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2S14 "Sting-S" Self-propelled anti-tank gun

The rapid development of armored vehicles in the Cold War led to the emergence of new types of weapons designed to combat them. Some prospective projects proved their capabilities and were developed, while other developments turned out to be dead-end. In the 1970s, the Soviet defense industry created a project for a self-propelled anti-tank cannon 2S14 "Sting-S". This machine could be of great interest to the troops, but the limited characteristics did not allow it to advance further to ground tests.

The history of the 2S14 Sting-S project dates back to the studies of the mid-1960s. During this period, the research organizations of the Ministry of Defense worked to create a renewed structure of rocket forces and artillery adapted for the use of modern and advanced weapons. Among other things, there was a proposal to resume the creation of anti-tank guns. The equipment of the probable enemy had already managed to obtain sufficiently effective protection from the existing ammunition used, in particular, as part of missile systems, and therefore a new means of fighting it was required. As a result, it was proposed to return to the creation of specialized anti-tank guns.

Later, requirements for prospective anti-tank weapons were formed. In the foreseeable future, at the regimental and divisional level, it was necessary to use tools of caliber 100 and 125 mm in self-propelled execution. Such weapons were planned to be supplemented with 85-mm guns of high ballistics, intended for use in battalions. In contrast to the more "senior" systems, this tool should be done in both self-propelled and towed version. Work on this subject started in 1969.

The design engineer of the 85 mm anti-tank gun was assigned to KB-3 of the Gorky Automobile Plant. Just a few months after the start of this work, the design bureau was transformed into the Burevestnik Central Research Institute and became one of the main domestic developers of artillery. The project manager was appointed V.E. Silver.

The entire program for creating the 85-mm cannon received the designation "Sting." The towed gun should have been called the Sting-B, the self-propelled unit, respectively, the Sting-S. In the future, prospective samples were assigned GRAU indices. The towed gun was designated as 2A55, self-propelled gun - 2S14 with a 2A62 gun.

In the early 1970s, the specialists of the Petrel Research Institute were studying the available possibilities and designing a prototype model of a prospective 85-mm cannon. To test the basic ideas and solutions, a towed implement with the symbol KM-33 was built. With the help of this product, some characteristics were established, and the necessary design modifications were determined. The experience gained in testing the mock-up sample was planned to be used in the further development of the Sting project, both towed and self-propelled. In addition, using the KM-33 cannon, the Research and Development Machine-Building Institute was able to develop a number of prospective 85-mm caliber ammunition.

In parallel with the refinement of the existing instrument, the design of its carrier was carried out. In accordance with the requirements of the customer was formed an interesting look prospective self-propelled guns. It had to be very different from the serial ACS of domestic development. The main difference was in the type of chassis used. It was proposed to build an armored vehicle not on the basis of a tracked chassis traditional for self-propelled guns, but based on a wheeled armored vehicle.

As a basis for the Sting-S self-propelled anti-tank gun (SPTP), it was proposed to use the revised BTR-70 armored personnel carrier chassis. This machine was supposed to be deprived of full-time weapons and equipment of the troop compartment. In place of the latter, a fighting compartment was formed with a swiveling turret, carrying all the required weapons. Thus, taking into account the peculiarities of the architecture and the tasks to be solved, from a modern point of view, the battalion SPTP can be classified as a so-called wheeled tank. The weight of the Sting-S was relatively small - 12.5 tons and the weight of the BTR-70 itself was only a ton less. Interestingly, the use of 2S14 was also discussed in the airborne units as a very light, but powerful enough anti-tank weapon.

As the basis for the new self-propelled gun, the chassis of the serial-production armored personnel carrier was chosen. The characteristic features of the BTR-70 led to the fact that during the development of the new project, no significant change in the design of the existing hull and chassis was required. Thus, the layout with the front location of the common crew compartment and the aft power compartment allowed placing the turret in the central part of the machine and leaving the placement of other main units without changes. In addition, the installation of the turret did not require significant alteration of the hull, except for the installation of a new shoulder strap and some strengthening of the roof.

