Stories about weapons. ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" outside and inside
We smoothly move from ZSU-57-2 to a great (and absolutely not afraid of this word) successor. “Shaitan Arba” - “Shilke”.
One can talk endlessly about this complex, but one short phrase is enough: “In the ranks with 1965 of the year”. And enough, by and large.
History... The history of creation was replicated in such a way that it is unrealistic to add something new or piquant, but, speaking of “Shilka”, it is impossible not to note a few facts that simply fit “Shilka” into our military history.
So, the 60s of the last century. Jet aircraft have already ceased to be a miracle, representing a very serious striking force. With completely different speeds and maneuvering capabilities. Helicopters also got on the propeller and were considered not only as a vehicle, but also as quite decent armory platform.
And most importantly, the helicopters began to try to catch up with the aircraft of World War II, and the aircraft completely overtook their predecessors.
And with all this it was necessary to do something. Especially at the army level, "in the fields."
Yes, anti-aircraft missile systems appeared. Still stationary. Thing promising, but in the future. But the main load was still carried by anti-aircraft guns of all sizes and calibers.
We have already talked about the ZSU-57-2 and the difficulties faced by the calculations of installations when working on low-flying fast targets. Anti-aircraft systems ZU-23, ZP-37, ZSU-57 could hit the speed targets by accident. Projectiles installations, percussion, without a fuse, for a guaranteed defeat should have hit the target itself. How high was the probability of a direct hit, I do not presume to judge.
The situation was somewhat better with the C-60 anti-aircraft guns, which could be guided automatically according to the data of the RPK-1 radio system.
But on the whole, there was no talk about any exact anti-aircraft fire. Anti-aircraft guns could put a barrier in front of the plane, force the pilot to drop bombs or launch missiles with less accuracy.
"Shilka" was a breakthrough in the field of destruction of flying targets at low altitudes. Plus mobility, which is already rated by ZSU-57-2. But the main thing is accuracy.
Today, all those who think in modern categories, the term "autonomous complex" is taken for granted. And in the sixties it was a feat of design thought, the pinnacle of engineering solutions.
General Designer Nikolai Alexandrovich Astrov managed to create an unparalleled machine that showed itself perfectly in combat conditions. And more than once.
This is despite the fact that Astrov was not an authority in the field of creating anti-aircraft systems! He was a constructor tanks!
Small amphibious tanks T-38 and T-40, tracked armored tractor T-20 "Komsomolets", light tanks T-30, T-60, T-70, self-propelled installation of SU-76М. And other, less well-known or not going into a series of models.
What is the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka"?
Perhaps we should start with the destination.
Shilka is designed to protect the combat forces of troops, columns on the march, stationary objects and railway trains from attacking an air enemy at altitudes from 100 to 1500 meters, at ranges from 200 to 2500 meters at target speeds up to 450 m / s. "Shilka" can fire from a place and in motion, equipped with equipment that provides an independent circular and sector search targets, their support, the development of pointing angles of guns.
The armament of the complex consists of the 23-mm quad automatic anti-aircraft cannon AZP-23 "Amur" and a system of power drives designed for targeting.
The second component of the complex is the radar-instrument complex RPK-2М. His appointment is also understandable. Guidance and fire control.
Important aspect: “Shilka” can work both with radar and with conventional optical sight aiming device.
Locator provides search, detection, automatic tracking of the target, determines its coordinates. But in the middle of the 70s, the Americans invented and started arming missiles that could locate a radar beam and hit it. This is where simplicity came in handy.
The third component. The chassis of the GM-575, on which everything, in fact, is mounted.
The crew of the Shilka consists of four people: the commander of the ZSU, the search-gunner operator, the range operator and the driver.
The driver is the most criminal member of the crew. It is in stunning luxury, compared to others.
The rest are in the tower, where it is not enough that closely and as in a normal tank there is something to attach one's head, so also (so it seemed to us) it can easily and naturally apply current. Very closely.
Analog electronics ... You look with reverent trembling. On the round screen of the oscilloscope, apparently, the operator and determined the range ... Wow ...
Shilka received baptism of fire during the so-called “War of attrition” of the 1967-70 between Israel and Egypt as part of the Egyptian air defense. And after that on the account of a complex two more tens local wars and conflicts. Mostly in the Middle East.
But Shilka received special recognition in Afghanistan. And the honorary nickname "Shaitan Arba" among the Mujahideen. The best way to calm down an ambush organized in the mountains is to use the Shilka. A long line of four barrels and the subsequent heavy rain of high-explosive shells at the alleged positions is the best means of saving more than one hundred lives of our soldiers.
By the way, the fuse quite normally worked when it hit the adobe wall. And the attempt to hide behind the branches of the villages usually didn’t bring good spirits to anything ...
Given that aviation the Afghan partisans did not have, "Shilka" fully realized its potential for firing at ground targets in the mountains.
Moreover, a special “Afghan version” was created: a radio-sampling facility was withdrawn, which was completely unnecessary in those conditions. Due to him, the ammunition was increased from 2000 to 4000 shots and a night sight was set.
Towards the end of the stay of our troops in the DRA, the columns, accompanied by the Shilka, were rarely attacked. This is also a recognition.
Also recognition can be considered that in our army "Shilka" is still in the ranks. Over 30 years. Yes, this is not the car, which began its career in Egypt. Shilka transferred (successfully) more than one deep modernization, and one of such upgrades even got its own name, ZSU-23-4М Biryusa.
39 countries, and not only our "true friends", purchased these machines from the Soviet Union.
And today the Shilka is also in service with the Russian army. But this is a completely different car, which should lead a separate story.
- Roman Skomorokhov
- Roman Skomorokhov, Roman Krivov
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