Type 63 multiple rocket launcher

Type 63 107mm rocket launcher

Type 63 rocket launcher
Type Multiple rocket launcher
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
Used by People's Republic of China, Soviet Bloc, non-aligned, others
Wars 2011 Libyan civil war, Afghanistan war, Afghan civil war, Syrian civil war
Production history
Designed 1961
Manufacturer State Factory 847
Produced 1963 - ?
Variants Type 81 SP version on truck
Weight 602 kg (1,327 lb)
Length 2.90 m (9 ft 6 in)
Width 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Height 0.91 m (3 ft)
Crew 5

Shell HE, HE-I and HE-frag
Caliber 106.7mm
Elevation -3° to +57°
Traverse 32°
Muzzle velocity 385 m/s (1,260 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 8.05 km (5 mi)

The Type 63 multiple rocket launcher is a towed, 12-tube, 107mm rocket launcher produced by the People's Republic of China in the early 1960s and later exported and manufactured globally. Although no longer serving with active infantry units, the Type 63 is still in People's Liberation Army service with specialized formations such as mountain infantry units and special forces detachments.[1] The Type 63 was widely used in the PLA until the late 1980s. It was adopted as the successor of the Type 50-5 of 102mm.

China has also developed a Type 63 multiple rocket launcher of 130mm. The RPU-14 is a Soviet 140mm MRL of similar design to the Type 63.


The launcher's 12 tubes are arranged in three removable rows of four each, mounted on a single-axle carriage with rubber tires. The Type 63 originally fired an 18.8 kilogram rocket (Type 63-2)[2] with a 1.3 kilogram warhead.[3] Ammunition for the Type 63 was later improved (Type 75 and Type 81 series), although the overall weight of the rocket remained the same.[1] A fixed amount of propellant is contained in the rocket motor. The steel-cased rocket is stabilized with spin imparted by six angled nozzles in its base. Type 63 rockets may be launched without the launcher; improvised firing can employ tubing, rails or even dirt berms.[4][5] The Type 63 was distributed on the basis of six per infantry regiment, or 18 per infantry division.[6] For airborne and mountain units the lighter Type 63-I was developed.[7]

Both the Type 63 and its copies can be mounted on different kinds of armoured and unarmoured vehicles, for example the MT-LB, the Safir, the Mamba, the RG-32 Scout, the GAZ-66 and the M113.

Licence versions

The Type 63 and its rockets are license-built in several countries including:

BM-12 nomenclature issue

NATO and western sources have used the Soviet-style designation BM-12 to describe this weapon system, and further even ascribe Soviet origin and initial manufacture of both launcher and rockets.[14] However, there is no evidence in non-western sources of Soviet development or production, or of the BM-12 moniker being applied. Very similar Type 50-5 or Type 488 102mm rockets were manufactured in China and used in the Korean War prior to development of the Type 63.[15]

It appears the systems designated BM-12 (for example in Afghanistan and Libya) were or are all of Chinese origin, being merely used or cross-traded by Soviet interests.


Multiple rocket launchers

Single-tube rocket launchers

A number of countries have developed single-tube, man-portable rocket launchers that fire the same type of rockets:


A Type 63 used by Libyan rebels

The Type 63 has been exported to many countries including:


  1. 1 2 sinodefence.com
  2. JAA, p. 594.
  3. fas.org
  4. Jeremy Kelly (August 21, 2012). "Despite drones and blimps, rocket attacks in Afghanistan prove hard to stop". Christian Science Monitor.
  5. Brian Anderson (2012). "Chinese-Made 107mm Rockets Are the Workhorses of Insurgencies (and Goons)". Motherboard.
  6. JAA, p. 593.
  7. 1 2 "Type 63 107mm Rocket". Fas.org. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  8. MIC page on Small Arms including Taka
  9. "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's | IHS". Articles.janes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  10. "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's | IHS". Articles.janes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  11. http://www.acig.info/CMS/?option=com_content&task=view&id=190&Itemid=47
  12. "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's | IHS". Articles.janes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  13. "Egypt :: Helwan Machinery and Equipment Co. .::. حلوان للآلات و المعدات :: تفاصيل المنتجات الحربيه". Fact999.momp.gov.eg. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  14. Jalali; Ali Ahmad, & Grau; Lester W., (2002), Afghan guerrilla warfare: in the words of the Mujahideen fighters, Zenith Imprint, pg. 407, ISBN 0760313229
  15. http://www.janes.com/articles/Janes-Armour-and-Artillery/NORINCO-107-mm-12-round-Type-63-and-Type-81-multiple-rocket-systems-China.html Type 63
  16. "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's | IHS". Articles.janes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  17. "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's | IHS". Articles.janes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.


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