Belarus army receives upgraded 2S3M Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers from Russia

The Uraltransmash defense manufacturer (part of the Uralvagonzavod Group within the Russian state tech corporation Rostec) has completed the delivery of upgraded 2S3M Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers to Belarus, the company’s press office reported on Monday, August 30.
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2S3M Akatsiya 152 mm self-propelled howitzer displayed at Army-2017 defense exhibition near Kubinka (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The upgraded howitzers have been delivered under a contract with the Belarusian Defense Ministry, the press office said. "The artillery system and the recoil mechanism have been repaired, and the engine and the hull of the self-propelled guns have been modernized," the press office quoted Uraltransmash CEO Dmitry Semizorov as saying.

The 2S3 Akatsiya is a 152 mm self-propelled howitzer. The first two prototypes of the 2S3 were completed by late 1968 and testing continued through to 1969 but problems were encountered with contamination in the turret, so an additional four improved systems were built. The system was accepted for service with the Russian army in December 1971 although production had commenced the previous year. The 152mm 2S3 Akatsiya is designed to engage enemy personnel in the open and under shelter and to wipe out the adversary's weapons, military equipment and other targets to the depth of a division limit of advance. The 2S3 is always in service in the Russian armed forces and is used by several other countries in the world.

The 2S3 is armed with a 152 mm weapon, designated the 2A33, which is based on the towed 152 mm D-20 gun-howitzer but with a bore evacuator added behind the muzzle brake. The barrel has a double-baffle muzzle brake, fume extractor, and a gun barrel traveling lock. This howitzer has a crew of four.

According to Russian military sources, the 2S3M2 is armed with the new 2A33M cannon able to fire new ammunition with an effective firing range of 17.4 km for basic high-explosive (HE) shell, 20.5 km - for rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP), and 20 km - for high-precision guided projectiles (for instance, 3OF39 Krasnopol added as basic ammunition in 2S3M1`s ammunition load).

The 2S3M2 is also fitted with an automatic fire control system, a satellite navigational system, new communication systems, and smoke grenade launchers.

- 2S3M: The 2S3M and 2S3M1 have an ammunition load of 40 projectiles and charges and also a loading carousel which facilitates loading and therefore increases the rate of fire. These versions can be distinguished from the rear as they have two small stowage compartment covers positioned to the right and left of the hull rear as opposed to a larger oval cover in the center.
- 2S3M1: equipped with a data terminal with automatic displays.
- 2S3M2: new barrel 152mm/39 caliber, an increase of firing range to 25 km.
- 2S3M3: new 155mm/39 caliber for NATO types of ammunition. It can also fire the 155 mm Krasnopol-M laser-guided projectile out to 17 km.