ZSU-57-2 Anti-Aircraft Artillery SPAAG
The ZSU-57 [ZSU = Zenitnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka - Anti-aircraft Self-Propelled Gun] it is distinguished by its pair 57mm cannons mounted to the front of the box type turret. The legendary "Infernal Thresher" was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun ZSU 57-2, adopted for service in the USSR in 1955. The anti-aircraft self-propelled unit was developed in 1950. It was produced serially from 1955 to 1960. It was in service with the Soviet Army, the armies of the Warsaw Treaty countries and a number of developing states. Used in many regional conflicts.
When the Great Patriotic War ended, the euphoria subsided a bit, analysis of the war began. the interpretation of the experience gained during the war that showed the utter failure of the army air defense system in the Red Army. In general, With air defense, everything was very bad, and people who were smart and warred came to the conclusion that something had to be done in this situation. The tank crew of the late 1940s relied on only an anti-aircraft machine-gun company. The main difference from the towed guns was that self-propelled air defense weapons were ready to open fire without any additional emplacement.
The situation had to be corrected by adopting an anti-aircraft self-propelled installation capable of firing from the course, not lagging behind the tanks on the march. And the installation would have to have sufficient caliber for effective defeat of enemy bombers and armored attack aircraft. The first serial ZSU created in the USSR was the ZSU-37, armed with an 37-mm 61-K gun. Conditionally serial, since its production was limited to 75 machines, released in 1945 year, which in the Red Army was not even a drop in the sea.
A more serious bid was the 57-mm C-60 automatic cannon, developed in the design bureau by VG Grabin. The gun was a success, but in the original version it had the same drawback - low mobility. Therefore, already from the 1947 of the year, even before the adoption of the C-60 into service, the development of its paired version under the designation C-68, designed to arm a self-propelled unit, began.
For the new ZSU chassis were created on the basis of the medium tank T-54. The new self-propelled unit received the factory designation "product 500" and the army ZSU-57-2 and was put into service after comprehensive tests conducted in the 1950 year.
According to the Museum of Armored Forces in Kubinka, its serial production was carried out at the factory number 174 in Omka from 1955 to 1960 (according to the book "History ... Ground Defense Air Force" serial production of the ZSU-57-2 took place at the factory number 1001 since September 1958). But according to other sources, the production of S-68 guns for this machine began at factory No. 946 only in 1957. From 1955 to 1960, in total, 857 units were produced. ZSU-57-2 were sent to the armament of anti-aircraft artillery batteries of tank regiments of two-platoon composition, 2 installations in platoon each.
At the heart of the S-68 installation was a modernized hull of the T-54 tank, the chassis of which was lightened - shortened by one pair of track rollers. The overall layout is original, with an open turret. Chassis – engine 12-cylinder, V-shaped diesel with water cooling; individual suspension, torsion, with paddle shock absorbers on the front and rear skating rinks.
The armament was automatic anti-aircraft guns in a rotating turret (with a cage feed and a conveyer of shot shells). The drive of the turret rotation and the lifting mechanism of the gun are electro-hydraulic. The automatic operation of the gun was based on the principle of using recoil energy during the short course of the barrel. The gun had a barrel-monoblock, piston sliding bolt, hydraulic rollback brake, spring knurled and equipped with a muzzle brake. Vertical (-5… + 85 °) and horizontal guidance were carried out using electro-hydraulic drives operated by an electric motor. The horizontal guidance speed was 30 °, the vertical speed was 20 ° per second.
In the event of failure of the electric drive, the possibility of manual pickup remained: the commander of the vehicle was responsible for horizontal guidance, and the gunner was vertical. This was a very problematic action, since in this case the commander and the gunner must have physical preparation well above average.
The turret accommodated six crew members who controlled a pair of 57-mm guns. The gun was raised at an angle of 85 degrees. A pair of loaders could provide a rate of fire of 100-120 rounds per minute (maximum reached 240), but the design of the guns required cooling the barrel every 50 rounds, which limited the rate of fire. The firing range was 12 km, but effective - about 4 km.
Protection was provided by the body, which was is welded from rolled armored plates. The turret is large, open from above. Apart from the driver, all crew members were located in an open turret. The workplaces of the crew members were arranged as follows: in front of the left — the left-loading weapon, behind it in the center of the gunner tower, to the right of the gunner — the fitter of the sight, in front of the right — the loading of the right gun, and in the center of the tower, the workplace of the ZSU commander. In the stowed position, the turret could be covered with a canvas awning.
In general, the combat effectiveness of the ZSU-57-2 depended on the crew qualifications and training of the platoon commander and was not very high. This was primarily due to the lack of radar in the guidance system. Effective fire to kill could be carried out only by stopping, shooting "from the course" at aerial targets was not provided at all. The comparative shooting efficiency of the ZSU-57-2 was significantly lower than that of a battery of similar design C-60 guns, since the latter had a PUAZO-6 with SON-9, and later - the radar instrument complex RPK-1 "Vaza". However, the strength of the ZSU-57-2 application was the constant readiness for opening fire, the absence of dependence on a twing vehicle, and the presence of the crew’s body armor.
