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Defence IQ

Rocket vs. conventional artillery...which is most effective?

Contributor:  Andrew Elwell
Posted:  01/11/2013  12:00:00 AM EST  | 

Rate this Article: (2.9 Stars | 8 Votes)
Tags:   artillery

Artillery in some form or another has been used on the battlefield for centuries. It dates back to medieval China where the Southern Wu used fire arrows – said to be the first rocket in both mechanism and design – in 904 during the siege of Yuzhang. Since then armies across the globe have used varying forms of mortars, rockets and artillery to bombard their enemies in preparation for an attack.

Today, rocket artillery such as the US M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System is a familiar sight on the battlefield. However, since rocket artillery was first introduced there has been vigorous debate over whether it is more practical and effective than conventional artillery systems. Defence IQ has taken a look at this debate in greater detail…

What do you think about rocket vs. conventional artillery? Do the advantages of one significantly outweigh the other? Email with your opinions and insight.

In March, senior leaders in the artillery field will meet for the 11th annual Future Artillery conference. The debate over rocket and conventional artillery will be on the agenda with Colonel Tracy Banister, Commander, 210th Fires Brigade, discussing the only permanently forward deployed multiple launch rocket system brigade in the U.S. Army. In addition, Dr Jongtai Hong of South Korea’s Ammunition & Warhead Department, Agency for Defense Development (ADD), will be speaking about the ROK’s existing munitions and current requirements.

Andrew Elwell Contributor:   Andrew Elwell

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BEEMEHR 06/22/2014 5:53:07 AM EDT

From my experience the ability to use several kinds of ammunition (Lighting, Smoke, etc) in another advantage for the artillery system.
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arjuna62702 06/23/2013 4:31:53 AM EDT

i think the biggest advantage of the conventional gun system is the un conditional fire support in all weather conditions....i have this experience in my 20 years service in artillery and 20 years experience in unconventional battle scenario in most adverse weather conditions in a tropical island.122mm Czech MBRLs had no chance during the monsoon seasons.
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jstallings 01/18/2013 2:53:57 PM EST

I have been in the middle of this argument for many years. Bottom line: a robust fires capability requires both. Cannons provide accurate, responsive fires under all weather conditions. Rockets provide range and munitions that fill the gaps in Cannon fire support. Your checklist addresses some insignificant metrics and is misleading in others. 1. Why is recoil an issue? Accuracy, Range, Resupply and Rate of Fire are much more relevant. 2. Today’s cannons are as mobile or more so than rocket delivery systems. Digging in spades is very old technology. Few, if any active cannon systems employ this requirement. Several can fire across track from a halt just like rocket systems. 3. Rockets generate backblast and signature trails but they are typically positioned in the battlespace to make this characteristic irrelevant. This is not a discriminator unless you want Rocket systems to perform the cannon mission, which is a bad idea in the first place. 4. Cannon systems can perform MRSI. Even the old M102 can conduct MRSI at certain ranges. Rockets cannot conduct MRSI. Your table is referring to Time on Target. Both cannon and Rocket systems can execute TOT fires. 5. MLRS is larger than the M109 Paladin. Stating cannon systems are larger is wrong.
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e.xhaferaj 01/17/2013 9:49:07 AM EST

PS: advantage over protection systems it always varies on different scenarios
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e.xhaferaj 01/17/2013 9:45:19 AM EST

I would like to raise the comment about the facility of interception between the two methods of attack used, because unless it hits the target on whatever form or at least brings damage to the objective than its not effective at all. Both methods have their + and - but I think that a long range artillery shell guided as XM982 or a double packed shell with pre-final blast with kinetic based shrapnel can do some damage even by having C-RAM and Goal Keeper systems on guard and not forget Iron Dome of the Israel have done amazing job on intercepting artillery rocket, mortar rounds and short range shells. Its easier to intercept a rocket thats for sure, not impossible for atillery shells but conventional way seems more reliable to me at least to do some damage.
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