NATO Calibre Opens New Export Opportunities for MSTA-S
Russia will undoubtedly strengthen its positions in the artillery sector of the world arms market by starting promoting its new 155-mm 2S19M1-155 Msta-S self-propelled howitzer. Specialists in the Rosoboronexport arms trade company believe that deep upgra
THE NEW SELF-PROPELLED HOWITZER is a profound upgrade of the 152-mm 2S19 Msta-S howitzer in service with the Russian Army since 1989, which showed itself to best advantage in two military campaigns in the Northern Caucasus. It has established a good reputation for high manoeuvrability and fire accuracy. However, despite impressive technical characteristics and combat capabilities, the 152mm Msta-S failed to gain popularity in the world arms market. Few countries only have procured small batches of this selfpropelled howitzer.
Experts are unanimous in noting that this strange gap in Msta-S exports has been caused by a massive transition from the 152-mm Soviet calibre to 155-mm NATO standard started in the early 1990s. This is why Russia has lost some positions in this market segment. The introduction of the new 155-mm Msta-S must rectify such incongruity.
The new Msta-S has an upgraded targeting and fire control system comprising ballistic computer, topographic survey and orientation system and satellite navigation equipment, designed to provide automatic targeting and data storage for at least 10 fire missions.
The new howitzer can engage targets from closed firing positions, including with unaimed fire when there are no visible aiming points, and conduct direct fire by day and night and in mountains at elevation angles ranging from - 4 to +70 .
It fires the 155-mm HE M1A4 and HE BB M1A4 NATO-standard high-explosive fragmentation rounds at the range of up to 40 km. Provision is made for firing with the Russian laser-guided projectiles Krasnopol-M2. The automatic projectile and semi-automatic propellant charge loading systems facilitate crew work and provide high rate of fire (up to 6-8 rds/min) at all aiming angles. It means that a battery of eight howitzers can bring down up to three tonnes of projectiles in one minute upon a target. When firing at a maximum range, up to 70 projectiles will be up in the air simultaneously before the first projectile hits the target.
The ammunition allowance is carried in the turret and includes 42 155-mm rounds for the howitzer and 300 12.7-mm cartridges for the anti-aircraft machine gun.
At present the new 155-mm Msta-S howitzer is taking part in the important tender for supplying self-propelled howitzers to the Indian Army.
It surpasses its main competitors by rate of fire and cruising endurance, and at the same time it has smaller size and weight. In addition, the Russian howitzer can be loaded and fired in the all-round (360 ) sector in relation to the vehicle centerline.
Experts note that the new Msta-S meets all modern requirements and at the same time surpasses the best world prototypes by a number of characteristics.
It is worthy of mentioning that some customers, for instance India, may find it especially important that the Msta-S chassis is very much unified with the chassis of the T-90S main battle tank (which is being successfully manufactured in that country under licence). Thus it facilitates maintenance, repairs and spares delivery.