Military Review

OE Watch: Russian heavy artillery returns to service

Armed with the Russian army are artillery systems of different calibers and different purposes. Of great interest are special power tools designed to solve special problems. Such weapons, as well as all the processes around them, attract the attention of domestic and foreign specialists. Thus, OE Watch, published by the US Department of Foreign Military Studies, recently outlined its view on these issues.

The September issue of the OE Watch magazine from the Foreign Military Studies Office contains curious material on Russian artillery systems of special power in general, current events related to them, and the prospects for such weapons. The article for the author of Chuck Burtles received the headline "Russian Heavy Artillery: Leaving Depots and Returning to Service" - "Russian heavy artillery: leaving warehouses and returning to service."

At the beginning of the article, the author recalls the main features of the development of Soviet and Russian artillery of special power in recent decades. Thus, the Soviet Union at one time developed a whole range of large-caliber artillery systems, including the 240-mm self-propelled mortar 2С4 Tulip or the 203-mm self-propelled howitzer 2C7 Pion. Such weapon intended to disrupt communications, management and logistics, the destruction of command posts, as well as various city and field fortifications using conventional and nuclear ammunition.

After the end of the Cold War, the Russian military sent most of these weapons to long-term storage sites. This decision was made for several main reasons. First of all, the partial rejection of powerful weapons was associated with the improvement of the international situation and the lack of need for means of delivering tactical nuclear charges to a relatively long range. In addition, the further development of other weapons affected the fate of the Pions and Tulips. Newer and more sophisticated weapons, such as the MNTAXMNS 2C19М, as well as Iskander-type missile systems could solve the same tasks with sufficient efficiency as the special-power artillery.

OE Watch reminds the main technical features of super-powered Russian guns. Self-propelled mortar 2C4 "Tulip" is a 240-mm gun 2B8, mounted on a modified chassis "Object 123". The latter is similar to the 2CXNNX “Acacia” howitzer chassis. It is equipped with a V3 B-59 diesel engine and develops power up to the HP 12. Self-propelled machine is capable of speeding up to 520 km / h on the highway. Own crew "Tulip" consists of four people, but for the shooting they need the help of five more soldiers. They follow the self-propelled on the second vehicle that provides the transport of ammunition.

Mortar 2С4 is able to use mines of all main types: high-explosive, chemical and nuclear mines. In this case, according to official data, now in his ammunition includes only conventional shots. System fire rate - 1 shot per minute. The standard ammunition for the Tulip is an 240-mm high-explosive fragmentation mine with a mass of 130 kg. Such a product is launched at a distance of 9,5 km. There are also active-reactive mines with a range of 18 km. Back in the days of the war in Afghanistan, the “Daredevil” mine with semi-active laser homing appeared.

According to the OE Watch, Russia is currently in the process of upgrading the Tulip 2C4 mortars. First of all, the update affects communication systems and fire control, thereby ensuring compatibility with modern means of control over the troops. In addition, trunks and recoil devices that have developed their resource are repaired or replaced.

Self-propelled howitzer 2C7 "Peony" was built using 203-mm guns 2А44. A crawler chassis equipped with a 46 X-BN X-BUM X-BUM engine is used for its transportation. The chassis provides travel speeds up to 780 km / h. The calculation of "Peony" consists of seven people. His upgraded version of the 50C2M “Malka” is operated by six gunners, but seven more people can be transported on a separate transport vehicle.

The 2C7 ammunition can include conventional and special projectiles, although, according to official data, at present this system uses only conventional ammunition. The principle of separate charging with variable propelling charge is used. Howitzer fire rate reaches 1,5 rounds per minute.

In 1983, the USSR set up a mass production of an upgraded version of the Pion - 2C7M Malka. The chassis of this combat vehicle is equipped with a diesel engine B-84V horsepower 840. In addition, the "Malka" has an improved fire control system and improved means of loading. All this allowed to bring the rate of fire to 2,5 shot per minute. According to the Russian profile press, a new 203-mm projectile with semi-active laser guidance is being developed.

C. Burtles cites some information from articles from the Russian publications "Red Star" and "Army Collection", devoted to the further development and operation of special-power artillery. According to the current plans of the command, a certain number of such systems should be removed from storage, modernized and returned to service. It is reported that the equipment will be transferred to the 45 Artillery Svirskaya Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky brigade of high power and to other similar formations of ground forces.

Usually, Russian large-caliber guns are reduced to batteries of 8-12 units each. OE Watch notes that to control the combat work of such units, the same means are used as in other artillery units with different weapons - for example, the 1B12М “Kharkov” complexes.

