2S3 Akatsiya

SO-152 is a Soviet 152.4 mm self-propelled artillery developed in 1968. It was a response to the American 155 mm M109. The development started in 1967 according to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union from July 4, 1967. In 1968 the SO-152 was completed and in 1971 entered service. Its GRAU designation is 2S3 (2?3). The fighting vehicle also received the additional designation Akatsiya, which is Russian for acacia.


2S3 Akatsiya
Class Vehicle
Type Self-Propelled artillery
Manufacturer Uraltransmash
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1971
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Afghanistan View
Algeria View
Angola View
Armenia View
Cuba View
Ethiopia View
Georgia View
Hungary View
Kazakhstan View
Libya View
Russia (USSR) 1971 View
Russia (USSR) View
Syria View
Tajikistan View
Turkmenistan View
Ukraine View
United States of America View
Uzbekistan View
Vietnam View
Slovakia View
Azerbaijan View
Belarus View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Uraltransmash 1971 View

Designated M1973 by the U.S. Army, the Akatsiya is armed with a 152.4 mm howitzer based on the Soviet 152.4 mm D-20 howitzer and is sometimes confused with the M109 self-propelled artillery. The artillery system was developed at the design bureau No. 9 of Sverdlovsk. The factory designation of the howitzer is D-22 and the GRAU designation, 2A33. The chassis was developed by Uraltransmash.

Driver's and engine-transmission compartments are located in a front part of a hull, fighting compartment with rotatory turret – in middle and rear parts of the hull. The armour is welded rolled steel. Howitzer is equipped with R-123 radio set, R-124 intercom, automatic CBRN defense system with filtration unit and fire-fighting equipment. The V-59 12-cylinder four-stroke water-cooled diesel engine connects with a mechanical twin gear transmission, a gear box is in one block with a planetary steering gear. The 2S3 has self-entrenching equipment which allows to prepare a trench within 20–40 min.

The crew consists of 4–6 men: a driver, a gunner, a loader, a commander, and two ammunition bearers, which are positioned to the rear of the vehicle feeding rounds through two hatches in the hull rear when in masked firing position.

Variants

  • 2S3 (SO-152) – Basic variant, developed in 1968. Produced in 1970–1975. Two modifications used D-11 and D-11M howitzers.
  • 2S3M (SO-152M) – Equipped with a mechanized drum-type stowage for 12 rounds, the amount of hatches in rear armored plates of the hull and the turret was reduced, the configuration of those hatches was changed, antenna of R-123 radio set was transferred on a turret top. Ammunition was increased from 40 to 46 rounds (usually consists of 42 OF-540 and OF-25 HE-Frag projectiles, and of 4 BP-540 HEAT-FS projectiles). Much more powerful OF-29 HE-Frag projectiles and OF-38 Krasnopol laser-guided rocket-assisted projectiles were developed for SO-152M. The modernized howitzer has a designator 2A33. Produced in 1975–1987.
  • 2S3M1 (SO-152M1) – Equipped with a command data acquisition and display equipment, and with a new SP-538 sight. OF-38 Krasnopol laser-guided rocket-assisted projectiles were added to standard ammunition. Produced in 1987–1993. All 2S3s and 2S3Ms were modernized to 2S3M1 level.
  • 2S3M2 (SO-152M2) – Modernized variant equipped with an automatic fire control system, a satellite navigational system, and smoke grenade launchers. Developed in 2000.
  • 2S3M2-155 – An export-oriented variant of 2S3M2 equipped with a new 155 mm M-385 howitzer. Developed in 2000.
  • 2S3M3 – An experimental variant of 2S3M2 equipped with a further improved fire control system and a modernized howitzer 2A33M that can fire ordnance of a more powerful 2A65 howitzer that equips the 2S19.

Former USSR

The 2S3 was intended for inventory of artillery regiments of Soviet tank and motor rifle divisions. At first only one gun battalion of each artillery regiment was equipped with the Akatsiya (18 self-propelled howitzers).

