Hanwha from South Korea showcases next generation of Chunmoo MRLS Multiple Rocket Launcher System

At ADEX 2023, Hanwha Aerospace showcased its newest generation of the Multiple Rocket Launcher System (MRLS) named Chunmoo, marking it as the latest rocket launcher in its class. Currently, in service with the South Korean military, the Chunmoo has also been chosen by the Polish Army. During ADEX, the South Korean army presented the Chunmoo on the static display in the outside area.
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Chunmoo MRLS Multiple Rocket Launcher System was presented by the South Korean army at ADEX 2023. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In November 2022, Hanwha Aerospace Co. of South Korea signed an executive contract, worth US$3.55 billion, with Poland for the supply of Chunmoo MRLS (Multiple Rocket Launcher System). Poland is expected to receive a total of 218 K239 Chunmoo systems under the executive contract.

The Chunmoo MRLS, or Multiple Rocket LaunchSystem, is a state-of-the-art artillery system hailing from South Korea. Developed as a successor to the older systems in the South Korean arsenal, like the K136 Kooryong, the Chunmoo was conceived to bolster the artillery capabilities of the South Korean military.

One of the standout features of the Chunmoo is its versatility. Unlike some other systems, the Chunmoo can fire both rockets and missiles from the same launch vehicle, allowing for a wide range of operational scenarios. This adaptability ensures that the system can respond to various threats and mission requirements, making it a valuable asset on the modern battlefield.

Furthermore, the Chunmoo offers enhanced range and precision compared to its predecessors. With its advanced targeting systems and the capability to fire longer-range munitions, the Chunmoo can engage targets at significant distances with high accuracy. This extended reach ensures that enemy assets can be neutralized before they pose a direct threat, providing a strategic advantage.

Another noteworthy aspect of the Chunmoo MRLS is its mobility. Designed to be rapidly deployable, the system can be quickly positioned and repositioned on the battlefield, allowing it to respond promptly to evolving threats and mission parameters. This mobility ensures that the Chunmoo can always be where it's most needed, providing timely and effective fire support.

The Chunmoo K-MRLS carries two launch pods able to fire different calibers of rockets. It can fire 130 mm non-guided rockets (20 rockets to each pod), 227mm non-guided rockets (6 rockets to each pod), and 239mm guided rockets (6 rockets to each pod). The pods are mounted on a single turntable which has a traverse of 360°.

The Chunmoo is also able to fire KTSSM (Korea Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile). The KTSSM has a range of around 120 to 200 kilometers, depending on the variant. It is equipped with a high-precision guidance system, which includes GPS, INS (Inertial Navigation System), and terrain-matching guidance. This allows the missile to achieve a high degree of accuracy, with a CEP (Circular Error Probable) of fewer than 2 meters.

Firstly, it can fire the K33 131 mm unguided rockets, which were previously used on the older K136 Kooryong system, with a range of 36 km. Additionally, it can launch the KM26A2 230 mm rockets, which are based on the M26 227 mm unguided DPICM rocket. These have a range of 45 km. One of the standout features of the Chunmoo is its ability to fire the 239 mm Chunmoo guided rockets, known as CGR080. These rockets can be equipped with either high explosive penetration warheads or cluster bombs containing 300 bomblets. The CGR080 rockets have a range of 80 km.

The design of the CGR080 239 mm rockets is particularly noteworthy. They are 3.96 m long and can be equipped with two types of warheads. One is a high explosive warhead developed as a bunker buster, designed to penetrate and destroy fortified structures. The other is a cluster bomb warhead, which disperses hundreds of bomblets over a wide area, making it effective against personnel. The high explosive warhead can either burst on impact for use against personnel or after a delay to destroy bunkers. Given the numerous bunkers along the DMZ, the South Korean Army specifically required the guided rocket to have a penetrator warhead to act as a bunker-buster solution.

The Chunmoo'slauncher is designed for rapid fire and reload capabilities. It can launch six 239 mm rockets in 30 seconds and a total of 12 rockets in one minute. Moreover, it can reload two rocket pods in just seven minutes. The launch vehicle itself is based on a K239L 8×8 truck chassis, which provides an armored cab to protect its crew from threats like small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The vehicle also offers NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection.

In terms of future developments, there are efforts to increase the range of the Chunmoo's 239 mm rockets to 200 km, bringing them on par with the range of North Korea's 300 mm KN-09 rockets. Research is also being conducted into a larger 400 mm rocket, which the Chunmoo could potentially carry four of.

Defense News October 2023