Ch. Burtles points out a curious feature of current discussions of Russian guns. A lot of attention is paid to the characteristics and capabilities of such systems, while the reasons for their return to the service are of little interest to the subjects. Nevertheless, the author of OE Watch gives his answer to similar questions. Currently, there is no need for barreled means of delivering tactical nuclear warheads. At the same time, new guided munitions are being built. These factors allow us to introduce a new role of large-caliber guns.

The American edition assumes that the new goal of "Pion" and "Tulip" can be the defeat of well-protected objects in urban areas. The targets for 203-mm and 240-mm projectiles can be structures that cannot be effectively hit using 122 and 152 mm artillery.

Another possible reason for the return of artillery to the service OE Watch considers the fears associated with the production and supply of various weapons, as well as with their stocks in the army warehouses. The tactical Iskander complexes and the new 300-mm multiple rocket launchers surpass the 2C4 and 2C7 products in a number of characteristics, but they are less costly and ammunitionable to them. In the event of a large-scale conflict, it will be easier for the industry to launch large quantities of artillery shells, and not missiles.

In addition, the simultaneous operation of missiles and artillery allows you to create a flexible and economical system for hitting targets. Cheaper shells can be used for massive shelling of area targets, while the missiles should be assigned the task of defeating specific objects.

The article “Russian Heavy Artillery: Leaving Depots and Returning to Service” was accompanied by two large quotations from Russian publications. The first of them was taken from the material “Sharpening the accuracy of hits” by A. Alexandrovich, published in the May issue of the Russian journal Army Collection. This article, above all, told about the course of the artillery drills, but it contained very interesting information about the further development of existing weapons and the introduction of new systems into practice.

The reason for the appearance of the article in the “Army Collection” was the tactical exercises held at the Sergeevsky training ground as part of the camp gathering of artillerymen of the 5-y combined army. A significant amount of quotations in the OE Watch is given under the description of the mortar shot 2C4. It is argued that this system shoots quieter than one would expect, and only a long noise from a vibrating barrel demonstrates the power of a shot. With the help of a separate mechanism 240-mm mine is loaded into the trunk, followed by not the loudest cotton. The projectile can fly to a distance of 20 km, fly over a hill or a high-rise building, etc. Heavy ammunition in the fall is able to penetrate the building Khrushchev from the attic to the basement, and this applies to the "ordinary" high-explosive fragmentation mine.

OE Watch also quotes the senior officer of the missile forces and artillery department of the 5 Army General Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Polshkov, whose statements were published by the Army Collection. He said that this year army officers were trained in research institutes, and will soon be engaged in training of battery commanders. The last to master the operation of high-precision ammunition. In addition, the compound will receive a certain amount of such weapons for practical shooting. Lieutenant Colonel Polshkov noted that areal goals are a thing of the past, and victory depends on what object and how accurately it will be hit in the minimum time.

The citation of the “Army Compendium” in OE Watch ends with information about the Krasnopol guided missile. This complex includes a gun, the projectile itself and a laser target designator. The latter is used by the operator to highlight the selected target. The flying projectile catches the reflected laser beam and independently guides the illuminated object. The purpose of such a projectile can be anything from a car to a building. Firing range - 30 km.

C. Burtles also quoted a large quote from the article “Malka” - an argument of great power ”by Yuri Andreev, published in the newspaper“ Red Star ”on July 16. This material was devoted to the ongoing modernization of high-powered artillery systems, as well as to the supply of updated combat vehicles in parts of the ground forces.

In July, it was reported that the 12 of the newest Malka self-propelled guns with 203-mm guns were transferred to artillery formations of the Central Military District. The cited article referred to the "origin" and the main features of such a technique. In particular, it was pointed out that one of the flaws of the Pion was the lack of accuracy of the fire. In the 2X7M “Malka” project, new communication and control tools were used, which made it possible to improve the basic combat characteristics. Now the data coming from the senior officer of the battery, immediately displayed directly on the screens of the commander and gunner. After receiving the data, they can prepare a weapon for firing.

The artillery division is now controlled by the 1B12М complex, which has modern topo-link systems. With it, you can control the fire of several self-propelled guns in manual and automatic modes.

Also, the “Red Star” wrote that “Malka” has a good modernization potential. Such equipment can be updated using modern technologies and devices. Artillery systems should be developed, first of all, with the help of guided munitions, and now laser guidance systems are on the agenda. The question of the use of so-called. fuse with controlled aerodynamic effect. It is also possible to use cluster shells with self-targeting combat elements. Improving the aerodynamics of a projectile can increase the range by 30%. All this allows us to present the general appearance of the artillery system of the future.


