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Russian army 2S19 Msta-S 152mm self-propelled howitzer is a nightmare for Ukrainian army

In the war in Ukraine, the 2S19 Msta-S 152mm tracked self-propelled howitzer is the backbone of the Russian armed forces artillery unit deployed in Ukraine and a nightmare for the Ukrainian army.
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Russian army 2S19 Msta-S 152mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The Russian armed forces as well as Pro-Russian troops have a considerable artillery park, including 2S19 Msta-S 152 mm self-propelled howitzers (SPH), 2S7 Pion, a 203 mm howitzer originally designed to deliver tactical nuclear payloads, 2S4 Tyulpan 240mm self-propelled mortar vehicle and the 2S5 Giatsint-S 152mm self-propelled gun, as well as a range of rocket artillery systems, including BM-21 Grad, BM-27 Uragan and BM-30 Smerch.

The 2S19 represents the largest quantity of artillery systems in service in the Russian military inventory including 500 2S19/2S19M1 Msta-S and 320 2S19M2/2S33 Msta-SM. It was developed under the codename MSTA-S in the 1980s at the Uraltransmash facility, as the replacement for the older 152 mm 2S3 and 152 mm 2S5 self-propelled artillery systems. Following extensive trials, the 2S19 was accepted for service with the Russian Army in 1989.

The 2S19 is based on a tracked chassis with the suspension and running gear from the T-80 MBT and the power pack from the T-72 MBT. The design of the vehicle is standard for a modern self-propelled howitzer with the driver's compartment at the front, turret in the center, and power pack at the rear. The hull and turret are of all-welded steel armor construction which provides protection against the firing of small arms fire, shell splinters, and mine blasts.

The 2S19 is armed with a 2A64 152mm long-barreled gun which is able to fire HE-FRAG (High-Explosive Fragmentation) round designated OF-45 to a maximum range of 24.7 km. Other types of projectile include OF-61 base bleed high-explosive with a maximum range of 28.90 km, 30-23 cargo containing 42 HEAT bomblets, 3NS30 jammer projectile with a maximum range of 20 km, smoke, and the Krasnopol laser-guided projectile covered later. Turret traverse is powered through a full 360º with weapon elevation from -3º to +68º.

The 2S19 is powered by a V-12 model V-84A multi-fuel engine developing 780 hp coupled to a mechanical transmission with 7 forward and 1 reverse gears. The torsion bar suspension on each side consists of six road wheels, an idler at the front, a drive sprocket at the rear, and five track-return rollers, with the upper part of the track being covered by a skirt. It can run at a maximum road speed of 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km.

The 2S33 Msta-SM2 is an improved version of the 2S19 Msta-S that was unveiled in 2013 and entered into service with the Russian army in 2016. It is armed with a new 2A79 152 mm/L60 main gun that has improved ballistics. It has a longer firing range than the standard 2S19 with a maximum firing range of 30 km with a standard HE-FRAG shell and 40 km with a rocket-assisted shell.

The Msta-SM2 is compatible with newly-developed Krasnopol-D precision-guided munitions with GPS guidance which has a maximum firing range of 43 km. It uses the same main components as the original 2S19 suspension and running gear from the T-80 MBT and the power pack from the T-72 MBT. It can run at a maximum road speed of 65 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km.

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