|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Modernization of the vehicle|
In late 1950s - early 1960s, a number of Western countries (primarily USA), which military construction less suffered from political voluntarism, created the new generation of 105-, 155- and 203-mm self-propelled (SP) field guns combining increased range of fire, high tactical and fire agility and enhanced protection.
In particular, the 105- and 155-mm M108 and M109 division SP howitzers, fielded in the US army in 1961, featured:
- dedicated lightened track chassis;
- rotatory, closed and fully armoured turret;
- barrel with a powerful muzzle brake and efficient ejection system;
- fuel-efficient diesel powerplant with quite high specific power and large cruising range.
Due to widely used aluminum alloys, new US artillery systems remained quite light (20.8 and 23.8t, respectively), which allowed carrying them by C-124 Globemaster II, C-133 Cargomaster or C-141 Starlifter strategic and theater military transport aircraft (and even the C-130 Hercules tactical aircraft in the case with the M108). As compared to US field guns of the previous generation, their range of fire essentially increased up to 13.7 and 18.2km, respectively.
On the other hand, the series production of such Russian post-war SP artillery systems as the SU-152G, SU-150P, SU-152, etc. developed in late 1940s-first half of the 1950s had not been launched. Despite some conceptual similarity to Western analogues (more powerful guns and lighter chassis when compared to tanks as well as the employment of light alloys), the Soviet post-war test SP artillery systems were still considered means of supporting infantry and tanks. They were chiefly intended for direct fire.
This was the principal difference between Soviet and NATO new-generation SP guns, with the latter designed for indirect fire, which was a conventional task for howitzers.
Luckily, the Russian barrel artillery survived during Khrushchev's rule. And in the early 1960s, the SU started elaborating its new field artillery development concept whose primary task was to design promising SP guns able to beat US analogues. At the same time, it was planned to work on the cheaper towed version of each SP artillery system.
A new generation of talented artillery engineers emerged at that time, namely Y. Kalachnikov, V. Golubev, A. Novozhilov, Y. Tomashev, A. Shipunov, A. Shabanov, and other.
Local wars of the 1960s proved the USSR had to create up-to-date SP artillery systems as soon as possible. For instance, the so-called 'war of attrition', positional warfare along the Suez Canal and the frontline between Egypt and Israel in 1967-1970, showed that towed guns, particularly 130- and 180-mm ones, mainly fulfilling counterbat-tery missions, were rather heavy to maneuver on modern battlefield. In addition, their crews and those of 152-mm howitzers could not maintain the needed rate of fire, while the Israeli artillery with more SP guns showed better performance.
Works on such Soviet 2nd postwar generation SP guns as the 122-mm 2S1 Gvozdika and 2S2 Fialka, as well as the 152-mm 2S3 Akatsiya howitzer, commenced in 1967 lagging behind the USA considerably. The Main Rocket-Artillery Department led in 1965-1983 by Artillery Marshal P. Kuleshov coordinated the work of design teams headed by A. Belousov, F. Petrov, G. Efimov, Y. Kalachnikov, Y. Tomashev.
Owing to great efforts of designers, consumers and production plants, the Gvozdika SP gun was fielded as early as 1971 and the Akatsiya - the year later, while works on the Fialka -intended for airborne troops -stopped after its prototypes had been made. The newer Soviet SP artillery systems had the similar performance as the US M108 and M109 versions and even slightly surpassed them.
The Gvozdika and the Akatsiya were upgraded many times. They were (and still are) employed in many local conflicts. Particularly, in 1991, the Iraqi forces successfully used them during warfare in Kuwait, and they proved as effective as their more advanced analogues - the US M109A2 and French GCT howitzers.
In the late 1970s-early 1980s, the Soviet Army required newer artillery systems meeting current challenges. The increased power of front-line and army aviation that was equipped with the first samples of smart weapons, threat of new-generation tactical nuclear weapons, particularly neutron weapons, and successful development of target-acquisition and fire-control systems required enhancing field artillery's flexibility, endurance and deployment capability as well as increasing its fire range and rate of fire.
