Modern versions of self-propelled guns received protection, which allows you to protect the calculation and the main components of the unit from fragments of shells, mines, as well as from all types of small weapons. Today, this ACS is actively exported to countries in Asia and Africa. For the first time, the NORA B-52 self-propelled howitzer was presented at the Partner-2009 armament exhibition held in Belgrade. In October, a contract was signed between Serbia and Bangladesh on 2011, which involved the supply of XUUMPT 18 NORA B-52 self-propelled guns (3 6 SAU batteries) to the land forces of that country. All self-propelled guns supplied by Bangladesh were distinguished by the presence of the Sigma-30 system installed on them from the French company Sagem for the autonomous determination of their own position in the field and target designation. In addition to Bangladesh, SAU NORA B-52 is in service with the forces of Myanmar (36 units) and Kenya, which ordered 30 of such self-propelled artillery installations. The Serbian army is armed with at least 18 ACS of this type.
According to military experts, in Yugoslavia in the middle of the 80 of the last century there was a serious shift in the development of various artillery guns, and the process of creating new models of both transported and self-propelled artillery systems was underway. At the same time, the artillery of the country at that time was based on the 152-mm gun-howitzer М84, codenamed NORA. When the Yugoslav engineers began the process of upgrading the Soviet D-20 howitzer, they were faced with the task of increasing the firing range of the artillery system from 17 140 meters to 24 000 meters. However, during the work on the project, the requirements of the technical specification were even exceeded, the firing range in 28 500 meters was taken. At the same time, the military offered several options for the NORA gun with a barrel length from 39 to 46 calibers.
After the collapse of Yugoslavia, the release of a variety of howitzers did not stop, as both pro-Yugoslav and pro-Serbian forces and Bosnians, Croats and Slovenes who fought for their independence were interested in using such artillery pieces. In the 1990-s in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, active development was carried out aimed at improving self-propelled guns (swivel holder, newest recoil system, etc.), and at the end of the century the first copies of self-propelled gun data on a wheeled platform began to be exported. The most modern versions of the now Serbian howitzers are NORA B-52K-I index.
The first sample of this fairly distinctive ACS was assembled in the 2003 year, it was equipped with an 155-mm cannon, which was mounted on the chassis of the Yugoslav cross-country vehicle FAP 2882, which has the wheel formula 8х8. The next serial version of the ACS had a number of improvements and was already based on the chassis of the Russian KAMAZ 63501, with the same wheel formula 8х8. At the same time, the high-throughput chassis was equipped with a traditional semi-elliptical spring suspension. It was provided for the installation of power steering, as well as a centralized tire inflation system, which allowed the driver of self-propelled artillery mounts to independently regulate the tire pressure of the vehicle, depending on the type of terrain. Additionally, the chassis was reinforced with a steel frame that was welded to the rear of the control cabin. On the steel frame mounted weapons system and related equipment.
It is easy to see that the Serbian designers turned to the NATO standard in 155-mm. The 155-mm howitzer cannon is mounted on a turntable located at the rear of the chassis and in the stowed position of the installation is fixed in the direction of its movement. The gunner can release the gun barrel by pressing the corresponding button, after which the gun is lifted up using the manual manipulator. The gun barrel is equipped with a muzzle brake, while the thermocasing or the device for the removal of gases were initially absent. Rotate in the horizontal plane or change the angle of elevation by the hydraulic system, the angle of rotation of the tool in the azimuthal plane left and right equals 30 degrees, and the range of regulation of the angle of elevation of the tool from -5 to + 65 degrees.
In the deployed combat position, the self-propelled gun is most often turned back and stabilized with the help of four electro-hydraulic telescopic stabilizers. In emergency situations, the gun is able to fire and in the direction of the car. According to the Yugoimport manufacturer, putting the artillery system into a combat position will require approximately 60 seconds from the calculation, and it takes exactly the same time to change positions when switching to a traveling position. The maximum rate of fire of an artillery unit is 6-12 rounds per minute, depending on the version. In this case, the first three shots are made in the first 20 seconds. High rate of fire is achieved through the use of automatic loader. The mounted ammunition of the installation consists of 36 shells of various types.
The structure of SAU NORA B-52 included a command and control system of artillery fire (AFCCS). Thanks to this system, continuous communication with officers of advanced observation and various target acquisition systems was ensured. Among the additional systems with which this combat vehicle was equipped, one can distinguish a laser range finder and an electronic protractor, as well as GPS devices and a communication system that is able to provide information to the command post of the battery. That, in turn, allows you to display information about the target on the display units of the self-propelled unit, which are mounted in the commander’s cabin, where there is also a VHF radio station and an integrated GPS receiver with an integrated Internet modem for data transmission.
