Cambodia claims successful testing of rocket launchers

16:30, March 04, 2010      

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Russian-made BM21 rockets are fired during a multiple rocket launch system test at Kampong Chhnang province, 120 km (74.6 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, March 4, 2010. BM-21 rockets were launched during the test, the first live munitions test since military integration after the end of the civil war in 1998, Cambodia's defence spokesman, Chhum Socheath said. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


Cambodia claimed on Thursday that the first-ever testing of BM-21 rocket launchers was successful.

Speaking at a testing event in Kompong Chhnang province, about 100 kilometers north of Phnom Penh, Tea Banh, deputy prime minister and minister of national defense said the testing was " successful" and this success has proved Cambodia's full competence in defending the "country's territorial integrity and sovereignty."

He said all the 215 shells tested had hit the target and goal from 20 km to 40 km as planned.

The testing was conducted while border dispute with Thailand remains unsolved.



Cambodian soldiers prepare Russian-made BM-21 rockets during multiple rocket launch system test at Kampong Chhnang province, 120 km (74.6 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, March 4 , 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


But Tea Banh said the testing of the rocket was not aimed at preparing a war with any country, but to get ready for any circumstance that Cambodia is met with foreign invasion.

Also, on Thursday, Hun Sen said Cambodia has had BM-21 since the 1980s and military exercise is normally practiced worldwide.


Russian-made BM21 rockets are fired during a multiple rocket launch system test at Kampong Chhnang province, 120 km (74.6 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, March 4, 2010. BM-21 rockets were launched during the test, the first live munitions test since military integration after the end of the civil war in 1998, Cambodia's defence spokesman, Chhum Socheath said. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


The test was first announced by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Feb. 24, who said that his country will conduct a military exercise by firing about 200 rounds of BM-21 to make sure his military operators are able to operate well and to also test the quality of these BM-21 rocket launchers after they have been kept for long in warehouse.

Fearing criticism from outsiders, Hun Sen said the test by firing these rocket launchers are not intended to show off military muscle, but to only check the capacity of the country's military affairs as a sovereign state.


A Cambodian soldier prepares Russian-made BM21 rockets during multiple rocket launch system test at Kampong Chhnang province, 120 km (74.6 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh, March 4, 2010. Russian-made BM-21 rockets were launched during the test, the first live munitions test since military integration after the end of the civil war in 1998, Cambodia's defence spokesman, Chhum Socheath said. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


He added that Cambodia is committed to positioning itself as peaceful neighbors and intend not to stage war with any country.

According to Hun Sen, prices of one BM-21 range at 1,200, 2,800 and 3,800 U.S. dollars.

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