ASTROS II (Artillery SaTuration ROcket System) is a self-propelled multiple rocket launcher produced in Brazil by the Avibrás company. It features modular design and employs rockets with calibers ranging from 127 mm to 300 mm. It was developed on the basis of a Mercedes Benz UNIMOG 6x6 all-terrain vehicle for enhanced mobility. Astros II are normally grouped in artillery batteries consisting on average of about 13 vehicles: 6 of them are Astros II launchers, 6 are rocket resupply trucks and 1 a special radar-equipped vehicle controlling the fire-control system. The launcher is capable of firing rockets of different calibers armed with a range of warheads. Each rocket resupply truck carries up to two complete reloads. The ASTROS II artillery system entered service with the Brazilian Army in 1983. The system is battle proven, having been used in action by the Iraqi Army in the Gulf Wars. In the 1980s, Avibrás sold an estimated sixty-six Astros II artillery systems to Iraq. Iraq also built the Sajil-60 which is a license-built version of the Brazilian SS-60. Sixty Astros II were sold to Saudi Arabia and an unspecified number sold to Bahrain and Qatar. Total sales of the Astros II between 1982 and 1987 reached $1 billion US. This fact made the Astros II multiple rocket launcher the most profitable weapon produced by Avibrás. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Avibrás worked almost exclusively with the manufacturing of rockets and multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), such as the Astros II, in addition to developing antitank and antiship missiles. At its peak, Avibrás employed 6,000 people; later it would be reduced to 900 people in the early 1990s as the arms industry demand fell. Even so, in the first Gulf War in 1991, the Astros II was successfully used by Saudi Arabia against Iraq. Years later, the Astros II system helped Angola to defeat the UNITA.
Copyright ©2013 by Luciano Satornetti. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2012-07-01 00:00:00