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Russian forces in Ukraine use intensively 2S4 Tyulpan most powerful mortar in the world

Russian armed forces have one of the largest artillery forces in the world which is used intensively in the fights against the Ukrainian army. Despite having developed in the 70s, Russian artillery units continue to use in Ukraine the Tyulpan M-1975, NATO code-named 2S4, a 240mm self-propelled mortar tracked armored vehicle which is considered as the most powerful mobile mortar system in the world.
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The Russian-made 2S4 Tyulpan is considered as the most powerful mortar system in the world. (Picture source Russian MoD)

According to the military balance 2021, the Russian armed forces operate around 50 2S4s but it is estimated that well over 400 2S4s have been produced. It entered into service with the Russian army in 1975.

In the fight in Ukraine, the 2S4 is used with a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to adjust the fire and increase the accuracy. The crews displace their Tuylpan to new positions after each salvo against the Ukrainian army’s line of defense to continuously inflict fire damage and go unnoticed by enemy artillery systems.

The 240mm Tyulpan self-propelled mortar is designed to destroy solid field-type structures, command posts, artillery and rocket batteries and other military targets inaccessible to direct fire. It has a firing range of 10 km with a conventional projectile and of up to 20 km with rocket-assisted ammunition. It can also fire chemical, concrete-piercing and tactical nuclear projectiles as well as the “Smel’chak” laser-guided ammunition and incendiary Saida napalm, neutron Smola and Fata mines.

When in the firing position the 240mm mortar of the Tyulpan is hydraulically swung to the rear under remote control so that the mortar barrel faces rearwards. has powered elevation from +50 to +80º with powered traverse of 10º left and right. Inside the hull of the 2S4 are two drum-type magazines, each of which holds 20 240 mm mortar bombs. When the drums rotate, they line up with a hatch in the roof of the vehicle and a specialized telescoping mechanism flips the muzzle down and loads the barrel first with the projectile and then with the bagged charge.

Using a tracked chassis, the 2S4 offers a high level of mobility in all-terrain conditions and more especially in muddy or snowy terrains. It is powered by a V-59 V-12 diesel engine developing 520 hp. It can run at a maximum road speed 60 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km.

The Tyulpan M-1975 has a crew of nine and could be prepared to fire within 25 minutes and continue to fire at a rate of approx. 1 round per minute. In fact, the 2S4 a slow rate of fire due to the large size of the mortar and the weight of its ammunition 130 kg for standard HE rounds and 228 kg rocket-assisted HE rounds. It can also be loaded one round at a time via a small crane, which is most often used to load the magazines or to place specialty rounds onto the loading track.

Citing a Russian military source, the Tyulpan 2S4 was deployed to conduct combat operations in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. It is used to destroy fortifications, command posts, artillery and missile batteries, as well as highly protected objects that smaller-caliber artillery systems cannot destroy.

The Tyulpan does not need ranging salvos. Each mine has to hit a specific area. The mortar cuts out key Ukrainian hubs like a scalpel. They include fortifications, fuel, and ammunition depots. Surrounding civilian infrastructure, such as bridges, workshops, hangars, and overhaul facilities remain intact.

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