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Analysis: Combat capabilities of Russian 2S7M Malka 203mm tracked armored gun system in Ukraine

According to a video published by the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Russian army has deployed in Ukraine the most powerful mobile gun system in the world, the 2S7M Malka. Army Recognition editorial team explains the combat capabilities and the technical features of the Russian-made 2S7M Malka.
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The Russian army has deployed in Ukraine, the 2S7M Malka, the most powerful mobile artillery gun system in the world. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The 2S7 Pion is a 230mm self-propelled gun system mounted on tracked armored chassis that was designed according to a requirement of the Russian army for a new large-caliber longer-range self-propelled artillery weapon. It entered into service with the Russian army in 1975. The 2S7M Malka is a modernized version of the 2S7 that was developed in 1983.

The chassis of the 2S7 is of all-welded steel armor construction that provides the occupants with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. The vehicle is based on tracked armored chassis with a crew cab at the front for four crew members. The engine is mounted behind it and three crew members are in the rear compartment. The rear of the vehicle is fitted with a 56-caliber 203mm 2A44 gun system.

The 2S7 is able to fire standard and rocket-assisted HE-FRAG (High Explosive Fragmentation) projectiles, chemical, and nuclear ammunition. Firing HE-FRAG ammunition, the 2S7 has a maximum firing range of 37.5 km while with rocket-assisted projectiles, the maximum firing range is 47.5 km.

The 2S7 has been upgraded to the standard 2S7M Malka in 1983. The 2S7M Malka is equipped with R-173 communications equipment and can carry a total of eight 203 mm projectiles and charges. In addition, the rate of fire is increased from 1.5 to 2.5 rounds per minute, the durability of the system has been improved, and firing data can be transmitted directly to the gun.

A modernized version of the 2S7M was handed over to the Russian army in December 2021. The modernization of the 2S7M was carried out at Uraltransmash and features a new gearbox, distribution mechanisms, power supply units, observation devices and guidance system, intercom equipment, and radio station. The CBRN protection system has been updated. Additionally, it is now possible to aim at a target using a UAV.

The 2S7M is powered by a V-46-I V-12 liquid-cooled 4-stroke turbocharged diesel engine developing 840 hp. The torsion bar suspension has seven dual rubber-tired road wheels on either side, with the drive sprocket at the front and the idler at the rear, and six track-return rollers that support the inside of the track only. Shock-absorbers are provided for the first, second, third, sixth, and seventh road wheel stations. The vehicle can reach a maximum road speed of 50 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 650 km.

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