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Syria’s BM-30 Smerchs, emerging from the shadows

December 27, 2014

By Oryx


Newly acquired images finally reveal the presence of the infamous BM-30 ‘Smerch’ multiple rocket launcher (MRL) in Syria. While their 300mm 9M55K rockets were documented to have been used in Kfar Zita and al-Tah North of Hama, images of the launchers were yet to be seen. The reason for the long wait has to do with the ban on taking photographs of or near high-tech weaponry such as the Buk-M2, the Pantsir S-1 or the BM-30 to avoid revealing the locations of these systems.

Syria received several BM-30s in the midst the Syrian Civil War from either Belarus or more likely Russia, which delivered them in early 2014. Months later, the UR-77 ‘Meteorit’ mine clearing vehicle appeared in Jobar, Damascus, once again emphasizing Russia’s willingness to supply Assad with any kind of weaponry.

As seen on Syria’s BM-27 Uragans, which were likely already in Syrian service before the start of the Civil War, the BM-30s also spot a green livery, making them ideally suited for the lush terrain seen in the Hama Governorate.


Although one would think deploying these BM-30s to Damascus would be logical, all were stationed near Hama in an effort to stop the rebel advance here. Hama is of strategic importance to Assad because of the city’s strategic location, its airbase and the underground missile factories South of the city.

Damascus is also served by numerous BM-27 Uragans, IRAMs and because much of the fighting takes place at a short distance from Mount Qasioun, the Republican Guard’s base, artillery also regularly comes into play, reducing the need for BM-30s.

As all the fighting in and around Hama is done by the Syrian Arab Army, National Defence Force (NDF) and several other militias, all of Syria’s BM-30s fall under the command of the Syrian Arab Army, not the Republican Guard. The image below shows the remains of a 9M55K rocket fired by a BM-30, in al-Tah.


The 9M55K rocket is just one of the rockets that can be fired by the BM-30, but remains popular due to its deadly effect against infantry exposed in the open, each rocket carrying seventy-two 9N235 fragmentation submunitions.


As operations shift throughout Syria, these BM-30s will have no shortage on work in the foreseeable future, and might be deployed to other locations within Syria. The delivery of the BM-30s once again demonstrates Russia’s support to the Assad regime, a relationship strengthening over time. BM-30s, UR-77s and several other weapon systems recently delivered to Syria might just be a sign of what is yet to come.



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One Comment

  1. matt Cusumano

    Lets hope that the SAA gets a lot more of these weapons, so finally he can put an end to this crisis. The last thing we need is another Libya. So many great expectations, and what a result.. A failed state, run by Islamic radicals, with no rights or services to the people. It was a lot better under Gadaffi…but those poor Islamists…we had to come and support them over throw their secular government so they could express their radical free speech. If the “rebels” were to win in Syria, then we’d see a very short lived Islamic government, and then the West would change their position, and stomp them out with an invasion. Problem, reaction, solution. An Islamic government in Damascus…of the Wahabi sort, it would be a problem the west wouldn’t allow to persist. Giving them the justification to occupy the country. That’s why they want Assad out. he’s not threatening neighbors, and not giving anyone a reason to invade, so he has to be forced out to get some real idiots as leaders to justify a bigger war. Just like the situation in Gaza. When the PLO become dovish, the Israeli’s released all the Hamas leaders from prison, funded them, and helped them come to power as the “legitimate” government of the Palestinians, and thus, Israel now has an adversary in the Palestinians and can justify killing them. Arafat was trying to come to a solution with Israel, and the only Solution in Israel’s agenda is to eliminate the Palestinians, so they couldn’t deal with Arafat when he was a dove.


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