|PJSC Plant No.9
|Weapons & Weapon Systems
Methods of combat employment and maintenance are analagous to those of the 122-mm D-30A (2A18M) howitzer.
Early in 1993, the RFAS released outline information of a new lightweight 152 mm towed howitzer designated the 2A61.
This was developed by the famous F F Petrov artillery design bureau at Artillery Plant No.9, Yekaterinburg, which has designed many previous artillery weapons, including the 122 mm D-30 towed howitzer.
It has been confirmed that this passed all of its official tests in 1991 but was never placed in production for the Russian Army. It is still being marketed but as of early 2008 no production orders are known to have been placed.
The 152 mm 2A61 light towed howitzer is based on the modified carriage of the late production 122 mm D-30A (2A18M) howitzer, which has been modified to accept a larger calibre 152 mm ordnance. The latter is fitted with a large distinctive double 'T' muzzle brake with the towing eye located below.
A semi-automatic projectile rammer is provided with the manual charge loading. A rate-of-fire of 6 to 8 rounds a minute is claimed with the D-30 carriage allowing traverse through a full 360 degrees.
When deployed in the firing position, the two pneumatic road wheels are raised clear of the ground and the three trails are staked to the ground to provide a more stable firing platform. The weapon can be quickly traversed through a full 360° to be laid onto a new target.
When in the travelling position, the ordnance is over the closed trails. A small shield is fitted to provide some protection to the gun crew.
It is possible that this weapon was developed as a replacement for the 122 mm D-30 used by the RFAS air assault divisions. It is expected that if and when placed in production, the 152 mm 2A61 will utilise existing D-30 carriages rather than brand new carriages.
This is a further development of the 152 mm 2A61 howitzer but fitted with a 155 mm/30 calibre barrel that fires standard NATO ammunition. In addition the recoil system has been improved and existing carriage trunnions have been strengthened.
The system weighs 4,350 kg with elevation from -5 to + 70 degrees and traverse through a full 360 degrees. The breech mechanism is of the sliding wedge type with the projectile being loaded using a semi-automatic rammer and the charge being loaded manually.
Maximum range using a NATO standard 155 mm M107 high-explosive projectile is being quoted as 15,000 m with a maximum rate-of-fire of between six and eight rounds per minute.