Anti-aircraft artillery systems get a second life


How to protect yourself from drones, cruise missiles and "jumping" bombs

According to Dan Rice, a former US army officer and ex-adviser to the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valery Zaluzhny, 2,000 M26 cluster missiles can "end the conflict."

The main task for the M26 should be counter-battery fighting. "If you are Ukrainian forces trying to break through a two–mile minefield, you go "meter by meter." There are thousands of Russian guns against you, which are firing all the time... The calculation is as follows: if both sides have the same range of artillery when you are on the offensive, you cannot finish off the defending guns. The artillery of the attackers should be either longer range, or be right on the front line. At the same time, you cannot place your artillery on the front line, because then you will lose it," says Rice.

That is, you should simply kill or disperse the servants of the guns with shrapnel, just like in the First World War.


Russian journalists raised a fuss about the barbarity of the Americans and the APU. Indeed, cluster warheads of missiles pose a great threat to civilians. Journalists and politicians refer to the 2008 Oslo Convention, which banned the use of cluster munitions altogether. They write that the convention has been ratified by 120 countries. But the USA is doing evil with the APU!

That's right, you need to write about it, and as much as possible.

But experts should know that 74 (!) countries have not signed the convention, including the USA, Russia, China, Israel, India, etc. At the same time, back in Soviet times, cluster shells with 9H210 and 9H235 combat elements, cluster bombs, etc. were created for multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) "Hurricane" and "Smerch".

Inherited from the USSR, cluster munitions passed from the USSR to Russia and Ukraine. Ukrainian media claimed that the Russian Federation had been using cluster munitions since the beginning of the special operation. And the APU used cluster munitions for the first time on February 24, 2022, on the day of the start of its own.

In August 2023, the United States announced the delivery of M26 cluster missiles to Ukraine for the Himars MLRS. According to media reports, at the beginning of 2023, there were 38 such MLRS in Ukraine.

M26 cluster shells are an unpleasant thing, but they will not be able to decide the outcome of the conflict. A reasonable response to the supply of the M26 should be Russia's massive use of its cluster shells for MLRS. The use of cluster munitions is much more dangerous for the advancing troops than for the defenders. Ready-made striking elements of cluster munitions have low kinetic energy, they can easily be protected from thin steel sheets, logs, etc.

In fact, cluster munitions were used by Peter the Great. They were then called grenade buckshot. The shooting was carried out from two- and three-pounder mortars. The projectile in a metal case or in a wicker basket contained about three dozen three-pound grenades. In flight, the hull was destroyed, grenades flew apart and gave hundreds of fragments during the explosion.


Much more dangerous than the cluster M26, the GLSDB "jumping" bomb is a hybrid of the GBU–39/B planning aerial bomb with the M-26 rocket. The GLSDB is a small diameter (190 mm) planning correctable bomb. The bomb is equipped with wings that open in flight. Its weight is 130 kg, length is 1800 mm, 93 kg of explosive. It has a high-explosive or penetrating warhead. The latter is capable of breaking through a 90-cm concrete coating. With the help of a rocket engine, the bomb launched from the Himars MLRS systems accelerates to 900-1200 m / s, separates from the rocket at an altitude of 15-25 thousand meters and begins controlled planning towards the target. The bomb is equipped with guide flaps, aerodynamic rudders and a GPS module. The small size makes it difficult to detect and defeat air defense systems. The declared target range reaches 150 km. The cost of GLSDB is 40 thousand dollars. excluding the cost of the rocket engine and assembly work. In appearance, the GLSDB is an effective weapon capable of hitting targets in the deep rear. Why didn't our designers bother to create an analogue of the GLSDB – a planning bomb for the MLRS "Hurricane" or "Tornado"? I admit that GLSDB has too tricky guidance system. So let them make at least some kind of analog, even with a large circular probable deviation (QUO). Are there really no area targets in Ukraine now to hit with "jumping" bombs? For example, military warehouses, defense factories, railway junctions, etc.


