Self-propelled gun “Lotos” will enter state tests next year
MOSCOW, December 11 – RIA Novosti, Andrey Kots. The finish line has been reached in the development of the Lotos self-propelled artillery mount. State tests are ahead. This weapon will be one of the strong arguments of the Russian army. What is known about the new product is contained in RIA Novosti material.
A wide range of airborne equipment was created in the USSR, especially for the Air Force, but the first self-propelled guns for “winged infantry” were adopted only in the 1980s. The Soviet 120-mm self-propelled artillery and mortar mount 2S9 “Nona-S” fits very well into the organizational structure of the Air Force. Its combat weight of eight tons made it possible to drop it by parachute, and the 2A51 rifled semi-automatic gun-howitzer-mortar was capable of firing various types of ammunition at a range of up to ten kilometers (up to 17 in active). rocket projectile).
Nona-S’s baptism of fire took place in Afghanistan. Soldiers highly appreciated the wide vertical aiming angles, the versatility of the self-propelled gun, its ability to work against different types of targets, as well as its much greater mobility over rough terrain than conventional mortars. Among the shortcomings were the small size of portable ammunition, rapid wear of tracks and limited horizontal guidance angles.
Designers partially corrected the shortcomings in subsequent modifications 2S9-1 and 2S9-1M. Such “Nons” fought in Chechnya and South Ossetia. In SVO – from the first days. But by the mid-2010s, these undoubtedly remarkable machines were quite outdated.
TSNIITOCHMASH began developing the 2S42 Lotos self-propelled gun in 2015 after the 2S36 Zauralets-D project, another self-propelled gun, failed preliminary tests. The program was quickly implemented and the sample was presented at the Ordu-2017 forum two years later. Design work was completed in 2018. The series was planned to air in 2020, but the deadline was postponed for various reasons.
Aerial fire support
The combat weight of the Lotus is significantly greater than that of the Nona: 18 tons versus eight tons. But they retained the ability to land by parachute. For unification with other airborne equipment, the BMD-4M chassis was taken as a basis. Due to the need to install new large units, the fuselage was lengthened, its layout and level of protection did not change.
Crew – four people. Each has its own cover and imaging devices. The positions of the commander and gunner were equipped with modern optical-electronic sighting devices.
The tower was built from scratch. Horizontal aiming – in any direction, elevation angles – from minus four to plus 80 degrees. The gun is a further development of the 120 mm 2A51 with a longer barrel and still combines the essential qualities and capabilities of a cannon, howitzer and mortar. The transition time from cruising to combat position is 30 seconds, the range is 13 kilometers, the rate of fire is between six and eight rounds per minute. An important point: an ammunition line with great modernization potential is being developed specifically for this weapon.
In the context of the active use of drone and counter-battery radars, the mobility of artillery equipment comes to the fore. Its survival depends on how quickly the self-propelled gun can leave its position. “Lotus” is quite fast in this regard. The 2B-06-2 diesel engine with 450 horsepower accelerates the self-propelled gun up to 70 kilometers per hour on roads and 40 kilometers per hour on rough terrain. The power reserve is 500 kilometers, which is very good for a car of this mass.
The Achilles heel of the Lotus, like other aircraft, is its lightweight, bulletproof aluminum armor, which does not always protect against large fragments, not to mention more serious ones. But this factor does not play a big role in SVO. A kamikaze drone attack on the thin armor of a roof or engine compartment can destroy even a heavy tank. It is possible that Lotos will receive a factory-made anti-accumulation “visor”, which has been widely equipped with Russian armored vehicles in recent months.
“Lotus” is not the first artillery system developed taking into account new combat experience. Thus, in October, serial samples of the 2S43 Malva wheeled self-propelled howitzer were put into service.
The event is important. Before Malva, barreled artillery guns in the Soviet and Russian armies were either withdrawn or pursued. The wheelbase gives a gun or howitzer many serious advantages. Such a vehicle has the ability to quickly return to position and leave after several salvos, without waiting for an “answer”.
Malva has a 152 mm 2A64 rifled howitzer with a barrel length of 47 calibers, which is the same as the gun of the Msta-S tracked self-propelled gun. Thanks to the abandonment of the turret and armor, the vehicle became significantly lighter (32 tons versus 42 tons), which made it easier to transport it by military transport aircraft. The gun is “ubiquitous”: it fires all 152mm rounds, including adjustable ones. But the range is relatively short – 24 kilometers. The similar French 155 mm wheeled self-propelled gun CAESAR has 40 units, while the Ukrainian Bogdana has 42 units.
The newest howitzer “Coalition-SV” passed state tests
Presumably, “Malva” is an interim version of a promising highly mobile howitzer, which will go to the troops while the wheeled modification of the newest self-propelled gun “Coalition-SV” is being completed in the rear. There, the range of high-explosive fragmentation fire is comparable to that of Caesar and Bogdana. And with a guided projectile the Coalition can hit up to 70 kilometers.
However, for now, it is not clear when the “Coalition” will join the active army. The same goes for the promising T-14 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles on the Kurganets-25 platform and the Boomerang armored personnel carrier. Mastering the mass production of such complex equipment is a trivial task. So the Russian military-industrial complex is still gaining momentum.
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