So, in the 1980s, the Soviet artillery entered the next development stage featuring new methods to increase the power of artillery systems along with common ones (rate and range of fire and agility), namely fire control automation, raising the endurance of single guns as well as integrating fire units with land-based and airborne control means. Traditional guns were gradually replaced by smart artillery systems combining target-acquisition and fire-control means as well as the artillery component itself.
At the same time, the Army started the reduction of towed and self-propelled systems. It was decided to use the joint caliber of 152mm instead of 76,85,100,122,130 and 152mm and unify the types of munitions used by howitzers, gun-howitzers and guns at the regiment, division and army levels. The customer required that new systems should feature increased fire range and rate of fire. Advanced equipment was designed for them, to be compatible with automated fire units.
Guided and corrected munitions, considered exotic for artillery systems of the previous generation, were to be fielded.
The 2S19 MSTA-S SP howitzer designed by the Uraltransmash production enterprise under supervision of chief designer Y. Tomashov was one of the first Soviet artillery systems meeting new requirements. Notably, this team had previously created such outstanding systems as the 152-mm 2S3 Akatsiya SP howitzer; the 240-mm 2S4 Tyulpan heavy mortar, which was the first Russian artillery system armed with laser-guided smart munitions; and the 152-mm 2S5 Giatsint-S SP gun with its range of fire exceeding 30km.
The Yekaterinburg-based Uraltransmash state enterprise is one of the oldest ones in the field. It dates back to 1817 when a gold mining plant, which later became one of the most powerful Russian defence enterprises designing and manufacturing artillery systems and other high-tech equipment, namely boring rigs, oil pumps, etc., was constructed on the bank of the Melkovka River.
During the Great Patriotic War, it produced assemblies for T-34 tanks as well as Su-85, Su-100 and Su-122 SP guns. In 1962, Uraltransmash got a major design team from Uralmash and, thus, a new era in its history started. During the 1970s, Uraltransmash created a wide range of 2nd postwar generation SP artillery systems, particularly the 152-mm 2S3 Akatsiya SP howitzer, 240-mm 2S4 Vasilyok SP mortar and 152-mm 2S5 Giatsint SP gun.
1976 saw the first R&D works on a new-generation SP howitzer, later designated 2S19. Its direct development started in the early 1980s; it was led by chief designer Tomashov. The 152-mm gun employed in the SP artillery system was created by the Titan design house (or the Barrikady OKB-2) led by chief designer G. Sergeev.
In 1989, the newer artillery system was fielded. Its series production began in 1990. Both Russian and foreign experts say the MSTA-S is one of the world's best SP artillery systems in its class.
The artillery part of the 2S19 SP howitzer is unified with the 152-mm 2A65 MSTA-B towed gun, which cheapens the production and operation of massed artillery systems and makes it easier to supply them with munitions.
The MSTA-S is manufactured at Uraltransmash.
The MSTA-S SP howitzer is designed for divisional troops and can fire both traditional and corrected munitions. It is intended to engage tactical nuclear means, artillery and mortar batteries, tanks and other armoured vehicles.
It protects the crew and equipment from armour-piercing bullets and shell fragments.
Its crew numbers five men - commander, gunner, driver and two charge men. In case of firing from ground it needs two more people, to load rounds and charges to the loading bed.
The 152-mm 2A64 gun featuring a 47-caliber long barrel, a semi-automatic wedge breech block and an independent loading device are placed in a fully-armoured rotating turret.
The gun has a 360-degree traverse and its elevation is from -4 to +68 degrees. The 2E46 electric drives power these operations.
The 2S19 can fire standard HE-FRAG projectiles at a range of 24,700m, HE-FRAG ones with base gas bleed - at 28,900m, and the Krasnopol guided projectile - at 20,000-22,000m.
