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Recently, several military delegations from the Middle East were able to inspect the 155 mm Msta-S self-propelled howitzer (SPHWZ). The demonstration, including a live shot, was conducted by Rosoboronexport, the Russian state defence exporter, at the Staratel test site near the Ural city of Nizhniy Tagil.

Photo: Rosoboronexport

The artillery system, which is based on the NATO standard, is the latest modification of the well-known 2S19 SPHWZ, which made its international debut at IDEX-93 in Abu Dhabi, when it successfully hit 38 targets with only 40 rounds of the laser guided projectile KRASNOPOL at a distance of 15 km. Indeed, 2S19 was produced in large numbers for a number of armies.

According to military records, about 520 units are in service with the Russian Army and Marines, with more than 150 units stored in the depots of the Russian MoD. Several former Soviet republics also employ 2S19s, including Azerbaijan (18 units), Belarus (12) and Ukraine (35). The second major international user of 2S19 is Venezuela with 48 units, while the first MENA operators are Morocco and Ethiopia.

The system has proved successful in combat, including the anti-terrorist operation in Syria. On Twitter, there are films about targeted strikes by the Msta, where the projectiles are controlled by drones.

The upgraded Msta-S uses a standard 155mm NATO gun, designed to destroy artillery and mortar batteries, tank columns, command and reconnaissance posts. The 155/52 caliber differs from the basic howitzer version. Since it can retain its main advantages such as low weight, high speed in terrain and large ammunition capacity, it has almost double the firing range to reach 41 km with base bleed HE projectiles. In addition to the NATO standard projectiles, it can also use Bofors, ERFB and Krasnopol M guided projectiles.

“This combat vehicle has a strong artillery armament and a road performance equal to modern armoured vehicles. It is equipped with advanced communications, satellite navigation and surveillance systems. During the tests, the Msta-S showed excellent results in target engagement with automatic fire control and the Orlan-10E unmanned aerial reconnaissance system,” said Viktor Kladov, Director of International Cooperation and Regional Policy at Rostec.

Photo: Rosoboronexport

The Msta-S self-propelled howitzer can be successfully deployed against fortifications and forward operating bases, enemy fortifications, air defense, missile defense, electronic warfare systems and even naval ground targets.

“In terms of cost efficiency, the new howitzer clearly outperforms its competitors on the world market. It also outperforms similar howitzers in a number of ways. We expect that the Msta-S will be of great interest to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific region,” added Alexander Mikheev, General Director of Rosoboronexport.

The 155mm Msta-S self-propelled howitzer is equipped with an automatic fire control system, a thermal imaging sight combined with a laser rangefinder, observation devices, muzzle velocity radar, loading mechanisms, mechanised charge storage, mechanisms for feeding bullets and charges from the ground and a 12.7mm machine gun mount. It is also equipped with communication equipment, two filter units, independent power supply and air conditioning, electrical equipment, a hydraulic system and a gun loading control system. The satellite navigation equipment is used to locate the tank howitzer in a specific coordinate system. The combat compartment meets all modern ergonomic requirements.

The system is intended for the international market and its development was financed by Rosoboronexport.

Yury Laskin