Saturday 15 December 2012

Evidence Of New Grad Launched Cluster Munitions Used In Syria

Earlier this week I wrote about the recent use of BM-21 Grad rocket launchers in Syria, and today I've been provided a video by Yalla Souriya showing another unexploded rocket from these launchers, with some very interesting items at the end of the video

The rocket pictured is produced by the Egpytian Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) owned Sakr Factory for Development Industries, which produces a variety of weapons, including the Sakr series of 122mm rockets used by BM-21 Grad rocket launchers, the Sakr-18, Sakr-36, and Sakr-45, the number being the range of the rocket.  What's very interesting about these particular rocket is rather than being the usual high explosive fragmentation round they instead carry M42D dual purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions, a type of cluster submunition.  As per the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor
The SAKR Factory for Developed Industries produces two types of 122mm surface-to-surface rockets: the SAKR-18 and SAKR-36, containing 72 and 98 M42D submunitions, respectively.
So this brings us to the items shown later on in the video


The image quality isn't great, but you get a sense of what they look they, a small munition with what's known as a "drag ribbon" attached, which unfurls when the bomblet is deployed and acts to stablise and arm the bomblet.  One problem with this is it also results in the bomblet getting caught up in trees and bushes, presenting an UXO hazard.  Unfortunately I've been unable to find a reference image for a M42D bomblet, but here's a couple of example of other very similar bomblets via the Cluster Munition Coalition

You'll note the US made M42 submunition looks very similar, which, based off the designation, makes me wonder if the M42D is a copy of that munition.

In lieu of a reference image for the M42D I cannot say for certain that the submunitions in the video are M42Ds, but based off the type of rocket pictured in the video it seems highly likely we have the first evidence pointing towards a new type of cluster munition being used in Syria by the Syrian army.

Update December 16th Thanks to Mark Hiznay for pointing me to this reference image of a M42D cluster bomblet, which appears to match the submunition shown in the video

Update January 3rd 2013 This new video has been posted showing a much clearer shot of the submunitions, which appears to match with the above pictured M42D

Update January 7th Thanks to Nic Jenzen-Jones of the Rogue Adventurer blog for providing me with this video of a sales video for these rockets, with good cutaway models showing how the bomblets are held inside the rocket

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Unexploded Bombs Used In A Truck Bomb By Jabhat al-Nusra  
Clear Evidence Of DIY Barrel Bombs Being Used By The Syrian Air Force
Unexploded Cluster Bomblets Repurposed As DIY Rocket Warheads
Improving Syrian Oppositon Armaments Demonstrated During The Taftanaz Airbase Attack

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  1. Looks more lilke Chinese Type 81 HEDPs to me, which were sold to Egypt and other middle eastern countries to include Syria

  2. Another video