The gun can deliver both direct and indirect fire and case pointing, without preparing position for fire and with ventilation sets switched on (both in standard regime and the one for contaminated zones). It has a sight system for indirect fire (1P22) which provides automatic leveling, vertical sighting and vertical repositioning after each shot. The pointer has only to keep the sight on the needed point via a driver control panel. The elevation angle during direct fire can achieve up to 50?, including firing in mountains. The commander, having at his disposal control equipment for sighting and shooting, makes it impossible to make a wrong operation. Charging and sighting processes are manually backed up; so if power is not supplied, the fire is made without any problem. The 2S19 has got equipment for sighting control. All types of standard Russian 152-mm rounds including smart ones can be used. The 50 shells are located in the combat compartment. 46 of them are situated in the turret (in two automated charges) - this fact helps to fire from whatever howitzer's position. The system provides automatic gun loading for projectiles and semi-automatic loading for shells, which allows firing at a rate of 8rpm at whatever sighting angle: this result exceeds those of nearly all NATO SP howitzers (the US M109A2 provides 4rpm, and the newer M109A6 - 6rpm). The MSTA-S's actual performance is, however, even higher. In 1993, during the Abu-Dhabi international arms show, the Russian SP gun firmly took the first place with a rate of aimed fire of 9-1 Orpm.
In one minute a battery consisting of eight 2S19s hits a target with shells weighing 3t, and leaves its position before eventual countermeasures are taken. At maximum ranges about 70 shells are in flight at the moment when the first one is hitting the target.
The MSTA-S is equipped with an automatic ground loading system.
The 2S19's first-hour limit rate of fire is 100 rounds, and every following hour - 60 rounds.
In the 1980s, such powerful high-explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) projectiles as the ZOF45 with a max range of fire from the 2S19 of 24,700m, ZOF64 - 24,700m and ZOF61 -29,000m were developed in NIMI for the MSTA-S and other artillery new generation systems. The MSTA-S can fire both long-range (up to 40km) rocket-assisted projectiles and Bazalt-designed Motiv self-guided projectiles.
The 2S19's ammunition load includes:
- Krasnopol (as part of the ZOF39 round) guided projectiles;
- Centimeter corrected projectiles;
- ZOF45 and ZOF64 HE-FRAG projectiles with a muzzle velocity of 810m/sec;
- ZOF61 base gas bleed projectiles;
- all standard projectiles for D-20 and2S3 152mm guns.
Special attention should be paid to Krasnopol and Centimeter guided and corrected projectiles. The Krasnopol is designed to kill tanks, IFVs, APCs, guns and other targets both stationary and moving at a speed of up to 36km/h by the first shot. The Krasnopol can also destroy bridges, dug-outs (and other field fortifications), ferries and pontoon ferries, surface targets, etc.
The 50.8-kg HE-FRAG projectile is employed jointly with the 1D20 (1D22) laser designator/rangefinder illuminating tank-type targets at ranges of up to 7km and boat-type ones - up to 20km. It consists of two sections - the ammunition one including the combat unit, booster and stabilization assembly and control section comprising the autopilot unit, passive laser seeker and front unit. The both blocks are coupled by a quick-screwed junction. Extended air rudders provide in-flight control.
The newer, lighter (45 kg) and smaller Krasnopol M1 projectile represents a single hull whose dimensions are similar to those of standard 152-mm unguided projectiles, due to the semi-active laser seeker, directional gyro, and a smaller control unit. In addition, the base gas generator that replaced the Krasnopol's booster allowed increasing the Krasnopol's range of fire up to 25km.
The newer projectile flies to the target via a lower trajectory, which bates requirements for minimal limit height: the period favourable for the Krasnopol-M1's employment
increased by 10-30% depending on the theater when compared to the Krasnopol. The hit probability also slightly increased, from 0.7-0.8 to 0.8-0.9.
The simpler and cheaper Centimeter corrected projectile also has a semi-active laser seeker. It lacks expensive gyros and other smart devices. To reduce the time for target processing and thus raise its jamming protection, the Centimeter has a synchronization system that transmits the 'fire' command to switch on the timer installed in the 1D20 or 1D22 laser designator/rangefinder. After a certain period of time (the flight time minus 1-3 sec), the laser designator/rangefinder automatically switches to the radiation mode. By this time, the flight timing device triggered by longitudinal loads sets off the protective ballistic cap covering the optic seeker. Then the pho-todetector's optical channel opens to correct the trajectory.
Mishit is automatically prevented at the terminal phase of the trajectory (20-600m) by means of a unique high-energy kicker, which takes less than 1 sec in case of direct fire and less than 3 sec in case of indirect fire.
