A year ago General-Lieutenant Mikhail Matveyevskiy asserted that Russian Army firepower will increase 50 to 100 percent by 2021. This will come, he said, by forming new missile and artillery units and reequipping existing ones.
In December, Izvestiya talked to MOD sources who provided more specifics on what’s happening in the artillery.
The Ground Troops are reinforcing artillery regiments and brigades with new 9K512 Uragan-1M heavy multiple rocket launchers, and are returning very large-caliber guns and mortars to the order-of-battle. These systems provide greater firepower and extend the reach of Russia’s artillery.
According to Izvestiya, in 2013-2017, “seven self-propelled artillery regiments were formed in five motorized rifle and two tank divisions.” They are likely the brigades that were converted back to divisions in the last couple years. As maneuver brigades, they typically had two SP howitzer battalions and one MRL battalion (122-mm BM-21 Grad MRLs). Adding an Uragan-1M battalion is a significant upgrade.
The paper noted an independent artillery regiment was also established as part of the Black Sea Fleet’s 22nd Army Corps in Russian-occupied Crimea.
The MOD started adding heavy Uragan-1M MRLs to the reestablished maneuver divisions in late 2016. Izvestiya reported that the 275th SP Artillery Regiment (4th Kantemir Tank Division) got a “full battalion set” of eight Uragan-1M launchers. The earlier 9K57 Uragan MRL also typically deployed to artillery brigades in eight-launcher battalions.
The Uragan-1M can fire cluster, volumetric, guided, and enhanced range munitions and use 122-mm, 220-mm, or 300-mm rockets. It has a 70-km range. Its rate of fire is faster than older MRLs because it can reload complete racks of loaded tubes instead of reloading individual tubes mounted on the launch vehicle. It may fire two salvos before maneuvering to avoid counterbattery fire.
According to the paper’s sources, the Uragan-1M’s automated command and control system and fire control computer allows the MRL to destroy targets “in real time without crew input.”
Izvestiya reported that the 45th Svir Order of Bogdan Khmelnitskiy High Power Artillery Brigade was reestablished at Tambov in 2017. It operates two battalions (eight each) of 203-mm SP 2S7 Pion guns and one battalion (eight) of 240-mm SP 2S4 Tyulpan mortars. These large-caliber systems can destroy reinforced targets and field fortifications 122-mm and 152-mm weapons cannot. Pion has a range of 47 km. Tyulpan can reach 20 km and also fires Smelchak, a Soviet-era laser-designated munition.
The MOD told the paper that artillery brigades in the Central (385th) and Eastern MDs (165th and 305th) already have Pion and Tyulpan systems.
Mil.ru has reported that the 165th Artillery Brigade has the 2S7M Malka gun.
The article notes Orlan-10 UAVs are being widely deployed with Russian artillery brigades and regiments since last year. Procurement of UAVs certainly seems to be a priority.
Izvestiya concludes, while considered less effective than precision weapons in recent years, Russia’s artillery troops and new systems are getting more attention as they work toward a one-shot kill capability.