Ukraine is putting a new multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) rocket into service with its military.
In mid-2019, the Ukrainian military is expected to start taking delivery of the Vilkha MLRS rocket, according to UNIAN. The news website reported that serial production of the Vilkha will begin soon, following testing in April 2018 and December 2017.
Vilkha carries a range of up to 300 kilometers when fired from the BM-30 Smerch MLRS, according to the CSIS ‘Missile Threat’ project. The 300mm guided rocket carries increased accuracy over older-generation systems.
In December 2017, President Petro Poroshenko said that up to UAH 1.6 billion ($57 million at present exchange) would be necessary in order to begin serial production of the rocket, though Ukraine has not revealed how extensively the military will replace older, unguided munitions with the upgraded rockets. The general director of the State Kyiv Design Bureau Luch, Oleg Korostelev, indicated that the Vilkha has also received interest from foreign customers, suggesting that Ukraine could seek to export the rocket to other BM-30 Smerch users.
Particularly since the onset of hostilities with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has emphasized improving its artillery and precision capabilities. The country’s defense industry is producing new artillery rockets as well as ballistic and cruise missiles in order to bolster deterrence against separatist artillery.