The Centimeter can engage targets within the range of 0.8-15km with the laser acquisition range varying from 0.2 to 5km. The 152-mm projectile weighs 49.5kg and not more than 1 -3 rounds are required to hit one target depending on its type. It should be mentioned that foreign armed forces have just one type of artillery round - the US 155-mm Copperhead, for the first time used in 1991 in the Gulf War. It is worse than the Krasnopol by performance and is much more expensive that its Russian analogue.
The employment of autonomous homing devices for massed artillery rounds is prevented by their out-of-the-limit cost as well as relatively narrow range of targets engaged by such projectiles as they can be only high-contrast ones to be easily identified among natural and man-made noise.
At the same time, rounds with semi-active laser seekers are versatile and relatively cheap and can engage almost any laser-designated targets including well-camouflaged ones. Their performance will even more increase if smarter, smaller, .more jam-resistant and powerful laser designators combined with high-efficiency night vision devices are used, as well as due to the employment of UAVs with laser desig-nators/rangefinders.
Artillery rounds corrected via the GLONASS or NAVSTAR satellite navigation systems are also very promising. Even they, however, will not fully replace rounds with semi-active laser homing and will probably be an addition to them.
The 2S19 can fire Motiv projectiles with self-homing munitions, too. The Motiv submunition designed by the Basalt enterprise was fielded 10 years ago. It is unified for various combat arms and is also used in MLRSs and disposable cluster bombs. The Motiv well surpasses its US analogue by the aggregate efficiency index. It has higher jamming resistance and armor penetration (up to 100m, which largely exceeds the horizontal armour resistance of the most advanced foreign tanks, namely the M1A2 Abrams, Leclerc, Leopard 2, etc.
Works on the Motiv are going on to enhance its jamming resistance, improve homing operations and warhead efficiency.
Its minor armament is represented by an anti-aircraft mount with the 12.7-mm NSVT Kord machine gun, remotely controlled by the commander. The machine gun's aimed fire range can reach 2km, its rate of fire equals 700-800rpm, and the ammunition load is 300 rounds.
The smoke system is also available to camouflage the mount on the battlefield. It includes thermal smoke equipment and the Tucha system comprising six 81-mm 902V mortars firing smoke or aerosol grenades.
The SP mount is equipped with an automated initial firing data transmission system using wire or radio channels.
The MSTA-S is based on a dedicated tracked chassis largely unified with the chassis of the main Russian tanks (the T-72 and T-90), which is equipped with a torsion-bar suspension. 580-mm tracks with hinges of steel and rubber are employed. The mount is powered by the 12-cylinder V-shaped four-stroke multi-fuel liquid-cooled 780-hp V84A Diesel engine or more powerful 840-hp V-84-1 Diesel, both unified with Diesels powering T-72-family tanks. Also, the MSTA-S has the 16-kW AP18D auxiliary gas turbine power unit allowing firing when the main engine does not work.
The fuel tanks capacity is 250I, which provides for a cruising range of 500km, just as that of the main Russian tanks and IFVs.
The SP howitzer features the self-entrenching system that can dig out a trench to additionally protect the vehicle.
The howitzer has the underwater moving kit allowing it to cross water obstacles with a depth of down to 5m and width of up to 1,000m.
The MSTA-S has the armor protection against fragments, small-caliber artillery projectiles, bullets and antitank mines. Complex NBC protection is also provided.
The thermal smoke system producing a thick smokescreen allows the MSTA-S firing on open terrain, which raises its performance considerably.
The SP mount features a high-efficient air conditioning system and a filtration unit allowing firing on contaminated terrain.
It also possesses a communication system including the internal telephone system provided by the 1V116 intercom device allowing up to 7 subscribers, external wire and radio communications provided by the R-173 radio station and 1V116 transmitter.
The battalion's combat readiness time is 6-8 minutes from march and 2-3 minutes from the prepared emplacement.
In the Russian army the 2S19s are organized into 8-gun batteries. The battery commander's vehicle and the battery senior officer's vehicle "Machina-M" control the fire.
