Russian Southern district receives Msta-SM self-propelled howitzers

The Russian Defense Ministry has begun to arm the Southern Military District with the latest Msta-SM 2S19M2 self-propelled artillery guns. The deliveries are to be accomplished in one-two years. The upgraded guns have a bigger firing range and precision and can fire precision projectiles, the Izvestia daily writes.
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Msta-SM self-propeled howitzer (Picture source: Army Recogntion)

The first guns have already been supplied to the district. Defense Ministry sources said complete rearmament with Msta-SM will take one-two years. They will expand the capabilities of the Ground Forces in the south of the country. The Defense Ministry earlier said the troops would receive 36 2S19M2 in 2020. They were previously delivered to the Western Military District which borders on NATO countries : “The latest armor and self-propelled guns are mostly supplied to military districts that border on NATO countries and hotspots,” expert Vladislav Shurygin said.

The United States has recently trained rapid redeployment of HIMARS missile launchers and fire at targets in the Black Sea. Therefore, increased artillery capabilities in the Southern district are necessary to maintain the balance of forces in the region, Shurygin said.

Msta-SM is a development of the Msta-S which was accepted into service in 1989. The basic 2S19 guns armed artillery regiments of motorized rifle and tank divisions. The vehicles were upgraded to 2S19M1 level during a capital overhaul. 2S19M2 vehicle is produced anew. It has a 2A64M2 gun and upgraded electronics. Ring equipment for integration into the tactical command system is the main innovation. Each gun gets an automatic guidance and fire control system to fully use integration advantages.

Each combat vehicle automatically exchanges information with the command post of a division or battery, artillery radars and is aware of each shot. If necessary, it can be remotely guided from the command post. The crew have only to confirm fire.

The upgraded artillery guns received a satellite navigation system to know the coordinates with a precision of several meters. It accelerates data preparation for fire. The time for fire after deployment has halved against the previous option. “New Msta-SM are a weapon to fight a high-tech adversary,” expert Alexey Khlopotov said. “Modern combat needs automatic and rapid fire weapons, as the adversary engages drones and counterbattery radars against artillery,” he said.

Msta-SM can quickly change positions after fire and is ready for new strikes. It has major advantages in artillery duels: a high rate of fire, major range, and the ability to fire precision projectiles, the expert said. The rate of fire increased from eight to 10 rounds per minute. The gun can engage in raids and fire each projectile by an individually calculated trajectory to reach the target at the same time. It can fire Krasnopol laser-guided projectiles. They receive guidance from commandos and drones.

Drones will increase the capabilities of the new self-propelled guns. Artillery brigades already have Orlan-10 units for reconnaissance and fire adjustment. Supplies of Orlan-30 drones have to begun in 2020. They carry an optical-electronic system for high-quality images and a laser ranger. The drone determines the exact coordinates of the adversary for ordinary shells or provides guidance for smart projectiles, the Izvestia said.

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