Russian-made 152 mm 2A65 Msta-B howitzers to use Krasnopol guided projectile in Syria 32804161

Military Defense Industry Technology - Russian howitzer
 
Russian-made 152 mm 2A65 Msta-B howitzers to use Krasnopol guided projectile in Syria
Russian-made 152-mm 2A65 Msta-B howitzers were first spotted in Syria in late October of last year. According to expert opinion, the type proved to be a real asset during the armed conflict, according to the Vestnik Mordovii news portal.
     
Russian made 152 mm 2A65 Msta B howitzers to use Krasnopol guided projectile in Syria 6402A65 Msta-B Russian-made howitzer
     

The 152-mm Msta-B is the latest addition to the long list of Soviet- and Russian-made towed howitzers. Compared to its predecessors, the 2A65 features several radical novelties, of which the most visible one is its thin tube about 40 calibers long and equipped with a double-slot muzzle brake.

Of interest also is the twin-trail carriage fitted with retractable wheels on each trail and a hydraulic jack with a pad under the carriage’s platform to raise the wheels when firing. The 2A65 with its eight-man crew has a deployment/displacement time of 2-2.5 min. Its rammer and semiautomatic breechblock ensure a practical rate of fire of 7 rd/min. The weapon can be towed at 80 km/h by highway or at 20 km/h by dirt road.

The Msta-B howitzer fires most of the in-service 152-mm projectiles, but a new family of projectiles has been developed for it and other similar guns. When the advanced rounds of ammunition are used, a prepacked powder bag is selected from the three types available depending on the mission at hand. The weapon’s range is 24,000 m when firing the latest-generation blast-fragmentation projectile, increasing to 29,000 m when the rocket-assisted blast-fragmentation projectile is used.

Other sophisticated 152-mm rounds recently developed for the 2A65 include cassettes filled with 42 antipersonnel/armor-piercing shrapnel bomblets, each containing 45 g of a high explosive. Another novel round of ammunition is the container dispensing tiny radio transmitters designed to disrupt enemy communications.
     
Russian made 152 mm 2A65 Msta B howitzers to use Krasnopol guided projectile in Syria 640 002 152-mm howitzer 2A65 «Msta-B» in Saint-Petersburg Artillery museum
     
The Msta-B entered production almost 30 years ago, but it remains an up-to-date weapon nonetheless, all the more so compared to the outdated artillery systems in the Syrian Army’s inventory. The Syrian troops lack a gun capable of rivaling the Msta-B, except, maybe, for their 130-mm M-46 guns supplied by the Soviet Union. The 130-mm M-46 field gun was developed as a counterbattery weapon. It was designed to replace in the Soviet Army’s inventory the obsolete 122-mm A-19 gun developed in 1931 and upgraded in 1937. In line with the requirements, its prototype was developed in the early ‘50s and its full-scale production kicked off in 1954.

The M-46’s heavy weight is offset by its long range (up to 27,000 m) ensured by its tube around 58 calibers long. It is the long range that made the M-46 a prominent member of the artillery arsenals of many an army in the world, though the gun is being decommissioned gradually due to its excessive weight - 8,550 kg in its travelling configuration. The bulk of the weight falls on the cumbersome carriage with the split trails, which necessitates the use of a twin-wheel front end for towing, especially if the gun is towed by a tracked tractor, with its tube resting upon its trails. Extra weight is due to the massive recoil mechanism, large spades and gun shield.

Weighing 7 tons, the 2A65 Msta-B is effective at a range of 28,900 m. To cap it all, it can fire the Krasnopol laser-guided armor-piercing projectile designed for the ‘one shot - one kill’ engagement of armored targets. The projectile is steered by its control surfaces on the terminal leg toward the laser spot on the target. To extend its range, the Krasnopol is equipped with a rocket motor or relies on the base bleed solution. The large control surfaces enable the projectile to glide toward its target, extending its range and reducing its cloud base limitation. There have been no reports of the Krasnopol’s employment in Syria yet.

The mobility of the 2A65s in Syria has been facilitated much by using armored KAMAZ-6350 trucks as tractors. They are able to tow the 2A65s at a speed of 80 km/h.
     
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