How and how to deal with planning bombs? Our military observers suggest using the Tor-M2 and Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile systems (SAMs). I do not know in detail their capabilities and only take this opinion into account. In my opinion, 76-100 mm automatic anti-aircraft guns with adjustable projectiles and programmable fuses could become an effective means of combating "jumping" bombs and Storm Shadow cruise missiles. The installation of such fuses is carried out using inductive windings. At the beginning and end of the barrel bore there are sensors with which the actual velocity of the projectile is accurately determined, and the induction ring sets the time of detonation of the projectile with ready striking elements. Such complexes have long been produced by the company "OTO Melara" and others.

In the absence of large-caliber land guns, they could become 57-mm complexes "Baikal" and "Dagger". Is it a long time to bring them? Are they too expensive? So for now it is necessary to use the old automatic artillery systems, and first of all shipboard ones. Why not protect Sevastopol, the ports of the Caucasus, the Crimean and other bridges with stationary or semi-stationary ship complexes? To the available means, you can add stationary and mobile shipboard 30-mm six-barreled AK-630M artillery installations with a rate of fire of 85 rounds per second. Many hundreds of such installations have been produced since 1976. In the 1970s, during exercises, they detected and shot down guided missiles of the Phalanx anti-tank missile system (ATGM) and various anti–ship missiles - completely in automatic mode. Since 1991, most of the AK-630M carriers have been scrapped, mothballed or have been waiting for repair at the berths for years. Why not take AK-630M from warehouses and ships and place them at bridges? They can be installed on heavy trucks or barges. Or drive mothballed vessels with regular AK-630M into the Kerch Strait and use them as floating batteries.

The ship's 76-mm and 100-mm automatic guns can effectively fight cruise missiles and "jumping" bombs. Why are the ships currently incapacitated not anchored, or even stranded. And they can be protected from marine drones by booms or concrete blocks. Let's remember how in 1941-1942 the improvised floating battery "Don't touch me" near Sevastopol became a Luftwaffe thunderstorm.


By the way, it would be good to recall another military experience. In 1941-1943, 37-mm, 20-mm and 12.7-mm anti-aircraft guns were removed from damaged or repaired ships and put them on ships going into battle. If on two mothballed or awaiting repair ships one can be turned into a floating battery, but its artillery is faulty, and the other cannot be turned into a floating battery, but there are serviceable artillery installations, then, of course, it is necessary to castling. And you can generally remove 30-mm, 76-mm and 100-mm submachine guns from the ship and make them coastal stationary or semi-stationary installations.

Fantasy? But the Americans have long ago made such an "inappropriate use" of the Vulcan-Phalanx ship complex – a close analogue of the AK-630M. The rate of fire is 50 rounds per second. The Yankees put a 20-mm Mark 15 Phalanx naval artillery system on the truck along with target detection, capture and fire control systems, calling it Centurion C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortars – "against unguided missiles, artillery shells and mortar rounds"). However, in terms of mobility, it is inferior to the same "Shell". But no one was going to send the C-RAM to the front line – this is a rear air defense system. The complex is located on a four–axle trailer, the speed of transportation is up to 20 km/h. C-RAM has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2005. On July 5, 2021, a C-RAM installed in the courtyard of the American embassy in Baghdad shot down two drones. Kiev has long been asking the United States to supply it with several C-RAM complexes.

Don't we have a hundred or two serviceable AK–630M and powerful trucks? But whether to create new expensive anti–aircraft systems based on retro-weapons - 57-mm S-60 guns and 23-mm automatic weapons-23–2 – you need to think hard.


At the Army-2023 forum, the newest prototype Spartak armored car with a 57-mm SAZP-57 automatic cannon was presented. I'm photographing him. An imposing uncle, obviously a "firmach", comes up to me and sternly asks: "This is a closed territory. Who let you in here?" I apologize: "Oh, and I thought it was a retro-truck with a 57-mm Grabin S-60 cannon that fought 70 years ago in Korea." "Firmach" turned sour and trotted back.

Well, there are a lot of 57-mm S-60 cannons, they are still effectively hitting lightly armored targets at a range of 5-6 km: helicopters, drones, etc. But I strongly doubt the effectiveness of the S-60 in the fight against Tomahawks or F-16 fighters. In local conflicts, the S-60 was placed in the field on any chassis that came to hand. ISIS militants (the organization is banned in the Russian Federation) installed C-60s on trucks. In the autumn of 1998, the APU tested a new ACS – BTR-80 at the Chernihiv training ground, where a C-60 cannon was installed instead of a turret. But such exoticism has not yet been noticed on the battlefields. But the APU is used in battles at least several dozen S-60s mounted on a tracked armored personnel carrier MTLB. Apparently, the recoil of the gun negatively affects the engine.

