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Ukrainian Forces Destroy Russia's New Phlox 2S40 Mortar System recently entered into combat

On March 29, 2024, Ukrainian forces relayed via their social media platforms a notable military achievement: the Signum strike drone unit of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade detected and neutralized the very first next-generation Phlox 2S40 self-propelled mortar using a night-operating FPV drone. This self-propelled mortar, representing a major technological advancement for the Russian army, had been deployed on the Ukrainian front as early as October 2023. The action took place near Bakhmut, marking a significant success for the Ukrainian forces in defensive operations.
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Russia next-generation Phlox 2S40 self-propelled mortar destroyed by Ukrainian FPV drone (Picture source: Ukraine social media and Wikimedia)

As a reminder, on October 5, 2023, Rostec, a Russian state-owned company, officially announced the commencement of deliveries of the first batch of Phlox 2S40 6x6 120 mm self-propelled mortars to the Russian armed forces, likely intended for units stationed in Ukraine. These deliveries followed the successful completion of the final testing phase in August 2023, marking the formal adoption of this vehicle for active service within the Russian Army.

The development of this new wheeled 120 mm self-propelled mortar system was undertaken as part of the Sketch project, led by the Burevestnik Central Research Institute based in Nizhny Novgorod. Similar to the 2S43 Malva 8x8 152 mm self-propelled howitzer, the decision to opt for a wheeled chassis over tracked models offers advantages in terms of service life and cruising speed, while simultaneously reducing production and maintenance costs.

Built on the Ural 4320 6x6 truck chassis, the Phlox 2S40 features a five-seat armored cabin designed to protect against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The transported ammunition is also protected by armor. Positioned at the rear of the vehicle, the 120 mm mortar system is controlled by the commander from within the cabin. During firing operations, only the loaders are positioned outside the self-propelled gun.

This vehicle is notable for its 120 mm combined semi-automatic rifled gun, allowing it to function as a self-propelled howitzer, a mortar, and even for direct-fire engagements. With a firing rate that can reach up to 10 rounds per minute, it can also operate in a simultaneous fire attack mode, where multiple projectiles are fired sequentially at different gun elevation angles, converging on the target almost simultaneously. Moreover, the Phlox 2S40 shares ammunition compatibility with Russian self-propelled guns equipped with 120 mm combined rifled artillery systems like the 2S9 Nona-S, 2S31 Vena, and 2S34 Khosta.

This artillery system can fire a wide range of ammunition without compromising its firing rate, including High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT), High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), and smoke rounds, with a maximum firing range of up to 13 km. Furthermore, it can launch various 120 mm mortar shells and mines, extending its reach to a maximum of 7.5 km. For precision targeting against armored targets, the Phlox uses Kitolov-2M precision-guided munitions, providing a range of up to 10 km. The vehicle is equipped to carry a total of 80 rounds, with 28 immediately available for use.

Equipped with a modern fire control system, the 2S40 offers a high degree of accuracy, capable of sharing firing data with an associated command post vehicle and operating autonomously through its remote-controlled combat module featuring an electronic sight with a rangefinder, facilitating the determination of target coordinates that can be transmitted to other vehicles for coordinated action. With a crew comprising five individuals, including the driver, gun commander, and loaders, the Phlox can be prepared for firing within a matter of minutes and is capable of rapid redeployment to evade counter-battery fire.

The artillery system's fire control system includes a topographical reference and navigation complex to ensure precise targeting, with a special drive restoring aiming accuracy after each shot. For self-defense, the Phlox 2S40 is armed with a remote-controlled 12.7 mm Kord machine gun. Additionally, the Phlox is equipped with an optical-electronic suppression system, capable of identifying the origin of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and deploying a smoke screen for enhanced protection.


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