Reports emanating from sources within the Russian industrial sector reveal a notable development within the jurisdiction of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation. The focal point of this development revolves around the insolvency of Motovilikhinskiye Zavody PAO, commonly referred to as MOTZ. For those unfamiliar with this entity, MOTZ holds a prestigious position as the exclusive manufacturer of Grad and Smerch rocket launchers, as well as the Tornado-G and Tornado-C systems.
Further scrutiny into this case unveils that MOTZ, a privately-owned entity, is jointly owned by four individuals – Marat Zagidulov and Rafael Himalov as primary stakeholders, with Yuriy Medvedyuk and Ruslan Valitov each holding a 10% share. Allegedly, since 2002, this consortium has been systematically leveraging the assets and machinery of the plant as collateral for loans they never intended to repay, consequently pushing the enterprise to the brink of insolvency.
Despite Russian authorities officially declaring MOTZ bankrupt as early as 2018, the noteworthy aspect here is the absence of any initiation in the process of liquidating the company’s assets to settle the owners’ debts. In 2023, there was a transaction involving the sale of the plant’s cultural center, albeit at a reduced valuation.
What can be deduced from this scenario is that, despite MOTZ facing financial insolvency, the production capabilities for Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) and guided missile weaponry remain unaffected. This anomaly can be encapsulated by the assertion that the enterprise is being portrayed as “financially unstable.”
In 2023, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation intervened in this matter due to the profound impact of the bankruptcy on this strategically vital Russian defense enterprise, notwithstanding its formal private ownership. The proposed course of action by Russian law enforcement is intriguing – the bankruptcy ruling for MOTZ will be “reversed,” and the shareholders will be obligated to reimburse the state a substantial sum of 2.7 billion rubles in losses. This includes 1.7 billion rubles in unutilized advances from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and tax obligations, along with an additional 1 billion rubles in accrued interest from fiscal resources.
Despite the formal declaration of bankruptcy in 2018, noteworthy from the aforementioned accounts is that the production of Tornado-G and Tornado-S missile systems for the Russian military has not experienced any disruptions. This implies that the Russian defense industry demonstrates resilience against both external and internal disruptions, even when faced with certain technological impediments.
As per The Military Balance 2023 report, the Russian military had a minimum of 160 Tornado-G systems and at least 20 Tornado-C systems at their disposal as of the beginning of the preceding year.
Tornado-G and Tornado-S Systems
The Tornado-G and Tornado-S stand as contemporary multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) developed and deployed by the Russian military. These systems represent a notable advancement over their predecessors, the BM-21 Grad and BM-30 Smerch systems, respectively, offering enhancements in accuracy, range, and lethality.
The Tornado-G, a 122mm system designed to replace the BM-21 Grad, is mounted on a Ural-4320 truck chassis and has the capacity to carry up to 40 rockets. Utilizing GLONASS for navigation and targeting, the Tornado-G significantly improves accuracy and can launch various 122mm rockets, including those with cluster, thermobaric, and high-explosive fragmentation warheads.
In contrast, the Tornado-S is a 300mm system intended to replace the BM-30 Smerch. Mounted on an MZKT-7930 truck chassis, it can carry up to 12 rockets. Similar to the Tornado-G, the Tornado-S employs GLONASS for navigation and targeting, allowing it to launch rockets with different warheads, such as cluster, thermobaric, and high-explosive fragmentation.
Concerning operational range, the Tornado-G can engage targets up to 20 kilometers away, while the Tornado-S boasts an impressive range of up to 120 kilometers. This places the Tornado-S among the MLRS with the longest ranges globally.
Both systems are capable of firing single shots or salvos, simultaneously engaging multiple targets. The Tornado-G and Tornado-S are engineered to neutralize enemy personnel, demolish fortifications, and disrupt enemy operations from substantial distances. They play crucial roles in Russia’s artillery forces and have seen deployment in various conflicts, including the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine.