Turkey had supplied the TRLG-230 Multiple Launch Rocket System to the Ukrainian military. All eyes are now on this laser-guided MLRS, which might complement and even surpass HIMARS after social media was flooded with what appears to be the first usage of the rocket in combat.
The information about the transfer of the MLRS TRLG-230 was first published by the open satellite intelligence tracker Oryx, citing some unknown officials from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
An unsubstantiated video purporting to show Ukraine’s first usage of the TRLG-230 system quickly went popular on social media after the news broke.
The video only shows a projectile being fired from a launcher, with no information on the time or location of the launch. Ukraine has not officially acknowledged the video or the claims.
However, one of the most intriguing facts is that the Roketsan-made Turkish Multi-Barrel Launch Rocket System (MBRLS) is mounted on a Russian-made Kamaz-65224 6×6 truck chassis.
The use of the system coincides with Russia’s determined efforts to cripple Ukraine’s power grid amid a brutal winter.
It is believed to be Ukraine’s most important Turkish aid after the combat success of the Bayraktar TB2 drones. The TB2s helped Ukraine compensate for its power gap with the invading forces and helped conduct several successful offensives.
The MBRL Roketsan and TRLG-230 rockets would be an essential addition to the Ukrainian arsenal to combat the Russian onslaught that continues to bombard the territories reoccupied by Kyiv.
Ukraine uses HIMARS, MLRS 270, and MARS II MLRS as long-range weapons to repel invaders.
For use with HIMARS and GMLRS variants, the TRLG-230 rockets are comparable to the M30/M31 227mm Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets obtained from the United States and other countries.
The TRLG-230s, on the other hand, are equipped with a laser seeker that enables them to engage dynamic targets, a capacity not possessed by the HIMARS and MLRS 270s in use in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s use of the TRLG-230s also comes at a reasonable time, as Russia has begun to outmaneuver the HIMARS by deploying its own Tornado-S MLRS to the front.
The Russian Tornado-S has a substantially larger range of 120 kilometers, while the Turkish TRLG-230 boasts unrivaled precision due to a laser seeker installed in the projectile’s nose.
In addition, Washington, which has supplied hundreds of HIMARS, is being warned about running out of supplies, so the transfer of this laser-guided system will assist lighten the load.
Is the TRLG-230 a game-changer?
The US-supplied M142 (HIMARS) and UK-supplied MLRS 270 gave Ukraine long-range fire capability.
These devices allowed Kyiv to assault Russian military buildings, gasoline depots, ammo stocks, etc., slowing the Russian advance and winning the conflict.
The impact was such that after Ukrainian troops liberated Kherson, Ukrainian President Zelensky thanked HIMARS for his symbolic visit to the region.
The TRLG-230 may give the Ukrainian military better remote precision-guided strike capability. In addition, Ukraine already uses HIMARS and M270 MLRS.
Instead, these launchers use M30/M31 rockets with GPS-assisted inertial navigation system (INS) guidance. The TRLG-230 uses laser seekers.
Laser guidance lets the TRLG-230 engage moving targets. These rockets may engage moving targets with proximity fuzes and high-explosive fragmentation warheads. Roketsan claims they are more accurate when laser-guided.
Furthermore, MRLS is supposed to work most effectively with TB-2 Bayraktar drones to identify, coordinate and engage with their rocket artillery fire at ground targets, as EurAsian Times points out.
Oryx claims that the TB-2 can only hit four targets with its 230mm TRLG-230 because it has 24-hour endurance and an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) system with a range of 75 kilometers.
Images from 2020’s combat in Nagorno-Karabakh, in which the TB-2 also appeared, were released by the Azerbaijani military last year, showing that Baku had utilized TRLG-230s.
The Roketsan website says the battery management system can be integrated with modern fire support [tactical fire direction system] and battlefield control and management automation systems.
The battery receives its target information from radars or unmanned aerial vehicles used for target acquisition. The Ukrainian armed forces have several types of counter-battery radars at their disposal.
The Turkish government has reportedly already given the Ukrainian military at least 50 TRLG-230 rockets and an unspecified number of mobile launchers. This arsenal has seen action.
There have been rumors that around 200 rockets and 8 launchers have been delivered to Ukraine, but these claims have not been independently verified. It’s unclear whether the launchers and rockets were sold or given as military aid.
Ankara’s handover of such complex equipment to Kyiv could further strain relations between the two countries.
In the past week, Turkey launched a spate of airstrikes against suspected military targets in northern Syria and Iraq, which Russia disapproves of.