By the end of 1980s however self-propelled artillery regiments of Soviet first echelon tank and motor rifle divisions (e.g. those belonging to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany) each had 36 or 54 self-propelled howitzers of this type (2 or 3 gun battalions). So for example the following artillery regiments all had 54 Akatsiya on their strength:

  • 96th self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Borna) of 9th tank division
  • 724th Guards Warsaw self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Neustrelitz) of 16th Guards tank division
  • 400th Red Banner Transylvania self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Bernau bei Berlin) of 90th Guards tank division
  • 1054th Red Banner self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Rathenow) of 21st motor rifle division (actual strength: 53)
  • 54th Guards Red Banner Poznan self-propelled regiment (stationed in Halle) of 27th Guards motor rifle division
  • 944th Guards Red Banner Chernovtsy-Gniezno self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Leisnig) of 20th Guards motor rifle division
  • 283rd Red Banner Warsaw self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Olympisches Dorf) of 35th motor rifle division
  • 87th Guards Red Banner Poznan self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Gotha) of 39th Guards motor rifle division (actual strength: 52)
  • 199th Guards Red Banner Brandenburg self-propelled regiment (stationed in Wismar) of 94th Guards motor rifle division
  • 693rd Red Banner self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Stendal) of 207th motor rifle division

While the regiments below only had 36 Akatsiya:

  • 744th Guards Ternopol self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Altengrabow) of 10th Guards tank division
  • 841st Guards Red Banner Chernovtsy self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Chemnitz) of 11th tank division
  • 117th self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Mahlwinkel) of 12th Guards tank division had (actually 34)
  • 99th Guards Red Banner Pomerania self-propelled regiment (stationed in Magdeburg) of 47th Guards tank division
  • 172nd Guards Red Banner Berlin self-propelled artillery regiment (stationed in Rudolstadt) of 79th Guards tank division
  • And the 286th Guards Red Banner Prague howitzer artillery brigade stationed in Potsdam was equipped with no less than 72 Akatsiya.

Russia

In 2007 the Russian Army had 1,002 2S3 in active service and more than 1,000 in storage and the Russian Navy (marines) had 400 2S3 in active service and more than 600 in storage. As of now the Akatsiya are used by the following units of the Russian Army or are stationed in following bases (incomplete list):

  • 200th separate motor rifle brigade from Pechenga which is a part of the Leningrad Military District (36 Akatsiya)
  • 138th separate motor rifle brigade from Kamenka (near Vyborg) which is a part of the Leningrad Military District (36 Akatsiya)
  • 2nd Guards Taman motor rifle division from Alabino (near Moscow) which is a part of the Moscow Military District (96 Akatsiya in 3 motor rifle regiments and 1 tank regiment)
  • 3rd Sormovo motor rifle division from Mulino (near Nizhny Novgorod) which is a part of the Moscow Military District (96 Akatsiya in 2 motor rifle regiments and 2 tank regiments)
  • 4th Guards Kantemirovka tank division from Naro-Fominsk which is a part of the Moscow Military District (95 Akatsiya in 3 tank regiments and 1 motor rifle regiment)
  • 10th Guards Ural-Lvov tank division from Boguchar (Voronezh Oblast) which is a part of the Moscow Military District (75 Akatsiya in 2 tank regiments and 1 motor rifle regiment)
  • 81st separate motor rifle regiment from Samara which is a part of the Volga-Ural Military District (25 Akatsiya)
  • 27th Guards motor rifle division from Totskoye which is a part of the Volga-Ural Military District (73 Akatsiya in 2 motor rifle regiments and 1 tank regiment)
  • 19th Red Banner Voronezh-Shumlin motor rifle division from Vladikavkaz which is a part of the North Caucasus Military District (16 Akatsiya in 3 motor rifle regiments)
  • 205th separate motor rifle cossack brigade from Budyonnovsk which is a part of the North Caucasus Military District (12 Akatsiya)
  • 136th Guards Uman-Berlin separate motor rifle brigade from Buynaksk (Dagestan) which is a part of the North Caucasus Military District
  • 131st separate motor rifle brigade from Maykop (Adygea) which is a part of the North Caucasus Military District (24 Akatsiya)
  • 33rd separate motor rifle regiment from Prudboy which is a part of the North Caucasus Military District (12 Akatsiya)
  • two arsenals of Central Command in Perm (91 Akatsiya)
  • The 8th motor rifle brigade from Tiraspol (Russian operative group in Transnistria) has 36 Akatsiya.