Since 2014, the Donbass militia has been installing C-60s on trucks and even on T-55 tanks, replacing the turret with a large box-shaped armor shield. In 2020, Armenians fought in Karabakh on MTLB with the installed C-60. Finally, Russian troops in Ukraine are using the S-60 on the Ural-4320 truck. Alas, the S-60 is extremely outdated, and there are no modern types of 57-mm ammunition for them. It is possible and necessary to make "home-made on the knee" at the front, making improvised self-propelled artillery installations with both the S-60 and the 23-mm twin gun ZU-23–2. But creating new chassis for them and mass–producing at large factories are "two big differences," as they say in Odessa.

For example, in the mid-1990s, the Tochmash Design Bureau was working on an upgraded version of the 23-mm towed ZU-23M installation. 25 years have passed, and the ZU-23M series has not gone. And how much money was spent in it is a state secret. And at the Army-2023 forum, Tulamashzavod presented another towed modernization– the ZU-23AE. Compared to the original ZU-23–2, the rate of fire was reduced fourfold, from 2000 to 500 rounds per minute – "in order to save expensive shells." And what, has the production of new "expensive" 23-mm shots been adjusted?

According to the manufacturer, three ZU-23AE can be placed at a distance of 100 m from each other. The operator of one of them can control the other two in automatic mode. He has a target tracking machine with an optical guidance unit, which is equipped with tele- and thermal imaging cameras and a laser rangefinder. I can't understand: why do three installations with a total rate of 1500 rds/min instead of one with a rate of 2000 rds/min? The decrease in pace can be understood when shooting at ground targets. But for low-flying air targets in the twentieth century, 20-30 mm caliber installations were created with a rate of fire of up to 6000 rounds /min. Usually blocks with six or seven barrels of 20-30 mm caliber were used. From the advertisement it turns out that one operator ZU-23AE will replace 27 calculation numbers of three ZU-23–2. I admit that such a thing is possible on a ship. And in the field, the calculations of three ZU-23AE will only increase due to specialists in lasers and other novelties.


On the "closed" platform behind the rope, I saw an iron trough with a 4×4 wheel formula – a miracle yudo without windows and doors. It turned out to be the "Chisel" autodron created by JSC "Remdiesel" (Naberezhnye Chelny). The weight of the Chisel is 16 tons, the maximum speed (apparently on the highway) is 100 km/h. A fully automated ZU-23 is installed on the Chisel. Yes, he can also transport goods.

The prospectus states: "Autonomy – 10 km." I didn't understand that. Is this the limit distance for the operator? And the "Chisel" will be worn through the fields of Bakhmut pitted with trenches and craters? And will it smash up land objects and APU drones? They say that unmanned trucks are already driving on the Moscow–Petersburg highway. Numerous information sensors are installed on the highway. The car tracks are corrected by the GLONASS system. But whether the uncle is sitting on the autodron, it is unknown. By the way, both sides are successfully jamming satellite navigation in Ukraine.

And what is this superweapon – ZU-23–2? This is a towed anti-aircraft gun, adopted on June 22, 1960. Serial production of the units was carried out at plants No. 525 in Kuibyshev and No. 535 in Tula. Ammunition was produced in Zelenodolsk and Dzerzhinsk. The ZU-23–2 proved to be effective in combat and easy to operate. In the twentieth century, they entered service with 60 countries of the world and participated in all local wars of the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the XXI century. Since 1970, self-propelled 23-mm installations have been created in army repair units and in militant detachments. In the USSR, the ZU-23–2 was put on cars GAZ-66, ZIL-130, ZIL-131, Ural-375, Ural-4320, on armored personnel carriers MTLB, MD "Shell", etc. Dashing cars – ZU-23–2 on jeeps of all brands have been running around Iraq and Syria for 15 years. By 2014, about 300 old Soviet ZU-23–2s were in the APU and in warehouses. But the installations and ammunition for them have never been produced in Ukraine. Since 2014, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Donbass militia have put the ZU-23–2 on GAZ-66, ZIL-131, MTLB armored personnel carriers and even BTS-4 tank tractors.

