China has equipped its border troops facing India with a modified truck-mounted rocket, state media reported. The digital version of the PHL-03 long-range multiple rocket launchers was filmed during the mass deployment in an artillery battalion of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command, CCTV said at the weekend.
This unit is posted on the plateau area, at 5200-meter elevation, where the PLA was involved in a lethal clash with the Indian troops in June last year. “This rocket is the main assault equipment of artillery troops, which can be used for speedy deployment and seizing and controlling key regions. With its help, the PLA troops will be able to fight in the difficult terrain of the plateau, desert, and others in all-weather condition,” the report said.
This self-propelled heavy rocket launcher has 12 tubes of 300 mm (12-inch) caliber barrels, with a standard 800 Kg rocket each to cover a large area with concerted firepower from a distance. It has a firing range of up to 130 Km, and its eight-wheeled truck has a top speed of 60 Km/h. The design allows the rocket launcher to be highly mobile and flexible, taking just three minutes to transition from travelling to combat-ready, and one minute from standby to emergency mode, CCTV reported.
The deployment of new weapons rakes up tension on the Indian borders which began to ease a few months back.