocket, such as the ALAS missile, were integrated.”

He pointed out that today, an "ALAS" programmable guided missile was launched from the container mounted on the modular “Oganj” for the first time, and the launch was successful, as well as the launch of "Grad" rockets.

“This is the basis for further improvement, because the "ALAS" rocket is neither the final nor the most powerful rocket that will be launched from this system. The Military Technical Institute is also developing "Košava 1" and "Košava 2" rockets, which will increase the range of our missile artillery to over 50 kilometres and they will have warheads of great destructive power, capable of destroying hardened targets and significant stationary objects,” the Assistant Minister for Material Resources pointed out.

Speaking about the importance of today's tests, Lieutenant Colonel Predrag Puhača from the Development and Equipping Department of the General Staff, pointed out that this was firing from LRSVM M-18 artillery weapons - rocket launchers whose development began at the Military Technical Institute two years ago, and now preparations for final testing are nearing completion.

“The weapon is intended for firing at targets at long distances. It has a lightly armoured cabin that protects the crew from shrapnel and rifle ammunition. It allows the use of all available rockets that we have in our armament and those that we will develop. The "ALAS" system is integrated into it - an anti-armour guided rocket,” said Lieutenant Colonel Puhača.

“This is an optical cable guided rocket where there is no possibility of interfering with the rocket during its flight and the operator who launches the rocket in the area of targets chooses the target to hit,” Lieutenant Colonel Puhača emphasized.

As he pointed out, it is expected that it will be introduced into our armaments quickly, and that every LRSVM M-18 will be fitted with the "ALAS" system. He added that this is a weapon that will allow firing at pinpoint targets at long distances, with a high probability of hitting.

The testing and firing practice were also attended by the Head of the Department for Defence Technologies, Major General Mladen Vuruna, the Head of the Development and Equipping Department, Brigadier General Milan Popović, and the Director of the Military Technical Institute, Colonel Bojan Pavković, PhD.

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The New M-20 MRAP 6x6 Armored Fighting Vehicle Presented
(Source: Serbian Ministry of Defence; issued June 17, 2020)
The Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilović, attended today the presentation of the characteristics and capabilities of the new M-20 MRAP 6x6 armoured fighting vehicle in the plant of the "Zastava TERVO" company from Kragujevac.

The purpose of this vehicle is the safe transportation of units and it possesses a high level of ballistic and anti-mine protection. In addition, the possibility of opening fire from inside the vehicle puts it in the rank of the best solutions in this category in the world.

After the presentation of the vehicle, Minister Vulin pointed out that the medium-term goal of our armed forces is that none of our soldiers are transported in a truck under the tarpaulin.

“This vehicle is a great step forward for us because it is able to transport our units safely and quickly and at the same time to protect them from various small infantry weapons’ fire, but also from various types of mines. There are few countries in the world that are able to construct a vehicle like this, there are about ten of them. Today, we have become members of this club of the technologically advanced nations and I am especially proud of the fact that this is a product of our engineers’ intellect. This is FAP’s platform, and everything on it was produced in our country and with the knowledge of our engineers,” Minister Vulin said.

According to him, it is a big thing for the armed forces to be able to equip and arm themselves with domestic equipment, produced with domestic knowledge and intellect.

“These armed forces are simply not the same any more. Things are changing for the better. Thanks to the great trust and personal contribution of the Supreme Commander Aleksandar Vučić, the ability to provide significant funds, Serbia is much stronger economically, but it is also more responsible towards itself and its armed forces. These are armed forces that will be able to deal with any other country, that are able to protect all their soldiers, to make them feel safe and secure,” said the Minister of Defence.

He pointed out that he is very proud of our engineers, of everybody who participated in the construction of this prototype and that he hopes that they will soon be able to say that we are introducing a brand-new vehicle into our armaments.

The Assistant Minister for Material Resources, Nenad Miloradović, PhD, pointed out that the M-20 6x6 vehicle is a key factor for ensuring protected mobility of the Serbian Armed Forces’ Infantry, and its implementation is envisaged through two families of wheeled armoured fighting vehicles of domestic production.

“The first family is already known, these are “Lazar” and “Miloš” vehicles that are based on automotive components with independent suspension produced by world’s top manufacturers and they are in the class of combat vehicles that are generally used in the Western European armed forces.

“The second family is based on reliable, robust automotive components produced by our FAP. These are 6x6 vehicles like this one, and 4x4 vehicles. It is a very high quality dependent suspension system produced by FAP, under the Mercedes licence, and the rest of the components are also of top quality,” Miloradović explained, adding that equipping the armed forces with vehicles from the second family costs significantly less, and that a much larger number of vehicles can be produced in the same time frame and with the same funds.

When it comes to the level of vehicle protection, Miloradović points out that the achieved quality is the result of joint work of engineers from the Military Technical Institute, Zastava TERVO and FAP, and that he is satisfied with the results achieved, more precisely with the spacious interior that provides great comfort for the crew that is transported in it, 3 plus 9 soldiers.

“The vehicle is characterized by modularity that will make modifications possible for various purposes, for the transport of heavy cargo, the wounded, etc. It will be able to carry various types of weapons, and from the aspect of logistics, it is important that these are all components that are mostly produced in our country,” Miloradović explains.

According to Lieutenant Lazar Stojnić from the Conventional Armaments Sector of the Military Technical Institute, the project manager for the development of this vehicle, it is a 6X6 armoured fighting vehicle of the MRAP type (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) and it was constructed on the FAP’s 2228 chassis platform which is used in our armaments.

“We have built an armoured version on that platform that serves for the transport of our infantry units for action in the urban environment,” Lt. Stojnić pointed out.

Speaking about the levels of protection, in addition to the basic level of protection, additional modular armour has been developed, which, as Lt Stojnić added, will be used depending on the purpose that the vehicle will have in the Serbian Armed Forces.

“When it comes to the combat characteristics of this vehicle, it has a 12.7 mm turret and openings on the sides and roof as gun slits for the crew located inside and that can fire from inside the vehicle,” said Lieutenant Stojnić, adding that it is a completely armoured vehicle which provides protection to the crew and has anti-mine protection on the underside.

During today's visit, Minister Vulin and General Mojsilović were presented with the characteristics of the new vehicle, and there was a brief demonstration of the emplacement of reconnaissance section in the event of an ambush.

Today's presentation was also attended by the Head of the Development and Equipping Department, Brigadier General Milan Popović, the Head of the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Department, Brigadier General Miroljub Čupić, the Director of the Military Technical Institute, Colonel Bojan Pavković, PhD, and the Director of Zastava TERVO, Zoran Adžić.

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