As the assigned GRAU index shows, the 2C7M self-propelled gun “Malka” is a modernized version of an older combat vehicle. This model was developed on the basis of the Peony 2X7 system, intended for the artillery units of the High Command reserve. The base Peony was put into service in the 1976 year and showed more than high performance. However, over time, this technique has ceased to fully organize the military, which led to the launch of a new project. A new SAU with higher characteristics was proposed to be created by updating and upgrading an existing 2-XNNUMX product.
The development of the updated self-propelled guns was entrusted to the Leningrad Kirov Plant, which had previously created a basic sample. The development work received the code Malka. Also, a new self-propelled gun was assigned an index of the GraU, indicating the continuity of development - 2C7M.
The self-propelled gun "Peony" was equipped with 203-mm threaded gun 2А44, distinguished by high characteristics. The artillery part of this combat vehicle, in general, suited the military and did not need serious modifications. At the same time, the terms of reference for the Malku provided for a serious upgrade of the existing chassis and the reworking of fire control systems. Due to this, it was planned to improve the technical and operational characteristics. Also expected a certain increase in combat qualities.
As part of the 2X7M project, the existing 216 Object chassis has undergone the greatest refinements. Its updated version received the designation "216M". While maintaining the main features of the design, as well as parts of components and assemblies, the authors of this project introduced a number of new products, as a result of which the required results were obtained. The mobility of the self-propelled gun was increased as a whole, its operation was simplified, and the resource also grew. Now the chassis provided mileage 10 thousand km instead of 8 thousand km at the base “Pion”.
During the modernization of the chassis "Object 216" retained its main features. It still had an armored body with exploded protection, welded from sheets of thickness up to 12-16 mm. The existing layout with the three-seater compartment of the control-cabin, behind which the engine-transmission compartment was located, has survived. Behind him was a compartment for calculating the gun. The entire rear of the chassis was given under the artillery installation and auxiliary equipment. The innovations of the Malka project affected only the composition of the equipment and the principles of its operation.
In the engine compartment of the “Object 216M” fit a new diesel engine B-84B hp power 840. with the ability to use different types of fuel. Due to a different engine design, the layout of the compartment was optimized. The new engine gave the self-propelled gun an increase in power at the level of the 60 hp, which made it possible to improve mobility on the highway and rough terrain. The transmission was modified accordingly, which now had to withstand increased loads.
The overall layout of the chassis remained the same, but some of its units were strengthened or finalized. At the same time, the existing unification with the aggregates of the main tank T-80, also developed at LKZ. On each side of the hull, seven track rollers with an individual torsion bar reinforced with hydraulic shock absorbers remained. Driving wheels of the chaining gear were placed in front of the hull, guides in the stern. “Object 216M” received improved steering wheel control mechanisms. In particular, now they could be lowered to the ground before firing without first loosening the tracks.
From the previous project, without any changes, they took a stern coulter, which served as an emphasis during the shooting and ensured the transfer of recoil to the ground. As before, the large metal aggregate of a characteristic shape fell to the ground and was deepened with the help of a pair of hydraulic cylinders.
As in the case of the Pion, the Malki artillery unit is installed in the rear of the landing gear. The existing gun installation mainly suited the military, as a result of which it was not subjected to major processing. However, she received some new devices, with the help of which she could show higher performance.
Main weapon SAU 2C7M - 2A44 rifled gun of 203 caliber mm. The barrel of an 55,3 long caliber was made in the form of a free pipe connected to the breech. The latter contained a piston type shutter. The barrel was connected to hydropneumatic recoil devices. A hydraulic rollback brake was installed above it, and under the barrel two pneumatic knurled cylinders were placed under the barrel. The barrel with wheel chocks in the collection connected with the cradle, mounted on the swinging part of the machine.
The machine gun received sector-type guidance mechanisms. With their help, firing within the horizontal sector of width 30 ° was provided. The elevation angles of the trunk varied from 0 to + 60 °. For the guidance could be used hand drives or hydraulic system, controlled from the gunner's console. With the vertical movement of the swinging part, the pneumatic balancing mechanism began to work.
Due to the large mass of shots for separate loading, the Pion ACS was equipped with a loading mechanism. With it, projectiles and charges were fed to the dismounting line and then sent to the barrel chamber. The basic version mechanism from the 2C7 project provided for the production of 1,5 rounds per minute. As part of the Malka design and development work, an improved loading mechanism was developed. For the first time in the world practice, reworked filing mechanisms have received automatic program control. The mechanism's tray could now move in two planes, thanks to which the projectile dismounting was ensured at any angle of the instrument's elevation. In addition, the automatics independently monitored all stages of preparation for the shot. The absence of the need to return the barrel to a predetermined position for reloading made it possible to bring the rate of fire to 2,5 shots per minute.
In the stern of the hull, next to the gun installation, we managed to find a place for additional ammunition. The Peony could carry an 4 203-mm shot-loading shot. In the “Malka” project, the portable ammunition load doubled.
The 2А44 gun was not being finalized, and therefore 2С7М retained the ability to use the entire range of shots of the existing “Pion”. With this gun it was possible to use high-explosive, concrete and cluster munitions of several types. In addition, three types of 203-mm nuclear projectiles were developed. The maximum mass of compatible shells reached 110 kg. Depending on a number of factors, the Malka, like the Peony, could send projectiles at a distance of up to 47,5 km.
