ASTROS (Artillery SaTuration ROcket System)
The Astros II multiple rocket launcher was the most profitable weapon produced by Avibrás. It can launch rockets of different caliber: SS-30 rockets up to thirty kilometers; SS-40 rockets, forty kilometers; and SS-60 rockets, sixty kilometers. In the 1980s, Avibrás sold an estimated sixty-six Astros II artillery systems to Iraq and an unspecified number to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. Total sales of the Astros II between 1982 and 1987 reached US$1 billion. The Sajil-60 is an Iraqi license-built version of the Brazilian SS-60The ASTROS (Artillery SaTuration ROcket System) II is a modular multiple rocket launcher capable of firing three different caliber wrap-around fin rockets (for improved accuracy) using several types of warheads. The system was developed and manufactured by Avibras Aerospatial S.A. of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The universal modules enable the system to accomplish fire missions with ranges from 9 to 90 kilometers. The ASTROS II system consists of the following vehicles:
All of the ASTROS II vehicles use the Tectran Enginharia 10 ton, 6x6, wheeled vehicle chassis. A typical firing battery consists of six AV-LMU launchers, six AV-RMD ammunition supply vehicles, and one AV-VCC fire control unit. A AV-VCC command and control unit and two mobile workshops are found at battalion level. The battalion level AV-VCC can coordinate and direct fire missions for three ASTROS batteries. The AV-RMD ammunition supply vehicle carries two complete loads for each launcher.
- Universal Multiple Launcher (AV-LMU),
- Ammunition Supply Vehicle (AV-RMD),
- Command and Control Vehicle/Fire Control Unit (AV-VCC),
- Mobile Workshops (for field maintenance), and the
- Optional Electronic Fire Control Unit (AV-UCF).
Avibrás Aerospace Industry (Avibrás Indústria Aeroespacial S.A.--Avibrás) was established in 1961. Engineers associated formerly with the CTA created Avibrás as a private aerospace firm. In 1964 Avibrás was granted the Sonda I rocket contract and since then has been the major firm involved with the development of sounding rockets (Sondas II, III, and IV). It also has taken a leading role in developing missiles. 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.
Brazil emerged as one of the leading armaments exporters in the early 1980s. The largest regional market was the Middle East, to which Brazil sold roughly half of its arms from 1977 through 1988, with nearly half of all Brazilian arms transfers from 1985 to 1989 going to Iraq. In the late 1980s, Avibrás was involved in the development of the SS-150 (based on the Astros-II), the SS-300, and the SS-1000 (based largely on the Sonda rockets). However, with the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the decline in state support, the Brazilian arms industry collapsed in the late 1980s, and by the mid-1990s had virtually disappeared. All Avibrás programs were "put on hold" in January 1990, when the company filed for bankruptcy. Its employee roster had fallen from 6,000 to 900, and the company had US$90 million worth of unsold rockets. Avibrás has paid off much of its debt, and is the most viable of the three large companies. Today, it is involved in the production of primarily civilian products, and seemingly is a successful case of conversion.
In 1999 the Brazilian Army, represented by the Direction of Armament and the Ammunition, finalized a contract with Aerospace Avibrás S/A for acquisition of the Astros II. The contract includes the maintenance of the equipment beyond the supply of tools and spare parts.
MAIN ARMAMENT AMMUNITION
Name SS-30 SS-40 SS-60 SS-80 Caliber, Type 127-mm Frag-HE 180-mm Frag-HE 300-mm Frag-HE 300-mm Frag-HE Load 32 16 4 4 Indirect Fire Range (m) Minimum Range 9000 15,000 20,000 22,000 Maximum Range 30,000 35,000 60,000 90,000 Warhead Weight (kg) INA INA INA INA Rocket Length (m) 3.9 4.2 5.6 5.6 Maximum Velocity INA INA INA INA Fuze Type INA INA INA INA Other Ammunition Types None DPICM, HE-Incendiary, Antitank mines, Antipersonnel mines, Runway Denial DPICM, HE-Incendiary, Antitank mines, Antipersonnel mines, Runway Denial DPICM, HE-Incendiary, Antitank mines, Antipersonnel mines, Runway Denial
Date of Introduction 1983 Proliferation At least 6 countries Crew 3 Chassis/Carriage TECTRAN 10-ton 6x6 wheeled Combat Weight (mt) 20.0 Chassis Length Overall (m) 8.0 Height Overall (m) 2.6 Width Overall (m) 2.4 Automotive Performance Engine Type 280 hp, water-cooled turbocharged, diesel engine Cruising Range (km) INA Speed (km/h) Max Road - 70
Max Off-Road - 40
Cross-Country - INA
Max Swim - N/A
Fording Depths (m) Unprepared - 1.0 Emplacement Time (min) INA Displacement Time (min) INA Radio INA Protection Armor, Front (mm) None Armor Side (mm) None Armor Roof (mm) None Self-Entrenching Blade No NBC Protection System No Smoke Equipment 6 smoke grenade launchers Launcher Caliber, Type, Name 127-mm, 180-mm, 300-mm, ASTROS Number of Tubes 127-mm (32), 180-mm (16), 300-mm (4) Launch Rate Full Salvo Time INA Single Rocket Interval INA Loader Type Manual Reload Time INA Launcher Drive Electric Traverse(°) Left- INA
Total - INA
Elevation (°) (-/+) INA Auxiliary Weapon Caliber, Type, Name .50 (12.7x99) heavy machinegun, M2HB Mount Type Cab AA mount Direct Fire Range (m) INA Max Effective Range (m) Day - 1000
Night - INA
Fire on Move Yes Rate of Fire (rpm) 450-550 (cyclic) FIRE CONTROL Indirect Fire INA Collimator INA Fire Control Computer FIELDGAURD Radar or the FILA System Position Location System INA
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