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Russia deploys new 2S35 self-propelled howitzers in Ukraine

Russia has reportedly initiated the production and deployment of its most advanced self-propelled howitzer known as 2S35 "Koalitsiya-SV" in Ukraine. This information, although not officially confirmed, comes from a reliable source within the Russian military, as reported by TASS on December 20, 2023.
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2S35 "Koalitsiya-SV" 152mm self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Vitaly V.Kuzmin)

The 2S35 "Koalitsiya-SV" is currently in production, with deployment on the battlefield in Ukraine, albeit in limited numbers. Its primary mission is to play a crucial role in counter-battery warfare, aiming to decisively change the balance in this critical aspect of the conflict. It's worth noting that TASS is awaiting official confirmation of this deployment from the Russian authorities.

In April 2023, when Major General Sergei Medvedsky, who temporarily assumed command of the Missile and Artillery Troops of the Russian Armed Forces, spoke to TASS, he mentioned that the 2S35 had not yet been engaged on the Ukrainian front. At that time, the 2S35 was still undergoing state trials, expected to conclude by year-end. General Medvedsky also highlighted ongoing efforts to enhance the mobility and capabilities of the 2S35, stating it was in the final stages of development.

The 2S35 "Koalitsiya-SV" is equipped with a 152mm caliber gun, the 2A88, capable of firing at a rate exceeding 10 rounds per minute. It also features automation for aiming, target selection, and navigation processes. This self-propelled howitzer is based on the chassis of the T-90 tank and is designed to engage a wide range of ground targets, including command posts, communication nodes, artillery and mortar batteries, armored vehicles, anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, and enemy personnel at distances of up to 70 kilometers.

The crew positions for the gunner and commander are equipped with digital displays and integrated into a unified automated tactical control system. This system allows for target designation via digital communication, continuous terrain monitoring, autonomous gun calculations for firing, and fire correction under various weather conditions. Furthermore, the 2S35 can operate in a fire-on-the-move mode, a capability that was previously inaccessible in Russian artillery.

The presence of two "blocks" at the front of the vehicle, which were not present in the first version of the vehicle presented in 2015, can be attributed to the improvement of the self-propelled artillery's fire control system. These "blocks" may house Doppler radar systems. Doppler radars are essential for accurately determining the trajectory of a projectile, eliminating the need for a traditional sighting shot. Typically, in traditional artillery, an initial shot is fired at a target, but due to factors such as wind, humidity, and weather conditions, the initial shot deviates significantly from the target. Adjustments are then made based on this deviation. However, this requires the presence of adjustment means, such as ground observers or drones. Moreover, the initial shot reveals the target's position, allowing it to move or take cover.

With the integration of Doppler radar into the fire control system, the vehicle can make corrections as soon as the first projectile is in flight, based on the deviation of its trajectory. This allows the vehicle to fire multiple follow-up projectiles without waiting for the first one to land. This method is particularly effective in self-propelled artillery units with a "fire raid" function that allows firing multiple projectiles simultaneously.

The development and production of the 2S35 are the result of collaboration among companies within the state-owned Rostec Corporation, including the Uralvagonzavod Concern. The Central Research Institute "Burevestnik" (CNIIB) is credited with the design, while production is carried out by the Ural Transport Machine-Building Plant (Uraltransmash).

The main task of the 2S35 in Ukraine will be to make a decisive difference in counter-battery warfare, a crucial aspect of the ongoing conflict. Russia hopes to change the dynamics and tilt the balance on the front line.


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