Due to the lack of sufficient volumes on board, the projectiles and charges were to be supplied from the ground or from a truck-carrier of ammunition. In both cases, units of the standard loading mechanism were used to work with shots.
The most important innovation of the new project 2С7М “Malka” became automated means of communication and control. The combat vehicle received systems for receiving data from a senior battery officer. The obtained data for automatic firing were displayed on digital indicators installed at the workplaces of the self-propelled gunner's gunner. After receiving the data, they could carry out a tip and prepare a weapon for a shot.
Self-propelled gun retained the existing composition of additional weapons. For self-defense, it was proposed to use a large-caliber machine gun NSVT in an open installation. Also, in case of enemy air strikes, the crew had to have a Strela-2 or Igla portable anti-aircraft complex.
For a certain simplification of the operation of the self-propelled gun "Malka" received a set of equipment regulatory control. As part of the power plant, transmission, chassis, weapons, etc. There are numerous sensors associated with data processing devices. Ensured continuous monitoring of the work and the state of all major systems with the issuance of information on the console in the cockpit. Among other things, it was supposed to facilitate the search for breakdowns and maintenance of equipment.
The use of a number of new systems has reduced the calculation of the self-propelled gun. The operation of the base "Peony" was assigned to seven people. The automatic control system 2C7М was to be controlled by only six. Half of the crew - the driver, the commander and one of the gunners - on the march were located in the front cabin, access to which was provided by hatches in the roof. The compartment for the three other calculation numbers was behind the engine compartment. All habitable volumes had protection against weapons of mass destruction.
A number of new systems simplified and accelerated the preparation for combat work. The 2C7 self-propelled gun, according to the standards, spent on deploying and collapsing 10 minutes. In the case of 2C7M, this work required only 7 and 5 minutes, respectively. Thus, the modernized SAU could open fire faster, perform the required shooting faster, and then withdraw from the position from under the retaliatory strike.
According to the results of the modernization, the Malka ACS has retained the dimensions of the base sample, but at the same time it has become slightly heavier. Its combat mass has grown from the original 45 to 46,5 t. Despite this, the new engine provided an increase in power density and a corresponding improvement in mobility. The maximum speed now exceeded 50 km / h, and besides, the permeability on difficult landscapes increased.
In 1985, the prototype of the 2-7М Malka self-propelled gun passed tests, during which it confirmed its capabilities and characteristics. Soon came the order to adopt a new model for service and an order for the production of serial equipment. With the mass production, self-propelled guns of the new type were supposed to complement the existing Peonies in parts. Over time, it was planned to replace the less advanced combat vehicles.
Shot of 203-mm guns at the April drills of 2018. Photo by the RF Ministry of Defense
Serial "Malki" transmitted the same parts as the "Peony" before. They were intended for individual self-propelled artillery battalions of high-powered artillery brigades from the artillery of the High Command reserve. In most divisions, there was an 12 ACS combined into three batteries. Also in the teams there were battalions and batteries equipped with other high-powered tools.
Until the early nineties, artillery brigades equipped with "Peonies" and "Malkami" served throughout the Soviet Union. After the entry into force of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Russian self-propelled guns had to be sent outside the Urals. As a result, all this type of equipment is at the disposal of parts of the Eastern Military District. To date, its units, equipped with artillery of high power, appeared in the composition of other military districts.
According to the directory The Military Balance for the 2018 year, the Russian armed forces are currently operating 60 Malka type combat vehicles. The remaining high-powered self-propelled guns, both the basic 2C7 and the upgraded 2C7М, have been sent to storage. According to others, the number of active self-propelled two types is much smaller. Despite the relatively small number, this technique is actively used and regularly participates in combat training activities.
Continuing service "Malki" constantly show their capabilities, and their calculations are mastering new methods of combat work. For example, according to the Ministry of Defense, at the beginning of April, regular training artillery firing of high power from the Central Military District took place. The 2X7M self-propelled guns hit the conditional enemy targets at a distance of 30 km. For the timely detection of targets, data transmission and fire adjustment, modern unmanned aerial vehicles "Orlan-10" were used. Training shooting ended successful defeat of these goals.
The existing "Malki" continue the service and are unlikely to retire in the foreseeable future. The high power of their cannons to a certain extent reduces the range of tasks to be solved, however, even in this case they occupy an important place in the structure of the rocket forces and artillery. Thus, the army will continue to operate the existing self-propelled guns, and in addition, their modernization is possible in one way or another.
To maintain technical readiness, ACS 2C7М require regular repairs, including the replacement of obsolete components. The current development of technology in theory makes it possible to modernize the Malki, equipping them with new communication and control devices, which will further enhance the combat performance. In addition, the potential of such equipment can be increased by developing promising 203-mm shells, primarily managed ones. Updated on-board equipment and adjustable projectiles will obviously increase the accuracy and effectiveness of the shooting.
The ground forces need high-powered artillery systems suitable for particularly powerful strikes. The Russian army has a significant number of self-propelled guns with large caliber guns, and one of the foundations of such a grouping is the SAU 2C7 "Peony" and 2C7М "Malka". They will probably remain in the ranks for a long time and help other artillery to solve especially complex tasks.
Efremov A.S. The seventh "flower" in the artillery "bouquet" and its unified heirs. "Pion". // Technique and weapons, 2012. No.12.