Russian 2S7M Malka self-propelled 203mm howitzer able to hit enemy in bunker
Uraltransmash (part of the Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) Group within the Rostec state hi-tech corporation) has delivered a batch of upgraded and overhauled Malka self-propelled artillery systems to the Russian Defense Ministry ahead of schedule, the UVZ press office said. According to Uraltransmash CEO Dmitry Semizorov, the systems’ maneuverability, mobility and controllability have increased as a result of the upgrade.
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Russian defense company Uraltransmash delivered a new batch of 2S7M Malka 203mm self-propelled howitzers to the Russian army (Picture source: Uralvagonzavod VK account)
The Malka is an upgraded version of the 2S7 Pion self-propelled gun, which was developed in the 1980s and is still considered one of the most powerful in the world. The rifled gun has a 203mm caliber and the combat vehicle makes part of high-power artillery battalions. The self-propelled artillery system is designed to destroy enemy strategic targets in the tactical depth of defense. The gun has a rate of fire of up to 2.5 rounds per minute and a firing range of about 50 km (31 mi). It has a weight of 46 tons and a road speed of 60 km/h (37.2 mph). Its crew totals six.
The Malka is being actively used in Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. This spring, the Russian Defense Ministry posted video clips of the operation of the Malka system. Fire adjustment was performed with the use of an Orlan-10 unmanned aerial system. “We are hitting enemy manpower, weapons, and fortifications, for example, bunkers,” a crewmember of the Malka self-propelled artillery system said in the video. A Malka strike is enough to wipe out a three- or five-story bunker, he emphasized.
In August, the Russian Defense Ministry released video footage showing Malka self-propelled artillery systems eliminating M777 howitzers delivered by the United States to Ukraine.
“Artillerymen of the Western Military District destroyed enemy positions by hitting American M777 howitzers delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces. American howitzers are able to work from a considerable distance, and are mobile and small-sized too. But the considerable firepower, range, high accuracy and aiming speed of the Malka make all the advantages of the Western guns useless,” the Defense Ministry said in a comment to the video.
Soviet-made Malka large-caliber artillery systems are gradually upgraded. The guns get a new gearbox, distribution system, power supply units, intercom equipment, data reception and processing devices, and radio stations. The system’s nuclear protection system and observation devices are replaced. The upgrade is intended to increase the survivability of crews and enhance the system’s firing and tactical capabilities in combat.
Upgraded 2S7M Malka self-propelled artillery systems are delivered to the Russian Armed Forces. In 2018, the Central Military District’s artillery large unit based in the Kemerovo Region received 12 Malka systems. Servicemen constantly use Malka systems in drills to practice hitting targets, deploying weapons, fortifying positions, and camouflaging artillery systems. Counterterrorism units practice preventing a simulated enemy from seizing high-power weapons.
The 2S7M Malka is capable of firing nuclear artillery munitions. A mockup of one of the munitions was shown by the Rosatom state corporation at the Army 2022 international military technical forum. The 203mm RD5-1 nuclear projectile has a capacity of 2,000 tons of TNT. The charge was intended for the B-4M artillery system, but it is also suitable for other guns with the same caliber, for example, the Malka. The RD5-1 was in service from 1972 to 1985 and was produced until 1980.
Work is currently in progress to develop high-precision guided projectiles for the Malka system. “High-precision projectiles based on various technologies to improve firing accuracy are being developed, for example, radio-ballistic and also guided ones using satellite navigation,” Editor-in-Chief of the Arsenal of the Fatherland journal Viktor Murakhovsky said in an interview with the Izvestiya newspaper. “As a result, the most powerful guns become a high-precision scalpel, which, at ranges of several tens of kilometers, will be able to hit enemy strategic targets with 1-2 projectiles.”
Murakhovsky also noted that the digitalization of control systems was important for high-power artillery systems. “Such modernization makes it possible to include artillery battalions in the single reconnaissance/engagement systems of our troops. As the combat operation in Syria has shown, this allows for reducing the time for preparing and engaging strike systems. The time period from identifying a target and setting a strike mission to a volley is reduced by 3-5 times,” the Izvestiya newspaper quoted Murakhovsky as saying.
The Malka is an upgraded version of the 2S7 Pion self-propelled gun, which was developed in the 1980s and is still considered one of the most powerful in the world (Picture source: Army Recognition)