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Russian Army Receives Latest Generation 2S19M2 152mm Howitzers for Ukraine Deployment

According to a statement published by the Russian State Defense Company ROSTEC on September 20, 2023, the latest generation of 2S19 MSTA-S 152mm tracked self-propelled howitzers, the 2S19M2, has been handed over to the Russian armed forces for rapid deployment on the Ukrainian battlefield.
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The 2S19M2 is the latest generation of Russian 152mm self-propelled howitzer from the 2S19 family. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

In the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia has reportedly sustained significant losses in its artillery arsenal. Recent data indicates that over 6,137 Russian artillery systems have been lost since the all-out war commenced last February.

Historically, Russia's military strategy has leaned heavily on artillery, reminiscent of its tactics during World War II. However, the dynamics of the current conflict are prompting a notable shift in this approach. Both Russia and Ukraine have extensively deployed artillery, leading to an urgent scramble for ammunition. This has resulted in both nations rationing their artillery ammunition supplies.

While Ukraine has adapted by incorporating Western-made howitzers, enabling the use of Western-supplied shells, Russia grapples with limitations in its ammunition supply. Consequently, Russia is transitioning from its traditional saturation bombardment tactics to executing more precise strikes with fewer rounds. This strategic shift suggests a dual narrative: on one hand, it underscores Russia's challenges in maintaining its artillery barrage due to ammunition constraints. On the other, it signals a potential increase in the accuracy and effectiveness of Russian artillery fire, posing heightened challenges for Ukrainian forces.

The 2S19M2 self-propelled howitzer, commonly known as the "Msta-S," is a modern artillery howitzer manufactured by the Russian defense industry. It has been in service since the early 1990s and it is a modernized version of the 2S19. The primary armament of this howitzer is the 152.4 mm 2A65 howitzer, complemented by a secondary 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the turret roof. This machine gun serves as a defense against both air threats and infantry.

The 2S19M2 is capable of firing a diverse range of ammunition types. This includes high-explosive, illuminating, smoke, and even laser-guided projectiles like the Krasnopol. In terms of range, it can shoot standard high-explosive projectiles to distances of approximately 25-30 km, and with rocket-assisted projectiles, this range extends to over 40 km. The howitzer boasts a burst rate of fire of 5-6 rounds per minute and a sustained rate of 2-3 rounds per minute.

Mobility is a strong suit for the 2S19M2. Powered by a V-84A diesel engine that produces 840 hp, it can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h on roads and has an operational range close to 500 km. In terms of protection, the howitzer features a welded turret and hull made of rolled steel armor. While this provides defense against small arms fire and shell splinters, it isn't intended to counter direct hits from anti-tank weapons. Additionally, the vehicle is equipped with an NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection system.

One of the standout features of the 2S19M2 is its advanced fire control system. This system encompasses ballistic computers, laser rangefinders, and night vision equipment, ensuring accurate targeting in various conditions, including nighttime operations. The howitzer typically operates with a crew of five, consisting of a commander, driver, gunner, loader, and aimer. Beyond its primary combat role, the 2S19M2 can also function in a support capacity, offering indirect fire support to infantry and armored units on the battlefield.

Overall, the 2S19M2 Msta-S represents a significant advancement over its predecessors, providing the Russian military with a modern, mobile, and versatile artillery platform that has been tested in various conflicts and exercises since its debut.

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