Crews maintain their combat skills at the 2x51 simulator allowing rapidly and efficiently training them without spending the howitzer's motor capacity and ammunition. The simulator includes the simulation system, instructor's console, power supply with connectors and storages for projectiles and shells. The simulator's working places are fully similar to those in the real 2S19.
The newer artillery system's first battle test that was successful on the whole took place during the 1st Chechen War in 1995. And on May 9 that very year, the column of these howitzers participated in the parade devoted to the 50th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The MSTA-S was also employed in the counter-terror operation in Caucasus, which began in 1999. Notably, the Russian artillery is used in Chechnya in almost extreme weather and climatic conditions that are much more severe that those in which Western artillery systems were used during the Desert Storm in 1991. Nevertheless, artillery units armed with MSTA-S successfully fulfilled all their missions, which proves that the system is reliable.
By the early 1990s, the mainstreams of SP artillery development had been formed. At present, one of its main objectives is to implement advanced technical solutions, namely full automation of loading, homing, pointing backup and other processes, equipping SP mounts with computers, laser rangefinders, TV and data communication systems as well as high-efficient night vision devices. Works are underway to increase the endurance by means of independent survey control among other ways achieved by using both Russian (GLONASS) and US (GPS) satellite systems.
New construction materials and technologies make upgraded and promising SP mounts more endurable and resistant.
The automated fire control system and on-board surveying and navigation system will provide artillery systems with full tactical independence on the battlefield allowing effective anti-fire maneuvers and on-station dispersal.
By a number of critical characteristics (ballistics, loading automation, agility, protection, etc.), the MSTA-S still outmatches the best foreign examples, particularly the US 155-mm M109A6 PALADIN last-generation SP mount, fielded in 1991.
The MSTA-S features an unmatched reliability and survivability, proved in real combat conditions during the last Chechen war.
However, time and technical progress press. The Russian system has begun to lag behind newer foreign developments in a number of key characteristics. For example, the aforementioned US M109A6 SP howitzer is equipped with an automated Artillery Fire Control System (AFCS) including the ballistic computer and Modular Azimuth Positioning System (MAPS) with ring laser gyros. It takes the system 2.5-3 minutes to prepare for fire right after marching and less than one minute when the firing position is ready. The AFCS has a joint electric prognostic/diagnostic interface unit continuously monitoring the main howitzer's subsystems. A new turret featuring widely-employed kevlar fiber allows keeping weight within the required limits. The SP mount can fire usual projectiles at a range of up to 22.5km and rocket-assisted projectiles - up to 30km. Its carried ammunition load is 39 rounds and the maximum rate of fire -6rpm.
This all provides the M109A6 with high tactical autonomy on the battlefield and allows efficient anti-fire maneuvering and emplacement dispersion. US experts say the aggregate efficiency of the M109A6 SP mount increased 3.5-4.0 times as compared totheM109C2.
In 2006, the American army had about 1,500 M109A2, A3 and A5 mounts and some 950 advanced M109A6 PALADIN self-propelled artillery mounts partially reequipped from the earlier one.s. The Pentagon plans to start deliveries of the new-generation 155-mm CRUSADER SP mounts in 2008. It is planned to buy 480 CRUSADERs and the same number of armored robotized transporter loaders. According to US Defense Ministry requirements, the heavy 42t CRUSADER SP artillery mount must have a rotating turret and a gun with a 52 caliber-long barrel. It must fire projectiles with base gas generators at ranges of up to 45km and the maximum rate of fire should be 12-15rpm. However, chiefly due to the lack of funding, the CRUSADER project was later abandoned.
Relating to this failed programme, one can hardly ignore that CRUSADER'S evolution brings it closer to the MSTA-S in a number of characteristics.
For example, at early stages, it was planned to equip the promising howitzer with a stationary armored cabin and a gun launching projectiles with liquid propellants or thermal-electric acceleration. But later, the promising US howitzer became more like the MSTA-S due to the rotating turret, usual gun with separate loading and 52-caliber barrel. Weights of the howitzers flattened out, too. Originally, the CRUSADER should have weighed 55t, but by 2001 this number had been reduced down to 42t (the 2S19's weight). As we can see, the USA can adopt foreign experience, too.