Foreign publications about Russian weapons systems and equipment are of interest, especially when they appear in serious publications published by Pentagon structures. It is easy to see that the publication “Russian Heavy Artillery: Leaving Depots and Returning to Service” of the OE Watch magazine addresses a pressing issue, but it does not contain the usual statements for our time, corresponding to the current position of the American leadership.

It should be noted that, considering the Russian publications on the current state of affairs and prospects for high-powered artillery, Chuck Burts made a couple of mistakes that led to incorrect conclusions. Based on the publications in the Army Collection and the Red Star, it is concluded that 203-mm guided projectiles are designed like the existing Krasnopol 152-mm projectiles. However, if you look closely, both articles do not talk about it.

In the case of the “Army Collection”, the officer’s story about the training of personnel raised the problem of operating the 2 – 19 “Msta-S” self-propelled guns. It was their calculations in the summer period of training that the Krasnopol products should have been given for practical shooting, and that was what Lieutenant Colonel A. Pleshkov spoke about. Thus, one of the foundations for the findings of OE Watch was the incorrect interpretation of the announced information.

As for the article in the "Red Star", it also does not directly talk about the development of guided projectiles for "Pion" / "Malki". It only describes the possible ways of development of such artillery systems, including the creation of laser-guided missiles. However, the "Red Star" does not write that such products are already being created or are being prepared for delivery to the army. It turns out that the second basis for the conclusions of a foreign publication was a lack of understanding of the context.

Nevertheless, despite the errors with the hypothetical development of guided large-caliber projectiles, the new material from FMSO and OE Watch is of great interest. It addresses various aspects of the operation, use and prospects of high-powered artillery, both independently and in connection with other types of equipment. All this shows that the Russian artillery systems attract the attention of foreign specialists and are being thoroughly studied. Accordingly, their further development will have to lead to the emergence of new assessments and, possibly, even to a certain change in the tactics and strategies of foreign armies.

OE Watch, September 2018:

The magazine "Army collection", №5 2018:

The article “Malka” is an argument of great power ”in the“ Red Star ”:

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  1. Conductor
    Conductor 25 September 2018 08: 46
    A good and necessary weapon, I saw in the exercises the consequences of using the Tulip. very impressive . and even the feeling was that they used ammunition with deepening.
    1. Machito
      Machito 26 October 2018 23: 07
      Bogdan Khmelnitsky, Kharkov. The conflict in the Donbass showed that artillery remains the queen of the fields. Especially if she has modern ammunition and guidance systems. Well, the use of shells with nuclear weapons allows you to include these weapons in the overall strategic plan.
  2. rocket757
    rocket757 25 September 2018 08: 54
    God of War!
    They talked about the barrel artillery, that it is sort of obsolete ... but no, it will reign on the battlefields yet ... I don’t know how much, until they come up with something fundamentally new!
  3. san4es
    san4es 25 September 2018 08: 57
    "Malka" has an improved fire control system and advanced means of loading. All this allowed to bring the rate of fire up to 2,5 rounds per minute.
    KVU-NSVD 25 September 2018 10: 25
    The artillery division is now controlled by the 1B12М complex, which has modern topo-link systems. With it, you can control the fire of several self-propelled guns in manual and automatic modes.
    Well, actually this complex is a whole line of complexes for controlling the battery-division of self-propelled artillery. And it’s not called Kharkov, but Machine-C (it seems). The structure of the KShM 1V13 and 1V14 includes the battalion commander and the SOB and KShM-ki 1V15 and 1V16 - the division commander and the NShD, respectively. They differ in the composition of special units and capabilities and are based, it seems, on a motor-league (but I could be wrong, but on the armor for sure)
  5. Yrec
    Yrec 25 September 2018 10: 34
    Recent wars have shown the need for powerful ammunition to destroy protected targets. As a rule, this applies to protected objects in large settlements, so much so that they can destroy a smaller mine. A large-caliber mine with a missile launcher, fired from a self-propelled mortar, is several orders of magnitude cheaper than an air bomb with a missile launcher dropped from an airplane. The economics of war in all its glory. In blitzkrieg, you can also sell expensive missiles, and if things drag on, you have to get by with good old methods. Ours understood this. As the Bolsheviks said: practice is the main criterion of truth.
  6. Reader 2013
    Reader 2013 25 September 2018 12: 07
    Three fighters are praying
  7. d ^ Amir
    d ^ Amir 25 September 2018 12: 57
    "Weapon of retaliation" Divov OI
    And I'm a guy from BBM. I can drown an aircraft carrier if he accidentally swims into the Dnieper. My mine takes off so high that the planes get scared. But I respect trailed artillerymen - I know the brutal conditions in which they work halfway. And I respect rocket men, their work is terrible, God forbid fuel spills. And once I accidentally saw infantry from afar and remembered who really had a death service like that. And I respect the paratroopers - at least for the fact that they jump with a parachute - only let them be more modest. You never know that they were taught to kill people with their bare hands. This is not a reason to lift your nose and bend your fingers towards the Big Power Brigade.
  8. Lara Croft
    Lara Croft 25 September 2018 22: 53
    Newer and more advanced guns, such as the 2S19M MSTA-SM, as well as missile systems like the Iskander, could solve the same problems with sufficient efficiency as artillery of special power.

