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Czech-made MR-2 Viktor anti-aircraft vehicles deployed to Ukraine combat zone

According to a video published on the "Clash Report" Twitter account on May 3, 2023, the MR-2 Viktor mobile anti-aircraft light vehicles manufactured by the Czech company "Excalibur Army"  are on their way to Ukraine.
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The Czech-made MR-2 Viktor anti-aicraft vehicles are on the way to Ukraine. (Picture source Twitter account Clash Report video footage)

On November 15, 2022, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that the Czech company "Excalibur Army" started production of the "Viktor," a light self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon system.

According to the website "Gift for Putin," a highly active Czech group providing direct military support to Ukraine, on January 2, 2023, Czech crowdfunding successfully raised funds to purchase 15 Viktor vehicles for the Ukrainian Army.

The Czech Republic ranks highly in its efforts to bolster the Ukrainian military through donations and arms sales. "A Gift for Putin" is revolutionizing the approach to military aid by encouraging individuals to contribute directly to the Ukrainian forces through online purchases of equipment and weapons. Offerings range from medical supplies and ammunition costing hundreds of crowns to firearms priced in the thousands, and even a tank with a hefty $1.4 million price tag.

Through generous private contributions, the "Gift for Putin" organization has successfully amassed over $24.4 million, which has been utilized to acquire weapons, military vehicles, and medical equipment for the Ukrainian armed forces.

The MR-2 Viktor is a mobile air defense system designed by the Czech company Excalibur to counter drones. Excalibur Army, a Czech firm, has created this new air defense system called Viktor by modifying a civilian Toyota pickup chassis. The system features an upgraded ZPU-2, a Soviet-built 14.5mm anti-aircraft twin gun, mounted on the rear flatbed platform. Viktor is designed to provide an affordable air defense solution capable of taking down low-altitude aerial targets, including drones, aircraft, and helicopters.

Effective combat against drones has become one of the most significant challenges for the Ukrainian armed forces. The number of drones in the Russian army is continually increasing – making drones one of the fastest-developing combat categories. Furthermore, drones have proven to be an immensely versatile system, with models designed for battlefield reconnaissance or patrol purposes, as well as combat drones intended for active military operations. This versatility has significantly transformed the nature of contemporary warfare.

The use of drones in the Russia-Ukraine War highlights the need for militaries around the world to adapt and develop effective strategies to counter rapidly evolving drone technology. Developing countermeasures and integrating them into military operations will be crucial for maintaining security and stability in the face of this new battlefield reality.

The new Czech MR-2 Viktor is a simple combination of a ZPU-2 Russian-made anti-aircraft 14.5 mm twin gun mounted on a Toyota Land Cruiser. However, there is a fundamental difference. While conventional technical vehicles use the original KPV machine gun targeting system, the MR-2 Viktor employs a different targeting system. It is equipped with day/night sights for aerial targets and another sight to fire against land targets with a maximum firing range of up to 2 km.

Despite seemingly being an outdated weapon, it is still in service with dozens of armies worldwide and shows no signs of being phased out anytime soon. The success of the KPV machine guns can be largely attributed to their 14.5x114mm ammunition, derived from the 14.5mm ammunition designed for WWII-era anti-tank rifles PTRS and PTRD. As a result, the 14.5mm rounds are extraordinarily effective – their performance is comparable to some 20mm ammunition types. Thus, they significantly outperform conventional large-caliber 12.7mm machine guns, such as the American M-2 HB (12.7x99mm) and the Russian NSV (12.7x108mm).

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The MR-2 Viktor is a twin anti-aircraft gun system based on a Toyota Land Cruiser chassis armed with a ZPU-2, a Soviet-built 14.5mm anti-aircraft twin gun. (Picture source Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENSE)

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