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Russia deploys new 2S40 Phlox 120mm self-propelled mortars in Ukraine

On 5 October 2023, the Russian state-owned company Rostec officially announced the start of deliveries of the first batch of 2S40 Phlox 6x6 120mm self-propelled mortars to the Russian armed forces, which will most likely be transferred to units stationed in Ukraine. These deliveries follow the successful completion of the final testing phase in August 2023, marking the formal adoption of this vehicle for active service within the Russian Army.
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The Russian 2S40 Phlox 120mm self-propelled howitzer can function as a self-propelled howitzer, a mortar, and even for direct fire engagements. (Picture source: Rostec)

The development of this new wheeled self-propelled 120mm mortar system was undertaken as part of the Sketch project, led by the Burevestnik Central Research Institute based in Nizhny Novgorod. Similar to the 2S43 Malva 8x8 152mm self-propelled howitzer, the decision to opt for a wheeled chassis over tracked models offer advantages in terms of service life and cruising speed while simultaneously reducing production and maintenance costs.

Built upon the Ural 4320 6x6 truck chassis, the 2S40 Phlox features a five-seat armored cabin designed to provide protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The transportable ammunition is also securely shielded by armor. Positioned at the rear of the vehicle, the 120mm mortar system is controlled by the commander from within the cabin. During firing operations, only the loaders are positioned outside the self-propelled gun.

A noteworthy feature of this vehicle is its 2A80 120mm combined semi-automatic rifled gun, enabling it to function as a self-propelled howitzer, a mortar, and even for direct fire engagements. With a rate of fire that can reach up to 10 rounds per minute, it can also operate in a simultaneous fire attack mode, where multiple projectiles are fired sequentially at different gun elevation angles, converging on the target almost simultaneously. Additionally, the 2S40 Phlox shares ammunition compatibility with Russian self-propelled guns equipped with 120mm combined rifled artillery systems like the 2S9 Nona-S, 2S31 Vena, and 2S34 Khosta.

This artillery system offers the capability to fire a wide range of ammunition without compromising its firing rate, including High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT), High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), and smoke rounds, with a maximum firing range of up to 13 km. Furthermore, it has the capacity to launch various 120mm mortar shells and mines, extending its reach to a maximum of 7.5 km. For precision targeting against armored targets, the Phlox utilizes Kitolov-2M precision-guided munitions, providing a range of up to 10 km. The vehicle is equipped to carry a total of 80 rounds, with 28 readily available for immediate use.

Equipped with a contemporary fire control system, the 2S40 offers a high degree of accuracy, capable of sharing firing data with an associated command post vehicle and operating autonomously through its remote-controlled combat module featuring an electronic sight with a rangefinder, facilitating the determination of target coordinates that can be transmitted to other vehicles for coordinated action. With a crew comprising five individuals, including the driver, gun commander, and loaders, the Phlox can be prepared for firing within a matter of minutes and is capable of swift redeployment to evade counter-battery fire.

The artillery system's fire control system encompasses a topographical reference and navigation complex to ensure precise targeting, with a special drive restoring aiming accuracy after each shot. For self-defense, the 2S40 Phlox is armed with a remote-controlled 12.7 mm Kord machine gun. Additionally, the Phlox is equipped with an optical-electronic suppression system, capable of identifying the origin of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and deploying a smoke screen for enhanced protection.


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