To meet modern requirements, the 2S19 is being equipped with an automatic system of homing and firing (ASUNO) which enables fast deployment after marching; coordinate detection; target designation data receipt from the 1V13-3 fire control post and independent firing data calculation; gun pointing and elevation and traversing back-up; automatic pointing and pointing back-up; delivering fire at a maximum rate of aimed fire round-the-clock under any weather conditions; firing from an unprepared position; quick change of emplacement (antifire maneuver); raising the survivability by reducing the emplacement stay period and maneuvering.
he ASUNO equipment includes:
- self-orienting gyro, course and incline detection system, determining and storing azimuths, measuring the gun inclination angles and transmitting information on the measured parameter to the on-board computer;
- computer with built-in modem, receiving, processing and storing information, calculating current coordinates and firing data, as well as sending messages to the command vehicle;
- display, which is the main device of the gun commander and indicators for the gunner and charger;
- mechanical speedometer;
- digital elevation sensor.
The firing data calculation takes not more than 5 minutes.
Special GLONASS- and GPS-friendly equipment is being prepared for mounting as well.
An MSTA-S upgraded version (155mm) was designed - it got the 2S19M1-155 designation. At "Ural Expo Arms 2002" exhibition in Nizhni Tagil an operational 2S19M1-155 (with a 155mm howitzer, corresponding to NATO-adopted 1989-year standard) was demonstrated. The howitzer itself was designed by Motovilikhinskie Zavody - its is 52-caliber long, its chamber's volume is 23I. The system uses NIMI-designed 155mm explosive/fragmentation shells; firing range: 33.8km. It also can fire foreign-made shells, such as M107, L15A1, M795, DM652, ERFB and other, for instance with MTLS-type charge. Krasnopol-Ms and Centimeter M1s can be fired as well.
The system transports 45 shells; 31 of them in automated charger. New processors and mechanisms control the charging. The 2S19M1-155 has got an autonomous feeder (AP-18DM) with air conditioner. The ASUNO-155, which appeared recently, provides the so-called "non-sight shooting", and the commander uses digital terrain maps. Maximum firing speed: 6-8rpm.
It worth mentioning that Uraltransmash upgraded its 2S3M to the NATO caliber, which was adopted in the distant 1962. The 2S3M gun was demonstrated in Nizhni Tagil in 2001. The 28t mount can fire at a range of up to 30km at a rate of 3.5rpm.
The mainstream of the Russian field artillery development allows for the 152mm caliber, which is adopted as a joint one for self-propelled, towed and, in prospect, naval artillery. Under the artillery armament upgrading programme, Uraltransmash works on the system's further and deeper modernization. Its engineers focus their main efforts both on improving the gun itself and integrating the PS mount into a single computerized system detecting targets and enemy artillery positions, controlling fire and providing rapid counter-fire maneuvers.
According to the Russian mass media, the promising SP mount got a high-precision satellite navigation system interfaced with a digital map system, on-board computer linked with other guns, batteries and superior command posts via an automated data communication line, newer crew information management environment including, as in advanced combat aircraft, multifunctional colour displays showing text and graphic information, particularly digital maps with overlaid tactical situation. As a result, the new-generation SP artillery mount will become a full-fledged (and one of the most important) actors on the digital battlefield fighting jointly with army missile systems, UAVs of various purposes, combat and reconnaissance helicopters, light strike fighters and multifunctional fifth-generation aviation systems.
By the way, in addition to software solutions, hardware will also be upgraded to increase the firing rate, accuracy and enhance system operational performance. Steps are made to reduce the mount's radar, IR, optical and acoustic signature. In particular, applied aerodynamics helps significantly reduce the dust plume raised by the moving vehicle, which prevents devices from pollution and raises on-the-move concealment.
The combination of advanced (including aerospace) technologies and traditional advantages of Russian artillery systems - excellent ballistics, high reliability, combat survivability and operational versatility - allows hoping that the upgraded 152mm MSTA-S SP artillery mount will remain one of the world's best systems of its class of weapons for many years and even decades.