SPTP 2S14 retained the existing armor hull, welded from armor plates with a thickness of not more than 8-10 mm with the most powerful protection in the frontal projection. The frontal assembly of a recognizable form remained in place, coupled with the sides of the wedge-shaped design. The aft part of the hull differed in decreasing cross section. The layout of the hull was redesigned in accordance with the new purpose of the machine. In the front part, the management department with two workplaces remained, the central compartment was placed under the fighting compartment, and the feed still had to accommodate the engines and part of the transmission devices.

The power plant of the armored personnel carrier and the self-propelled gun created on its basis consisted of two carburetor engines ZMZ-4905 with a power of 120 hp each. The engines were mounted on a common frame with a clutch and manual transmission. Next to them were also fuel tanks. With the help of several shafts, additional boxes and differentials, the torque of the engines was distributed to eight driving wheels.

Sustained suspension was developed earlier for the BTR-70. It consisted of four pairs of wheels with pneumatic tires equipped with a booster and pressure control system. The wheels were equipped with a lever-torsion suspension. The wheel hub was suspended on two levers, a torsion was used as an elastic element. Also in the undercarriage used 12 hydraulic shock absorbers double action. A number of ideas and solutions used in the creation of guns and combat compartment, allowed to do without any processing of the undercarriage in order to strengthen it. To move on the water machine had to use a water jet.

Especially for self-propelled guns of the new type, an original turret was developed, originally intended for the installation of the 2A62 gun. The turret received armor with a thickness of up to 6 mm and was supposed to consist of several sheets of different shapes, welded into a single structure. The cap of the turret differed in its original form. Its lower part was formed by a sheet made in the form of an inverted truncated cone of small height. Above it in the center of the frontal part was a box-shaped unit with means of fastening the gun, on the sides of which there were rectangular niches. The sides and the stern of the turret were made in the form of another conical surface. A roof arched in the center was used, on the left side of which there was a turret with a hatch. In the center of the stern there was a small rectangular niche with a round flap for ejection of spent cartridges.

The main weapon of the Sting-S self-propelled gun was the 85-mm smooth-bore gun 2A62, unified with the towed system 2A55. This gun received a long barrel, equipped with an ejector and a developed muzzle brake. To compensate for the recoil momentum, several rows of round holes were provided in the barrel muzzle. Such a muzzle brake, as shown by tests, extinguished up to 75-80% recoil. Most of the rest of the impulse was absorbed by the recoil devices. The gun used unitary loading and could show the rate of fire up to 20-25 rounds per minute.

The new gun could use several types of ammunition, specially developed under the Sting program. The main means of fighting a potential enemys tanks were armor-piercing piercing shells. In order to avoid the use of abnormal ammunition, the 2A55 and 2A62 guns were compatible only with the recommended shots. The use of other existing 85-mm shells was excluded with the help of some design features. In the existing fighting compartment could be placed laying on 35-40 shots.

At the design and testing stage, the use of additional machine guns or other weapons was not foreseen. Perhaps, with the further development of the project, a gun mount could get a twin gun, and smoke grenade launchers could appear on the turret.

According to reports, the crew of the prospective UTP 2S14 was to consist of three or four people. The driver was placed in the front of the hull. Next to him could be located commander. The control unit retained a pair of roof hatches. For observation could be used frontal glazing with an armored cassette or periscopic devices. Places for the gunner and loader were in the fighting compartment. It was possible to get into the turret through a manhole in the roof, and through the side hatches characteristic of the BTR-70. The crew had optical instruments, including sighting equipment, as well as a radio station R-173.

The absence of major modifications to the existing chassis led to the preservation of certain geometrical characteristics. So, the length of the self-propelled gun on the body was equal to the corresponding parameter of the BTR-70 and was 7.51 m. The length of the cannon was 9.95 m. The width was slightly less than 2.8 m and the height was 2.5 m. The combat weight of the armored car was 12.5 t. A slight increase in weight allowed to maintain mobility at the level of the base sample.

