Russian 2S42 Malva self-propelled gun enters final trials

The Russian Defense Ministry plans to accept into service the first in the history of Russian artillery wheeled Malva self-propelled gun. A new airborne brigade is likely to receive it first. The gun will increase the airborne firepower and will help deliver an artillery group to the assigned area in hours, the Izvestia daily writes.
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2S43 Malva 152mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzer (Picture source:

The Malva gun is at the final stage of trials, Defense Ministry sources said. It may be delivered to the Airborne Forces, however, the final decision has not been made. The gun cannot be airdropped by parachute but can be carried by an airlifter like the Ilyushin Il-76. It is better adapted for roads than tracked hardware.

If the decision to arm the Airborne Forces with Malva is made, the gun will be supplied to a new artillery brigade. Airborne Forces Commander Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov earlier announced plans to create the brigade. Each airborne division currently has an artillery regiment, however, there is no bigger formation subordinated directly to the commander.

Malva 2S42 is armed with a 152mm 2A64 gun that is also installed on tracked Msta-S self-propelled guns operating in artillery regiments of motorized infantry and tank divisions. The gun destroys various targets at a distance of 24 km.

Malva is mounted on an 8x8 BAZ-6010-027 undercarriage designed by Bryansk Automobile Plant. The absence of additional armor decreased the weight of the vehicle. It weighs 32 tons with 30 rounds of munitions, which is a quarter less than the wheeled Msta-S.

At present, the Airborne Forces are armed with 122mm D-30 towed howitzers. 120mm Nona-S 2S9 is the only self-propelled gun. It weighs 8 tons and can be airdropped by parachute, however the firing range is two times shorter than 152mm guns. These guns were accepted into service in Soviet times. The previous doctrine stipulated parachute assault of airborne divisions with hardware behind the frontline. However, the Airborne Forces have been seriously reformed of late. They get powerful formations armed with heavy weapons, including tanks.

Wheeled guns are a global trend, expert Alexey Khlopotov said. The hardware is ideal for expeditionary forces. “Wheeled vehicles are more mobile, cheaper, have a bigger resource and simple maintenance. Tracked vehicles were historically due to the requirement to follow tanks, which can drive anywhere. It is also due to the Russian climate with its spring and autumn impassable roads. The situation is different now. Wheeled vehicles easily drive in the desert and steppe and there is a developed road network in many territories. The vehicles are very good for mobile rapid reaction forces,” he said.

Several leading world armies have designed and operate wheeled self-propelled guns. They are ATMOS 2000 in Israel, CAESAR in France, Archer in Sweden. China and several East European countries also developed their systems. The Warsaw Pact used to be armed with several hundred Dana self-propelled guns designed in Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union tested them but did not accept them into service. 

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