    Just do not forget that PA is always cheaper OTRK.
    1. strannik1985
      strannik1985 29 September 2018 06: 32
      Not when shooting at long ranges.
  9. hagrid
    hagrid 26 September 2018 02: 36
    Usually Russian large-caliber guns are reduced to BATTERIES of 8-12 units in each ---- yes this is a division
  10. Old26
    Old26 26 September 2018 22: 42
    Interesting article. Without the usual equivocations such as the fact that the Russians have weapons either rusty or vice versa, divine. It is interesting who is the unknown person who, after the end of the Cold War, did not send such artillery for scrapping, but put it in storage. Such people need to erect a monument.
    In addition to modernizing the existing self-propelled artillery, it would probably be worthwhile to pay more attention to towed artillery. Moreover, the main areas should be:
    -increase firing range
    -increase rate of fire
    -Decrease in system weight.
    And most importantly, not to step on the same rake a second time as in the early to mid-50s. Only then, with the submission of one famous politician, all the work on the barrel artillery (both towed and self-propelled) were basically stopped, and now the basis for euphoria can be that we have the most-most ...
    1. strannik1985
      strannik1985 29 September 2018 06: 33
      This is not modernization, but completely new weapons will be. In general, at the beginning of the 2000s the industry offered ASUNO kits, the military did not take it.
    2. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 30 September 2018 13: 56
      To some extent, "reanimation" of artillery of this caliber is a surrender in bomber aviation and precision weapons. Because accurate bombs break through ceilings, knock down multi-storey buildings and kill bunkers much more efficiently than heavy shells. Moreover, without the unpleasant secondary effect of hitting neighboring houses (not military targets).
      1. aws4
        aws4 8 November 2018 17: 54
        exactly!!! you're right!!!
  11. Comrade Kim
    Comrade Kim 27 September 2018 00: 35
    Quote: rocket757
    God of War!
    They talked about the barrel artillery, that it is sort of obsolete ... but no, it will reign on the battlefields yet ... I don’t know how much, until they come up with something fundamentally new!

    And about tanks in one English publication in the 90s, the article was an outdated type of troops, and all that.
    Stop saying petty British taxes on iron dinosaurs to spend.
    This, they had such thoughts when tagged ghoul sold Our Homeland, and railway platforms with tank divisions swept east from the Warsaw Pact countries.
  12. Warrior Spirit
    Warrior Spirit 29 September 2018 02: 13
    Yeah ... quiet horror. While others saturate the army with missiles that fall into the enemy’s eye for 30 km, we use monsters that are ready to nail hundreds of shells, hoping to get into some kind of bunker.
    A modern aircraft can deliver a guided aerial bomb (and concrete-piercing one too) for a thousand kilometers per hour and will hit 3 meters or less from a KVO. And the explosives in this bomb will be ORDERED MORE.
    And this fool will crawl, breaking and breaking bridges for a month to this point. If it crawls. And behind her will crawl trucks with shells, a column of tanks, a workshop and a wagon with a lousy and drunken crew. Having shot everything, they suddenly find out that "they didn’t hit it! Take them looking for shells and grubs !!!"
    Where, well, where in the 21st century are such monsters?
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 30 September 2018 13: 58
      About the same recourse - my post is higher. These "oldies" are not from a good life.
    2. aws4
      aws4 8 November 2018 18: 07
      although you have exaggerated, but hell is right ... on the other hand, do not cut large-caliber self-propelled artillery into metal .. plus look at how artillery is conservative ... and why do you think that everything will be exactly as you described about the sunken and drunk calculation in the result flowing into milk?)))) do not distort; we all understand that in certain conflicts these machines will be very efficient, more rational and cheaper to use ..