In 1989 FAMAE (Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército de Chile) developed a 160 mm multiple rocket launcher or MRL system that was the jewel in the arsenal of the Chilean army. This new system would be called “Rayo” (Thunderbolt) and had an effective range of 50 kilometers. It was developed to be exported to countries that were in armed conflicts during the cold war and the Iran-Iraq war. To achieve this, Augusto Pinochet constantly travels to London and thus visit and encourage representatives of the British company Royal Ordnance (RO) to associate with Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército de Chile (FAMAE) in order to produce the Rayo Rocket but as these conflicts ended most of the countries had surplus weapons that had to be sold at good prices, so the “Rayo” project would no longer be profitable, even so General Augusto Pinochet decided to continue with the project in an effort to demonstrate the technological capabilities of the emerging Chilean arms industry and the ability to develop a new generation of weapons with much greater range and lethality to keep potential enemies at bay.
Even so, due to the constant delays in development, which led to the delay of the project in more than 15 years, they made the methods and war scenarios change, preferring precise guided missiles thus avoiding unnecessary civilian deaths in cities. All these problems led to the completion of the project, manufacturing only 14 “Rayo” rocket launchers out of the 60 that were planned, deciding to purchase 25 additional batteries of the LAR-160 Israeli-made light rocket artillery system, and that’s how in 2003 the director of FAMAE confirmed that the Rayo project was canceled in 2002 from a commercial point of view, but not the subsystems and technologies derived from it, which are current and in full production, and in this way the development of the new multiple rocket launcher system called “FAMAE SLM” would begin.
The New FAMAE SLM
The FAMAE SLM (acronym for Multiple Launch System) or simply called SLM, is a multiple rocket launcher system mounted on a MAN 6×6 truck with the capacity to launch 160 mm and 306 mm rockets. It was developed by Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército de Chile (FAMAE) and designed to replace the Rayo Rocket that was used as a base and study for the development of the SLM Famae. The SLM project began in 2011 and finished its development and subsequent production in 2014. It was initially developed in collaboration with Israel Military Industries (IMI) and the Chilean company Desarrollos de Automatización (DESA). The SLM FAMAE incorporates the Nekulpan fire control system developed by the Chilean company DESA.
Characteristics of Nekulpan
The SMCF Nekulpan allows the control of all the ballistic variables including cartographic scenarios and the use of any type of rocket, regardless of their origin or manufacturer. This technological solution from the national defense industry shows the units in the network through digital cartography differentiated by layers and allows the insertion of fire support zones and lines. Nekulpan has, among other features, NATO 2525B symbology, marching routes, a ballistic calculator for different ammunition, mission status display for each unit in the network, and drone management as a control station.
The FAMAE SLM was presented to the public for the first time at FIDAE 2014 (international air and space fair), where it was possible to observe the weapons it can carry (Israeli) along with a demonstration of the movement of the system. For the development of the SLM, two IMI weapons were used as an example, the high precision Accular 160mm artillery rocket, which carries an explosive charge of 35kg, has a margin of error of 10 meters, much less than the 18.7 meters of the Rayo rocket, also has 306 mm extended-range guided rockets, with an explosive charge of 120 kilograms, has a maximum range of 150 kilometers and a margin of error of 1.4 meters. FAMAE also produces its own LAR 160 rockets that can be used on the SLM platform along with various other types of rockets and missiles of different categories and sizes.
FAMAE SLM during fidae 2014, on the left you can see the EXTRA 306mm rocket
Accular 160mm rocket and EXTRA 306mm rocket during Fidae 2014
The truck in which the rocket system is mounted is a MAN KAT 1 6x6 modified by FAMAE, the truck has the peculiarity of having armored shutters on the truck windows for the protection of the driver and his companions, also the roof is a little thicker than the version original, it also has 4 stabilizers that can be lowered to provide a more stable shooting platform for shooting at long distances, and finally the lifting and turning of the truck-mounted launchers is done via an electro-hydraulic system mounted on the rear of the truck. All these features give it a distinctive design along with its desert camouflage.
- 2 Minimum ( driver, gunner)
- Primary: 10 x 160mm rockets (Lar 160 or Accular) and 4 x 306mm rockets (EXTRA) or 24 x 160mm rockets (Lar 160 or Accular) or 8 x 306 mm rockets (EXTRA)
- Length: 8.62 m
- Width: 2.5 m
- Height: ~ 2.9 m
- Total weight, battle ready: 13.7 Tons
- Engine: V8, MAN Diesel 3.800 cc, 230 CV
- Velocity: 120 km/h max.
- Autonomy: 650 km
- Transmission: Electro-hydraulic
- Armor: Ultra-light composite alloy steel.
Accular Rocket 160mm
EXTRA 306mm Rocket
FAMAE SLM IN FIDAE 2014
FAMAE SLM firing Lar 160 rockets
Official video of FAMAE talking about its rocket systems, the FAMAE SLM appears
- Desarrollo y Defensa: Sistema Lanzacohetes Multiple FAMAE
- NOTICIAS FFAA CHILE: FAMAE Está en El Desarrollo Final del SLM Tralcan
- FIDAE: FAMAE offers new rocket artillery | Shephard
- Famae moderniza e incrementa la eficiencia del SMCF Nekulpan del LAR 160 del Ejército de Chile
- MAN KAT 1 6x6 General Utility Truck | MilitaryToday.com