2S4 TYULPAN gallery

In November 1953 a gigantic 240mm caliber mortar that would be designated in the West as M-240 was seen for the first time in public, during the Victory Day military parade performed in the Red Square. Despite its extraordinary firepower, its enormous dimensions and weight made it a very unwieldy weapon on the modern battlefield, where mobility is a critical factor in avoiding counter-battery fire and achieving full effectiveness. For this reason, in 1967 the studies began to be able to install this enormous mortar in a vehicle and take advantage of the full potential of the weapon.
After verifying that the chassis of the 122mm self-propelled howitzer 2S1 Gvozdika was not strong enough to withstand the great recoil force of the mortar, it was decided to use the same chassis of the 2K11 Krug (SA-4 Ganef) air-defense vehicle, that was larger and stronger. On the rear of this chassis a hydraulic system was installed that operates the base plate where the mortar barrel is placed. When the vehicle moves, the mortar rests horizontally on the roof of the chassis supported by metal fasteners.
Finally, three prototypes were built in 1969 and sent for testing, and after two years the new vehicle was accepted for service. The first artillery units received the new vehicle in 1972. The Uraltransmash company began mass production in 1974 under designation “2S4” and in 1975 the vehicle was seen publicly for the first time receiving the NATO designation “M-1975“. It is estimated that between 400 and 600 units have been produced, of which 390 are still in service.
The vehicle is of all-welded steel armour construction with the engine at the front and the crew located behind. The armour offers protection to its 4 crew members against small arms fire and shell splinters. The mortar requires 9 servers, so the other 5 travel in an armoured support vehicle that accompanies the Tyulpan. The vehicle has a 520 hp V-59 V-12 diesel engine that allows a top speed of about 60 km/h and a range of about 500 km. The suspension is of torsion bar type and each side is composed by six roadwheels, four track-return rollers, the drive sprocket at the front and the idler at the rear of the hull. The vehicle has an NBC protection system.
The main armament is a 240mm smoothbore breech-loading 2B8 mortar fitted with an autoloader. The mortar has an elevation from +50 to + 80º and a traverse of 10º each side at the lower elevation or 41º at the maximum. The movement of the barrel is powered and is triggered by an electrical or mechanical mechanism. The maximum range is about 18 km with rocket-assisted grenades or around 9 km with ordinary grenades and the minimum range is 800 meters. The rate of fire depends on the elevation of the barrel, and varies between 1 shot every 62 seconds if the elevation of 60º and 77 seconds if it is 80º.
The 2S4 Tyulpan carries 40 ordinary or 20 rocket-assisted grenades in two drum-type magazines, one on each side of the rear of the vehicle. In order to be loaded, the mortar tube is placed in a horizontal position, and then a ramming device introduces a grenade into the breech, then it is closed and the barrel is placed in the firing position again. In addition to the mortar, the vehicle has a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun for self-protection that can be fired from the inside. On the front of the hull has a dozer blade that is used to prepare firing positions.
The range of ammunition used by the Tyulpan is quite wide and currently comprises 5 types, 4 ordinary and 1 rocket-assisted. The ordinary ones are the high-explosive (HE) 53-F-864 grenade, the “Sayda” incendiary grenade, the 3O8 ‘Nerpa’ which contains 14 submunitions and the 1K113 “Smelchak” laser-guided grenade. The rocket-assisted munition is actually a “family” of rounds, jointly designated as ARM-0-3WF2 or 3WF2 grenades. It also had nuclear munitions, such as the 3BW4 grenade and the rocket-assisted 3WB11 grenade, in addition to grenades loaded with chemical agents, but these munitions were withdrawn at the end of the Cold War.
The 53-F-864 grenade has different fuzes, delayed or contact type and the 3WF2 rocket-assisted uses a 4BN56 propellant charge that propels the 228 kg 3F2 “Gagara” grenade about 18 km away. The 3O8 “Nerpa” grenade is of the cluster type and contains 14 fragmentation bomblets that fall on the target stopped by parachute. The 1K113 “Smelchak” precision grenade has a seeker head that “latches” onto a laser beam emitted by 1D15 or 1D20 designators. The 3BW4 and 3BW11 (rocket-assisted) nuclear grenades had a warhead of about 2 kT, but their range was always thought to be less than that of conventional grenades due to their greater weight.
This vehicle has been exported in small quantities to Czechoslovakia, which operated 4 units for a few years in the mid-1980s, and to Syria, which acquired 24 units. Currently Syria may have about 10 Tyulpans in service. In 2017 a variant of this weapon appeared, which is basically the same one that has been incorporated into a hydraulic recoil mechanism, a new fire-control system, a positioning system, new communications and a new barrel. Vehicles so modified have been designated 2S4 Tyulpan-M.
The Tyulpan has participated in the conflicts in which the USSR/Russia has been involved since its entry into service. It was in the Afghanistan War of the 1980s, and in the Chechen war during the first decade of the 21st century. The destructive power of the 2S4 was more than evident during this last conflict, in which it was used to destroy buildings through the use of the 1K113 “Smelchak” guided grenades, of terrifying effectiveness. More recently, in 2012, it is believed that Syrian Army has used it in the Civil War that devastated the country. In addition, it seems that during the War in Donbass, active since 2014, some units of 2S4 Tyulpan have been observed in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR or DNR) territory.

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