The machine was used by the armies of 24 countries, eight of which still operate anti-aircraft guns. The machine went through 13 armed conflicts. The combat effectiveness of the ZSU-57-2 depended on the crew’s qualifications and the training of the platoon commander and was due to the lack of radar in the guidance system. Effective fire to kill could be conducted only from a stop; shooting "from the course" on aerial targets was not provided.
Due to the relatively low rate of fire and the lack of automated radar guidance devices, this machine did not differ in high efficiency. No one in the world had a better weapon. In the 1950s, the U.S. Army was armed with the Z19 M19 on the chassis of the M24 Chaffy light tank, developed in 1945, and the M42 on the chassis of the M41 light tank, which entered the army since 1954. The M42 with a pair of 40-mm guns inferior to Soviet guns in range and ballistics. And in service with the British Army were SPAAG on the basis of the Cruzader tank, created in 1943. All these vehicles were armed with 40-mm Bofors guns (American ZSU - twin, and English - single). The weight of their projectile was 0.934 kg, the initial speed of 875 m / s, the rate of fire of 120 rounds / min per barrel. All sights are manual optical. Against their background, the ZSU-57-2 was a more universal argument on the battlefield.
Indeed, when firing at jet aircraft at low and ultra-low altitudes and determining the target’s speed “according to the type of aircraft”, and the distance to the target - “by eye or using a rangefinder”, the probability of hitting it is extremely low. During the 1967 war, a very characteristic photo was taken on the Sinai Peninsula: the MiG-17 aircraft flies over Israeli positions at ultra-low altitude, and the soldiers did not have time to react to it - no one even turned his head toward the plane. It is clear that for the ZSU, at least an order of magnitude more rapid-fire guns were needed, the angular guidance speed was not 20-30 degrees / s, but 50-100 degrees / s and a fully automated fire control radar system.
ZSU-57-2 was widely used in the Vietnam War, in the Arab-Israeli conflicts. During the civil war in Lebanon, an anti-aircraft gun was used to combat snipers located on the upper floors of Beirut's skyscrapers. During the Iran-Iraq war, the machine became a means of destroying manpower and armored vehicles. It was at that time that the ZSU-57-2 received the nickname "infernal thresher".
According to various sources, the Soviet Union delivered about 200 such machines to Syria. They completed the units of the military air defense of tank and mechanized brigades. In the 1990s, anti-aircraft self-propelled guns were withdrawn from service. According to the Vestnik Mordovii publication , for the first time Soviet anti-aircraft guns were spotted on the battlefields in Syria, and their use surprised many military experts. For a while, the cars did not get into the lenses of video and camera when used as a self-propelled gun. Very often during local conflicts ZSU-57-2 was used to provide fire support to ground units. At least, on the battlefields there were very few armored targets capable of withstanding a BR-281U armor-piercing projectile hit, which, from a distance of 1000 m, flying from barrels with a speed of 1000 m / s, confidently punched up to 100 mm of armor.
China did not import the system from the USSR in 1950s, but rather acquired it from Iraq in the early 1980s. To meet Iraq's production order, NORICO attempted to manufacture a copy with the improved chassis of Type 69-II tank produced by IMFMW (Inner Mongoolia First Machinery Work, the only tank manufacturer in China. Several Type-80s were tested by the PLA.
By 2020 it as anticipated that the reincarnation of the legendary "infernal thresher" ZSU-57 - "Derivation-Air Defense" will return to service. This is a new vehicle based on the BMP-3 and the automatic combat 57-mm module AU-220M. The block fires 120 rounds per minute. Uses several types of ammunition, among which there are remotely detonated and guided. The machine is equipped with modern optoelectronic surveillance systems, thanks to which it sees even the smallest drones. Well, their swarm will be dealt with by shells with remote detonation.
With such an intensity of fire, "Derivation-Air Defense" is capable of literally placing dozens of ammunition in a row at one point and instantly detonating them, after which a cloud of striking elements will wipe the entire air army from the sky. The range of destruction of the ammunition of the complex is comparable to the range of use of laser-guided UMTAS anti-tank missiles, corrected high-precision planning precision bombs Roketsan MAM-C and MAM-L, standing on the Turkish drones Bayraktar TB2, ANKA-S, Aksungur.
The combat module AU-220M existed in several versions: for heavy tracked platforms, ships, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles or BRM-3K "Lynx" combat reconnaissance vehicles. He also has an aviation option, which allows us to create a so-called gunship. This is an analogue of the American C-130 Hercules aircraft with an artillery battery of 30-mm and 105-mm cannons placed on board for direct support of ground forces on the battlefield. We create such a caron the basis of the An-12 military transport aircraft.
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