The first and, as it turned out later, the last prototype of the 2S14 Sting-S self-propelled anti-tank gun was built in 1975 and soon sent for testing. After the factory tests and the correction of minor defects, the car was handed over to specialists of the military department. Tests in the interests of the army were carried out at the Rzhev artillery range and at the sites of the Research Institute of Armored Vehicles in the city of Kubinka. As can be seen in the available photos, the prototype did not immediately receive a full-fledged combat compartment. Until a certain time, only the turret without a cannon was located on the chassis. The extensive testing program took a lot of time. The prototype overcame various routes and attacked training objectives until the very end of the 1970s.

In 1980, the commission, which monitored the test, analyzed the data collected and summarized the project. During lengthy inspections, it was found that SSP Sting-S has a number of positive features, but it is not without its most serious flaws. On the basis of technical characteristics and combat capabilities, the prospective model was not recommended for use.

The undoubted advantage of the developed armored vehicle was the use of a ready-made serial chassis that had undergone minimal modifications. This made it possible to set up mass production relatively quickly and simply, and also greatly simplified the operation of equipment in the army. In addition, the chassis gave a very high mobility both on roads and on rough terrain. A new 85-mm smooth-bore gun with a special armor-piercing projectile showed quite high combat qualities and confirmed the possibility of defeating various armored targets.

However, there were drawbacks. Thus, the base armored personnel carrier and the new turret had armor no more than 810 mm thick, which was sufficient only to protect against small arms bullets. It was also found that the 85mm 2A62 cannon had limited combat capabilities. Armor-piercing shells of this weapon could surely hit various potential armored vehicles with bullet-proof or relatively weak bullet-proof armor. However, the sub-caliber shells of the gun did not have enough energy to break through the combined armor of the newest foreign main tanks. The armor penetration peprformance of the 2A55 and 2A62 guns were about one and a half times lower than the 125-mm gun 2A46.

Another issue with the guns of the family "Sting" was associated with their modernization potential. The combat qualities of the guns could be improved with the help of specialized guided missiles launched through the barrel. By the time the 2A55 and 2A62 projects appeared, the Soviet industry had time to begin production of such missile systems, and the army began to master them. However, the level of technology development at that time did not allow the creation of a similar ammunition in the caliber of 85 mm. Thus, prospective weapons in the foreseeable future could use only classic sub-caliber and cumulative munitions with limited combat characteristics.

The limited characteristics of the existing guns, as well as the lack of capacity building through the creation of new ammunition, led to a corresponding decision by the military. The SPS 2S14 Sting-S with the 2A62 gun, as well as the towed 2A55 Sting-B gun, were not recommended for use. Obtaining the required characteristics and capabilities without a radical processing of weapons and equipment was not possible. As a result, shortly after completion of the tests in 1980, the entire program with the code Sting was stopped.

During the tests, it was found that the original idea of a battalion self-propelled anti-tank gun of 85 mm caliber - with all the seemingly positive features - had very limited prospects. The continued development of armored vehicles of likely opponents led to an increase in the parameters of its protection and a decrease in the effectiveness of existing anti-tank weapons. Moreover, obtaining acceptable armor penetration characteristics and their preservation for a long time with a caliber of 85 mm was not possible.

Nevertheless, some ideas that appeared in the second half of the sixties, nevertheless, were developed and found application in the army. So, much later, the self-propelled antitank cannon 2S25 Sprut-SD, based on some fairly old ideas, was adopted by the airborne troops. It should be noted that this combat vehicle received a 125-mm smooth-bore gun. This caliber allowed the required firepower, and also provided an acceptable modernization potential.

For testing, only one prototype was built. After completing the checks and closing the project, this car was handed over to the museum of armored vehicles in Kubinka. For many years, a unique prototype was stored on one of the open-air museum sites. Only relatively recently, the experimental self-propelled 2S14 was sent for restoration and after it was introduced into the exposition of one of the pavilions dedicated to Russian armored combat vehicles. Now everyone can see it.



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