According to media reports, in the fall of 2017, the Ukrainian State Enterprise KB "Artillery Armament" established the production of KBA40 barrels for the ZU-23–2. And in June 2021, a towed clone of the ZU-23–2, manufactured by the Ukrainian Armored Vehicles company, was tested at the Rivne training ground. In addition, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are receiving ZU-23–2 and their national upgrades from Poland, Finland and other countries. Ukrainian TV showed exercises of the 122nd Territorial Defense Brigade near Odessa with the use of 23itk61 - the Finnish modernization of the ZU-23–2. As you can see, there are hundreds of "Zushkas" working on both sides in Ukraine. But does Russia need to put the ZU-23–2 back into mass production after half a century, even in a modernized version? According to the press, our factories are already producing 23-mm barrels for the ZU-23. And this, apparently, is enough.

And all fans of the ZU-23 and S-60 retroart systems need to carefully calculate everything once again according to the efficiency/cost criterion. "Self-made on the knee", installed on cars and armored personnel carriers, have a very high efficiency / cost ratio. Remrota can install the ZU-23 on a truck or APC in a day or two. The expenditure of funds is minimal: give soldiers half a liter of "product 38" (secret index of 1941) on the nose. And that's it.

Alexander Shirokorad

Alexander Borisovich Shirokorad is a writer and historian.

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The material is placed by the copyright holder in the public domain
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Comments [5]
08.09.2023 14:26
Против артиллерии ВСУ и Хаймарсов должны круглосуточно работать РСЗО Смерч/Торнадо-С   с управляемыми реактивными снарядами и крупнокалиберные САУ Малка калибра 203мм с активно-реактивными корректируемыми снарядами большой дальности "Краснополь-203мм"

Тогда и зенитки не понадобятся!
08.09.2023 23:02
Работать против арты и хаймарсов не проблема, проблема их обнаружить, особенно хаймарсы, которые стреляют с шоссе и буквально сразу после короткого залпа отваливают - даже "Гермесы" с почти гиперзвуком долететь не успеют (после обнаружения места старта GMLRS, GLSDB, пока передадут координаты, пока по ним наведутся, на полёт на много десятков км тоже нужно время - уедет). Надо чтобы после обнаружения (группировка очень низкоорбитальных специализированных спутников?) координаты мгновенно вбивались и через пару секунд старт условного "Гермес-2" с маршевой скоростью 10 км/с - тогда можно успеть.
10.09.2023 03:11
Цитата, Враг сообщ. №2
проблема их обнаружить, особенно хаймарсы, которые стреляют с шоссе и буквально сразу после короткого залпа отваливают

Поскольку  полноценная низкоорбитальная спутниковая разведывательная группировка РФ на территорией Украины будет  развёрнута ешё лет через ......надцать вся надежда на ударно-разведывательные  БЛА Орион/Иноходец, спосоные длительное время патрулировать большой район и при обнаружении цели типа Хаймерса взять на прицел и либо самостоятельно уничтожить, либо навести ракету.
10.09.2023 03:20
Цитата, штурм сообщ. №3
взять на прицел и либо самостоятельно уничтожить, либо навести ракету
Ну, или, отследить место стоянки и уже там уничтожить.
29.09.2023 22:44
Цитата, штурм сообщ. №3
вся надежда на ударно-разведывательные  БЛА Орион/Иноходец, спосоные длительное время патрулировать большой район и при обнаружении цели типа Хаймерса взять на прицел и либо самостоятельно уничтожить, либо навести ракету.
При нынешней насыщенности ПВО у ВСУ - это не реально. Быть может нужен какой-то барражирующий БПЛА-камикадзе, возможно новый "Италмас" с дальностью более 200 км - он хотя бы не очень дорогой и если собьют, то это не так накладно, как потерять "Иноходец", он сможет как искать, так и атаковать HIMARS-ы. Но я бы всё же попытался сделать там вместо слишком шумного ДВС тихий электродвигатель, а то шахид-мопеды "Герани" просто кричат о своём появлении на всю округу и в них начинают стрелять все, кому не лень, а с тихим движком больше шансов проскочить всё же.
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