As of now the Akatsiya are used by the following units of the Russian Navy or are stationed in following bases (incomplete list):

  • 385th storage in Lugovoe (near Kaliningrad) which belonged to the Baltic Fleet (24 Akatsiya)
  • storage in Gusev which belonged to the Baltic Fleet (31 Akatsiya)
  • 55th marine division from Vladivostok which belonged to the Pacific Fleet.

All the equipment of 817th self-propelled artillery regiment of 62nd Russian military base of the North Caucasus Military District was withdrawn from Akhalkalaki, Georgia in 2006 according to the Russian-Georgian Sochi agreement, the regiment had 30 Akatsiya and it had planned to relocate some of its self-propelled artillery to 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia.

At the moment the 2S3 is considered outdated due to an insufficient range compared to modern self-propelled artillery. A modernized variant was developed in 2000s and 2 gun battalions of the Russian Army (including one of the 2nd Taman motor rifle division) have been reequipped with the 2S3M2 in 2006.

Combat history

The 2S3 became a well-known self-propelled artillery after combat operations in Afghanistan where it proved to be an effective and reliable artillery system. 2S3s were used quite successfully during two Chechen wars and military conflicts on the territory of former USSR.

  • Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979–1989)
  • Civil War in Tajikistan (1992–1997)
  • First Chechen War (1994–1996)
  • Second Chechen War (1999)
  • South Ossetia War (2008)
  • Libyan Civil War (2011)
  • Syrian civil war (2011–present)
  • War in Donbass

Type Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1971–present


Wars Soviet War in Afghanistan
Civil War in Tajikistan
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
South Ossetia War
Libyan Civil War
Syrian civil war
War in Donbass
Production history
Designer Petrov Design Bureau
Designed 1967
Manufacturer Uraltransmash
Produced 1967–1993 (2S3, 2S3M and 2S3M1)
Variants see Variants
Specifications
Weight Maximum: 28 metric tons
Length Total: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
Hull: 7.765 m (25 ft 5.7 in)
Width 3.25 m (10 ft)
Height 3.05 m (10 ft)
2.615 m (8 ft 7.0 in) without a machine gun
Crew 4
Breech semi-automatic vertical wedge
Elevation -4° to +60°
Traverse 360°
Rate of fire Sustained: 1  rpm max: 4 rpm
Maximum firing range Conventional: 18.5 km (11.5 mi)
RAP: 24 km (15 mi)
Armor 15 mm (hull)
30 mm (turret and hull front)
Main
armament
152.4 mm D-22 howitzer L/27
(46 rounds, maximum)
Secondary
armament
7.62 mm remotely controlledPKT tank machine gun
(1,500 rounds)
Engine V-59
(12-cylinder 4-stroke V-shaped water-cooled diesel)
520 hp (382.7 kW) at 2,000 rpm
Power/weight 18.9 hp/t (13.92 kW/t)
Transmission mechanical double-flow, planetary gear-gearbox unit
Suspension independent torsion bars with hydraulic shock absorbers of 1st and 6th road wheels
Ground clearance 0.45 m (1 ft 6 in)
Fuel capacity 830 liters
Operational
range
500 km (310 mi)
Speed On-road: 63 km/h (39 mph)
Off-road: 45 km/h (28 mph)

End notes