Strike Range: Apparent Deployment of SAF Mobile Rocket Launchers Near South Kordofan

Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured on 28 June has identified four vehicles consistent with BM-21 mobile multiple rocket launcher (MRL) systems at an apparent Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) camp southwest of El Obeid, North Kordofan, Sudan.

This vehicle, known as the “Grad,” can fire at least 40 rockets over 20km at the rate of two rounds per second. The BM-21 can be reloaded in approximately two minutes and prepared for transport in under ten minutes. The apparent MRLs observed at the camp are within two hours’ drive of the border with South Kordofan and less than half a day’s drive from Delling, Kadugli, and Kauda.

To date, there are no public reports of this unit being specifically used by the SAF in the fighting that erupted early last month in the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan. According to the Institute for National Security Studies, the SAF had 90 BM-21s in its arsenal as of 1989. The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) reportedly has BM-21s in its arsenal as well.

The recently reinforced camp, approximately 65 km from the border of North and South Kordofan, has structures present consistent with an at least battalion-sized infantry detachment, 24 light vehicles arrayed in formation around the apparent MRLs, and an additional eight (8) apparent armored vehicles.