The high efficiency of the wheel-mounted ACS NORA B-52 was achieved due to the following practical characteristics:
- The main tool of the ACS is an 155-mm howitzer gun with a barrel length 52 caliber, this gun has a powder chamber with a volume of 25 liters and a double muzzle brake. Powder chamber was created with the principle of self-equipment, it is combined with a rotating carrier cap. It is possible to use modular charges with this instrument in accordance with the military requirements of Western European countries.
- The maximum firing range of the ACS is 41 km, which is achieved through the use of active-reactive ammunition.
- The maximum speed of the ACS on the highway is 80-100 km / h, the maximum speed on the road is 15-40 km / h, depending on the state of the terrain. In this case, the ACS is able to overcome small obstacles and water obstacles.
- at a speed of 80 km / h, the power reserve of the ACS is 800 km.
- The achieved high tactical mobility indices allow you to quickly take up and change firing positions.
- the weight of the installation - up to 28,4 tons - allows transporting it by rail and sea transport, as well as with the help of Il-76 military transport aircraft.
- the hydraulic system installed on the ACS to reduce recoil includes quadrangular hydraulic mounts with built-in shock absorbers and can be operated from the control panel located onboard the installation. The transfer from the traveling to the combat position takes less than 60 seconds, the manufacturer's website reports.
- The implemented automatic charging system allows you to increase the rate of fire, reduces the physical load on the calculation of the SAU, the rate of fire is no less than 6-12 rounds per minute, the unit’s ammunition consists of 36 rounds.
- the fire control system is developed on the basis of modern information technologies and software specially created for it. The use of this system makes it possible to constantly keep in touch with other units, exchange available information and reduce the time for performing the assigned combat missions to a minimum.
- the lifting angle of the implement is from −5 to + 65 degrees with a maximum lifting speed - 20 mm / s, horizontally the angle of rotation is 60 degrees at a turning speed - 100 mm / s. The movement of the instrument in different planes is ensured by the use of an electro-hydraulic system.
- calculation or crew of this SAU consists of 3-5 people.
High tactical and technical characteristics of this ACS allow using it in small quantities to significantly increase the firepower of artillery with a relatively low production cost. Specialists identify several major advantages of this self-propelled artillery installation:
- a high level of mobility and the ability to independently move from one edge of the battlefield to another;
- the possibility of continuous communication and exchange of information on detected targets, the state of equipment and weapons, as well as receiving new information from their own and allied units;
- high initial velocity of the projectile;
- high rate of fire and fire density;
- fast reloading howitzers.
Not long ago, this self-propelled artillery installation from the company Yugoimport was once again modernized. In the first versions, the Yugoslav engineers implemented a highly mobile, highly passable 8x8 chassis, but without proper armor protection. This is currently fixed. The crew of the ACS is placed in a protected cabin with a bonded layout, behind which a protected tower with weapons is mounted. The artillery system, as a rule, fires with the gun turned back and the stabilizers open to the ground. Thanks to the installation of the reservation, the Serbian ACS was able to stand on a par with other wheeled self-propelled units. We are talking about modern competitors Serbian SAU - G6 from South Africa or "Dana" from the Czech Republic. Most likely, potential self-propelled customers paid attention of developers to a shortage with the reservation and the situation was corrected. Version NORA B-52K-I already has a full armor. In addition, the developers managed to increase the rate of fire and accuracy. According to representatives of the company “Yugoimport”, the company intends to increase its share in the markets of the Middle East countries precisely due to the ACS NORA B-52K-I.
The new generation of SAU NORA B-52 outwardly differs noticeably from the predecessor machines precisely due to the appearance of a full reservation of all the main components of the transport platform, due to which the appearance of the SAU has changed. The use of full-fledged body armor increases the survivability of the gun and crew when exposed to fragments from nearby rockets and shells. In addition, the reservation of the ACS provides protection against the effects of any small arms, which increased the protection against possible ambushes, and the engineers were able to provide a certain level of resistance of the vital parts of the ACS to anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, as well as improvised explosive devices. Installation of armor increased the weight of the self-propelled unit to 34 tons.
Also, as an option for installation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine can be installed - an auxiliary power unit, which is designed to supply all subsystems of the artillery system - the automatic loader mechanism of ammunition, the guidance system in the vertical and horizontal planes, the trigger mechanism, etc. The use of the APU is able to increase the autonomy of the system.
It is worth noting that a mandatory attribute of almost all modern wheeled self-propelled guns - and the Serbian machine was no exception - is the presence of defensive machine guns. Installation of 7,62-mm and large-caliber 12,7-mm machine guns is possible. Naturally, the real combat value of even a large-caliber machine gun on a wheeled SAU, which can be used for direct fire only in exceptional cases, is very relative. However, the presence of machine gun weapons gives a chance to fight off the saboteurs detachments. Still, the six NORA B-12,7K52 1-mm machine guns are tangible firepower that can ward off uninvited guests from their positions.
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