Imminent Deployment of Russia's New Phlox 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar Carrier in Ukraine

According to information released by Russian media on August 10, 2023, images of the first serially produced 120-mm self-propelled artillery system, known as "Phlox" or 2S40, have surfaced on social networks. Deliveries to the Russian army are anticipated shortly, with rapid deployment expected on the Ukrainian battlefield.
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The new Russian-made Phlox 2S40 120mm mortar carrier will be soon deployed in Ukraine. (Picture source Social Network VK)

Previously, several Russian media also announced that the new Russian-made 2S43 Malva, a new Russian-made 152mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer will be soon deployed in Ukraine to perform first combat operations.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Russian army has deployed several military equipments and combat vehicles for the first time to test them under real battlefield conditions.

The deployment and testing of new combat vehicles and military equipment in real-life conflict scenarios, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, holds strategic significance for the Russian defense industry and its military forces. Real-world conflict provides an unparalleled opportunity to gauge equipment performance, far beyond what controlled environments or simulations can offer. Direct feedback from frontline personnel can guide improvements in design, usability, and overall reliability of these systems. Moreover, the use of new technologies aids in the development of tactics specifically tailored to their capabilities.

From a global perspective, showcasing new weaponry can act as a powerful strategic signal, underscoring a nation's military prowess, which can act as a deterrent to adversaries. Economically, the success of these systems on the battlefield could bolster export opportunities, as many countries prefer battle-proven equipment. Conversely, real-world deployments can highlight potential weaknesses in equipment, which is invaluable for subsequent iterations and refinements. For the soldiers on the ground, having advanced and efficient tools can elevate morale, knowing they possess a potential edge in the field. Finally, the exigencies of war often spur faster innovation, driving rapid responses to emergent challenges.

The 2S40 Phlox is a newly-developed Russian wheeled self-propelled artillery system. It's built on a truck chassis and is equipped with a 120mm mortar. Designed to operate close to the frontline, this artillery system features an armored crew cab that provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.

The 2S40 Phlox has the capability to fire a diverse range of ammunition, including High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT), High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), and smoke. Its maximum firing range with these types of ammunition reaches up to 13 km. Additionally, it can launch any 120mm mortar shells, boasting a maximum range of 7.5 km. For precision strikes against armored targets, the Phlox employs the Kitolov-2M precision-guided munitions with a range extending up to 10 km. The vehicle carries a total of 80 rounds, with 28 of them ready to use.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art fire control system, the 2S40 offers a high degree of accuracy. It can share firing data with an associated command post vehicle and also has the capability to select targets and operate autonomously. Operated by a four-man crew, the Phlox can be prepared for firing in just a few minutes. Furthermore, it can swiftly redeploy to evade counter-battery fire.

Imminent Deployment of Russias New Phlox 120mm Self Propelled Mortar Carrier in Ukraine 925 001
The 2S40 Phlox is armed with a 120mm mortar able to fire a wide range of ammunition at a distance of up to 13 km. (Picture source Russian VK Social Network)

Defense News August 2023