Russia is likely to soon produce more Tornado-S complexes to launch into the Ukrainian battlefield when the plan to buy Polonez from Belarus faces obstacles.
The Russian-made Tornado-S complexes are assessed to be fully capable of replacing the Polonez long-range rocket launchers produced by Belarus in cooperation with China in the mission to suppress Ukraine’s HIMARS.
Since appearing on the Ukrainian battlefield, the US M142 HIMARS high-mobile artillery rocket systems have truly proven their role as a “game-changing weapon”, turning the battlefield in favor. for Kyiv.
To combat M142 HIMARS, in recent times, information has appeared that Russia is interested and wants to buy Polonez long-range guided rockets from Belarus, but this deal is difficult to materialize.
Technically, the Polonez complex occupies an intermediate position between long-range guided rocket artillery and tactical ballistic missiles. The rockets equipped for Polonez have a diameter of 300 mm, based on the Chinese A200 missile design.
The aforementioned rocket has a range of 200 km, and in the updated version of Polonez-M, this number has been increased to 290 km, enough to become a direct competitor to HIMARS even if it is equipped. long-range ATACMS missile.
At the same time, the cost of Chinese-origin missiles is many times cheaper than cruise missiles in service with the ground forces as well as the Russian Navy, allowing them to be used in large numbers.
If it is possible to combine the use of Iranian reconnaissance drones to designate targets for Polonez, the power of the weapon will be greatly increased. However, there are great difficulties for Russia to possess such weapons. First of all, Minsk produces very little Polonez. In the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, there are currently only 6 combat complexes, while another 10 have been acquired by Azerbaijan. Second, the missiles for Polonez are made by China, which is trying to stay away from the Ukraine conflict. If Iran is in a situation with almost nothing to lose, ready to supply UAVs to Russia, Beijing is not so “comfortable”.
Another possibility is that Chinese missiles will be labeled “made in Belarus” to avoid Western sanctions, and Beijing will supply Minsk with loose parts to assemble into finished products.
However, this work is difficult to pass the eyes of Western intelligence, the risk is too great, so it is very unlikely that China will agree to cooperate with Belarus to provide long-range guided rocket artillery to Russia.
If so, the Russian Tornado-S will be an alternative to Polonez in the role of suppressing HIMARS. This MLRS complex is a deep modernization of the BM-30 Smerch tactical missile system, mounted on the KamAZ-63501 military truck.
This system using 300 mm missiles with a range of up to 200 km has been developed. When specifying a target, the Tornado-S will be supported by the GLONASS satellite network, as well as by getting data from drones and reconnaissance units.
In the near future, it is expected that Russia will focus on producing more Tornado-S complexes to launch into the Ukrainian battlefield. However, this weapon will have to prove its capabilities in the field, because many Russian weapons have shown that there is a big difference between reality and advertising.