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NewsUkraine weaponized pickups - tiny Grad on the go

Ukraine weaponized pickups – tiny Grad on the go

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Western countries are supplying a lot of weapons to Ukraine, believing that Ukraine can win this war. In addition to weapons, SUVs and pickup trucks are also sent to Ukraine. While they are mainly meant for logistics, pickup trucks sometimes are transformed into real multiple launch rocket systems.

Pickup serves as a good platform for a light multiple launch rocket system. Image credit: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s like a tiny BM-21 Grad – this is how you can jokingly describe these improvised missile systems. But maybe not so jokingly – both Grad and these armed pickups are considered to be rocket artillery and are designed to destroy everything in a certain area. These weapons can be highly effective.

Pickups with their rocket launchers are very fast compared to other self-propelled weapons of this type. And, depending on the engine and the chassis system, they find their way off-road as well.

What are these pickup trucks launching? Defense Express explained last June that S-8 rocket launchers are being mounted on pickup trucks in Ukraine.

Developed back in the 1970s, the S-8 is an 80 mm rocket originally designed for aircrafts. The S-8 rockets are used by various fighter jets, attack aircraft, and helicopters. Since S-8 rockets have been in service since 1984 and were adapted to a huge variety of Soviet aircraft, Ukraine has a considerable stockpile of them. And the defenders of Ukraine found ways to launch them from pickup trucks.

The type of pickup doesn't matter - the vehicle is just a base for the launcher.

The type of pickup doesn’t matter – the vehicle is just a base for the launcher. Image credit: 129th Territorial Defense Brigade of Kryvyi Rih City via Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0)

The S-8 is not some guided missile, but that only makes their improvised use easier. S-8 rockets can carry many different types of warheads, including anti-armor, fragmentation, incendiary, smoke, and others.

It looks like the defenders of Ukraine are mounting multiple S-8 air launchers on a simple welded frame. The good thing is that the S-8 missiles were designed for volleys – there are both 7 and 20 rocket launchers.

They can be modified, adapted to a different number of rockets. The frame designed by the defenders of Ukraine is not complicated – the rockets are aimed by hand. The switchgear is located in the cab of the pickup.

On April 15, 2023, a new video with pickup truck MLRS was published online:


It’s hard to say what the range of a system like this is. Some time ago Belarus developed a ground-based multiple launch rocket system based on the S-8, capable of launching a salvo of up to 80 such rockets. It was claimed to have a range of 3-5 km.

By comparison, the BM-21 Grad system can aim at targets of up to 52 km away. However, the S-8 rockets are quite cheap and smaller (the Grad uses 122 mm rockets), allowing for a greater number of them to be launched for more destruction.

In the case of the Ukrainian pickups, 3-5 km is a good combat range, because having launched its rockets the pickup can peel off at high speed before being noticed.


Source: Ukraina 365 Telegram , Wikipedia

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