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Ukrainian soldiers using kamikaze drone destroy Russian 2S4 Tyulpan most powerful mortar system

According to a video published on Telegram on July 23, 2023, Ukrainian soldiers of the K-2 combat group of the Ukrainian 54th separate mechanized brigade destroyed with a kamikaze drone one 2S4 Tyulpan 240mm self-propelled mortar, one of the most powerful artillery systems of the Russian armed forces and the most efficient mortar system in the world, which has no equivalent in the world.
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The Russian 2S4 Tyulpan is the most powerful mortar system in the world (Pictures sources K-2 54th Separate Mechanised Brigade and Vitaly Kuzmin)

Kamikaze-style drones, also known as "suicide drones" or loitering munitions, are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of conducting reconnaissance and surveillance missions while carrying an explosive payload for targeting specific enemy assets. Equipped with onboard cameras, these drones provide real-time video feeds to operators, enabling them to guide the drone toward its intended target, like this 2S4 Tyulpan.

In the context of the Ukrainian war, the use of kamikaze drones could potentially offer several advantages. Firstly, they may allow for precision strikes, potentially minimizing collateral damage and reducing risks to friendly forces. This precision could enhance the effectiveness of military operations while mitigating unintended consequences. Additionally, kamikaze drones offer operational flexibility, being launchable from various platforms such as ground stations and aerial platforms, making them adaptable to different scenarios and mission requirements, potentially enhancing their utility in dynamic combat situations.

From a financial standpoint, kamikaze drones might be relatively cost-effective compared to traditional weapon systems like manned aircraft or missiles. This cost-effectiveness could make them an appealing option for military strategies, particularly in situations where resource allocation is a significant consideration. Another notable advantage of kamikaze drones is the reduced risk to human operators. As these drones operate autonomously, the risk of losing human pilots during potentially hazardous missions is eliminated. This aspect not only preserves human lives but also allows for potentially more daring operations that might be considered too risky with human-crewed aircraft.

Moreover, the First Person View (FPV) feature in kamikaze drones allows operators to receive live video feeds, providing real-time intelligence about the target and its surroundings. This feature could assist in informed decision-making during missions and contribute to more precise execution of operations, including the destruction of military equipment.

Before the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian armed forces had approximately 100 units of the 2S4, but production is estimated to have exceeded 400 units. The 2S4 Tyulpan is a self-propelled mortar carrier with a 240mm smoothbore mortar mounted on a tracked armored chassis, introduced into service with the Russian army in 1975. As of December 31, 2022, at least three of these vehicles have been lost or damaged during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.

The 2S4 features powered elevation from +50° to +80° and powered traverse of 10° on the left and right, armed with a single 240mm mortar. It carries 40 mortar rounds, stored in two drum-type magazines, and can fire various types of ammunition, including conventional high-explosive fragmentation mortar bombs and high-explosive fragmentation rocket-assisted projectiles, with varying firing ranges. The 2S4 is also capable of firing chemical, concrete-piercing, and tactical nuclear ammunition.

A small one-man open-top turret, housing a PKT 7.62mm machine gun, is positioned at the front left side of the hull. Additionally, according to Russian military sources, the 2S4 can fire the Smel'chak (Daredevil) laser-guided mortar projectile.

The 2S4 Tyulpan is built on a tracked chassis with torsion bar suspension, featuring six road wheels on each side, a drive sprocket at the front, an idler at the rear, and four track-return rollers. Its maximum road speed is 60 km/h, and it has a maximum cruising range of 500 km.

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