PEMZ from Russia first export contract for Samum 23mm anti-aircraft vehicle

Podolsk Electromechanical Plant (PEMZ) Company from Russia has signed the first export contract for its new Samum self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG), Designer General of the system Umahan Umakhanov told TASS.

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Samum 23mm anti-aicraft vehicle at Army-2017 defense exhibition near Moscow, August 2017 (Picture source Army Recognition)

We have a partner for the Samum program, and the plant has already signed the first contract for the system," said Umakhanov. According to him, potential foreign customers have already shown keen interest in the new SPAAG. "We are conducting negotiations over the acquisition of the Samum with some 12 countries through JSC Rosoboronexport, a subsidiary of Rostec," said Umakhanov.

The Samum SPAAG is primarily intended for special forces. "The vehicle is armed with an upgraded ZU-23-2 twin-barrel anti-aircraft gun that is being produced by the PEMZ. The system provides sufficient fire support and can shoot down low-flying aerial targets, including multirole combat aircraft, helicopters, and some types of unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]," said Umakhanov. The Samum can also engage air-droppable targets, ground and surface soft-skin or light armoured targets, and manpower. "The optical-electronic suite of the Samum allows the system to operate in automatic, semi-automatic, or manually controlled modes," said the designer.

The Samum is mounted on a 4x4 wheeled chassis that is armed at Level 3-5 GOST (protection against 5.45 mm, 5.56 mm, and 7.62 mm steel core and armor-piercing bullets). The vehicle has retained its conventional cab that has three workseats for the crew. The updated ZU-23/30M1-4 anti-aircraft gun is mounted in the rear. The SPAAG carries an ammunition load of 1,000 armor-piercing, high explosive-fragmentation, and shrapnel rounds. According to the PEMZ, the Samum is 5,000 mm long, 2,750 mm wide and 2,700 mm high and weighs some 6,500 kg. The SPAAG can transport a 1,500-kg payload. The all-terrain vehicle has a wheelbase of 3,100 mm, a wheel track of 2,600 mm, and a ground clearance of 500 mm. The SPAAG is powered by a 200-hp engine, producing a speed of up to 160 km/h and a cruising range of some 1,000 km.

According to Umakhanov, the Samum features high target acquisition and engagement performance. "The system can detect aerial targets at a distance of no less than 8 km. The SPAAG engages an aerial target flying at an altitude of up to 1,500 m and at a distance of up to 2,500 m," said the designer.

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The Samum is armed with the ZU-23/30M1-4 anti-aircraft gun that is a deeply upgraded variant of the venerable ZU-23-2 23 mm twin-barrel automatic cannon. "Unlike the baseline weapon, the updated anti-aircraft gun is fitted with a digital fire control system and optical-electronic sensor suite. We have developed two modifications of the gun, namely, an artillery variant [ZU-23/30M1-4] and a modification armed with a twin launcher for the Igla-family surface-to-air missiles," said Umakhanov.

According to the designer, the upgraded ZU-23-2 is in high demand on the global arms market. "In 2011-2016, we delivered more than 200 upgraded ZU-23-2 weapons to a foreign customer. We have a contract, under which we should ship 20 such systems in 2019," said Umakhanov. A source from the PEMZ told TASS that a MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) country had contracted 600 upgraded ZU-23-2s. The PEMZ can produce the weapon at a rate of 100 items per year.

The upgraded ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun features very high cost-effectiveness ratio, the designer pointed out. "The modernized weapon can engage new types of targets, such as UAVs, and it fires less expensive 23 mm rounds," said Umakhanov.

He emphasized that the PEMZ had conducted a deep modernization of the baseline gun. "The proportion of new components integrated with the ZU-23/30M1-3/4 reaches 75-78%. The system is being produced at the plant, and subcontractors supply only 5% of the weapon`s components, namely, electronic units," said Umakhanov

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