At EDEX 2023 the Egyptian National Organisation for Military Production unveiled a new tracked multiple rocket launcher, the RAAD 200, which is nearly wholly made in Egypt, and exhibited the latest development of the SENA 200 armoured vehicle which is close to be delivered to the Egyptian Army
Currently the Egyptian Army fields a considerable number of multiple rocket launchers in the 122 mm calibre, either BM-21s of soviet origin or locally manufactures Sakr. The main issue with those systems is that soldiers must operate them manually, which means long periods of time before opening fire, remaining unprotected, and a lengthy process to redeploy once the fire mission is finished. Moreover they are all wheeled based on old truck chassis, which also means limited off-road mobility.
To solve that problem the National Organisation for Military Production (NOMP) unveiled at EDEX 2023 in Cairo the RAAD 200, the number referring to the Factory 200 where the system is produced, one of the 18 facilities of that state-owned defence company.
The chassis has five roadwheels, with front sprockets, power being provided by an HD12ZLG-M 6-cylinder in line turbocharged diesel engine with a 385 hp output. Designed in Germany, this is now produced in China, and together with the five forward speed mechanical transmission, with one reverse gear, is the only part of the system not provided in Egypt, 80% of the RAAD 200 being produced locally. Suspensions are based on 10 torsion bars with four shock absorbers, the chassis being fitted with steel tracks with tension adjustment mechanism.
The RAAD 200 can reach a maximum speed of 46 km/h, climb a 35° gradient, move on a 25° side slope, and ford up to 1.1 metres of water, range at cruise speed being 350 km.
The new multiple rocket launcher is 6.5 metres long, 2.85 metres wide 3.1 metres tall, and has a combat mass of 18,580 kg, 1,980 kg being represented by the payload which is made of 30 Grad/Sakr 122 mm rockets hosted in three rows of 10 tubes each, with a maximum range of 45 km. These are produced by the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation, which at EDEX 2023 unveiled the new Sakr Thermobaric rocket , with a 6-20 km operational range, carrying an 18.45 kg warhead, which adds to the Sakr-18 and sakr-45 rockets, numbers indicating ranges.
The launcher, which is produced at Factory 999, is derived from that of existing systems, and has a maximum elevation of 55°, while in azimuth it can move 60° right and 100° left. The key issue is that all movements are carried out automatically, based on inputs from the electronic fie control system installed in the cabin, which hosts up to two military plus the driver who access the vehicle via the two side doors. Compared to the accuracy obtained using the manual backup mode, the automatic mode increases it by a two orders of magnitude, from ±0.1° to ±0.001°, while also considerably reducing the laying time, from 180 to 30 seconds.
EDR On-Line understood the cabin provides a basic protection to the occupants, as the system is not designed to operate on the front line, however the crew is certainly better protected than that of the BM-21-type launchers.
The RAAD 200 seen at EDEX was the first prototype of the system. According to NOMP representatives it has already fired and has gone through Army testing, the company awaiting a contract from the national customer.
Not far from the RAAD 200 a second indirect fire system was shown for the first time. It was in fact an upgrade of an existing 107 mm rocket launcher, the RL812, fitted with an electronically-controlled laying system liked to the fire control system. As in the case of the previously described RAAD 200, this allows the crew to operate the launcher from inside the vehicle. The launcher can be oriented in a ±15° arc in azimuth and from 0° to +45° in elevation. It takes 15 seconds to cover the whole azimuth arc and 25 seconds the elevation one, however compared to the manual system accuracy is considerably increased, from ±0.1° to ±0.001°, as in the 122 mm rocket launcher. The manual system is however maintained as backup.
Named RL 812/TCL in the upgraded version, the launcher maintains the 12-tube configuration with three rows of four tubes each, tubes length being 800 mm. The whole load can be fired in around 8 seconds, rockets maximum range being 8.2 km. The upgrades comes as a kit that can be installed on existing launchers, the automated system having a 2.9 tonnes mass without rockets, fully loaded mass being 3.108 tonnes.
The system seen at EDEX was a prototype: EDR On-Line understood that the RL 812/TCL has already been deployed for firing tests in cooperation with the Egyptian Army, which is apparently interested in upgrading in-service systems, which are installed on light vehicles. According to company representatives the new system, either as a wholly new launcher or as an upgrade kit, is ready for production.
The latest iteration of the SENA 200 armoured tracked vehicle could also be seen at EDEX 2023. Compared to the prototype seen two years ago the SENA 200 has evolved; the original 360 hp engine has beenreplaced with the same 385 hp engine installed on the RAAD 200, and the steel used to build the vehicle, which in the first prototype was imported, is now developed and produced at the NOMP Factory 100. This solution offers the same protection level at the same mass, according to NOMP representatives, who also told EDR On-Line that a contract was signed with the Egyptian MoD for the manufacturing of an undisclosed number of vehicles, assembly being ongoing, delivery of the first batch being planned for January 2024.
Photos by P. Valpolini