Unveiled at IDEX-2013, Jobaria Defense Systems' Multiple Cradle Multiple Rocket Launcher (MC-MRL) answers a request from the Army of the United Arab Emirates to place an entire battery of 122mm multiple-launch rocket systems (240 rockets, total) onto one vehicle with a three-man crew, as previous methods require a battery of six vehicles, with a total firing crew of thirty, a serious concern for the army of a nation with a very small population.

 

In this regard, the MC-MRL succeeds admirably. Mounted on a trailer pulled by an Oshkosh Defense 6×6 Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET), the system features a protected and air-conditioned cab for the 3-man crew of commander, navigator and driver. The vehicle incorporates global positioning and inertial navigation systems sufficient to allow it to either operate independently, or as part of a linked battalion of other, similar vehicles. Of note are ten hydraulic stabilizing legs that are deployed to prior to firing, allowing for precise targeting.

The 122mm TR-122 rockets (two hundred and forty of them, in twenty-rocket pods, mounted three to a cradle, in four cradles), manufactured by the Turkish firm Roketsan, are fully compatible with the widely used BM-21 'Grad' MRL rockets designed by the old Soviet Union. They have a minimum range of 16km, and a listed maximum range of 40km. The vehicle commander may select to fire single rockets, single or multiple pods, or can fire the entire 240-rocket payload in under two minutes.

However, while the vehicle uses solid and dependable systems internally, there are questions as to its usefulness. Soviet dictator Josef Stalin is said to have once quipped "Quantity has a quality all its own," and in this case, it may be true.

The MC-MRL's main problem is that it is an extremely large - and vulnerable - high-value target. While the MC-MRL's cost is not stated, it is likely to be at least comparable to a six-vehicle battery of BM-21's. Obviously, losing a single BM-21 out of a six-vehicle battery is bad, but it only represents 16.6% of the battery's combat power. On the other hand, if the MC-MRL is knocked out of action (not even necessarily a total crew-loss/vehicle-loss, but merely a disabling of the power system), an entire battery unit has been knocked out of action...potentially by a single rocket from an RPG-7.

As a result, even though the Jobaria MC-MRL meets or exceeds the UAE Army's requirements very well, the train of logic that created the design was flawed from the start.

The UAE would be better served by creating a modular reload system for BM-21-type vehicles. Even though such a system still requires a heavier commitment of manpower, it is more flexible, and more survivable in action.

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