The ZPU (Russian: зенитная пулемётная установка, meaning "anti-aircraft machine gun mount") is a family of towed anti-aircraft gun based on the Soviet 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun. It entered service with the Soviet Union in 1949 and is used by over 50 countries worldwide.

Quadruple (ZPU-4), two double- (ZPU-2 and ZU-2) and single-barreled (ZPU-1) versions of the weapon exist.

Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1949
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) 1949 View

The series was used during the Korean War by Chinese and North Korean forces, and was later considered to be the most dangerous opposition to U.S. helicopters in Vietnam. Later it was used by Morocco and the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara War. It was also used by Iraqi forces during Operation Desert Storm and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In the Russian military, it was replaced by the newer and more powerful ZU-23 23 mm twin automatic anti-aircraft gun.

The type has seen widespread use by all sides in the 2011 Libyan civil war and Syrian Civil War often mounted on pickup-truck technicals with plenty of videos showing the gun engaging different targets.

The Lebanese Army has mounted the ZPU-2 and ZPU-4 on M113 armored personnel carriers to create armored self-propelled AA vehicles.

In April 2015, North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un ordered the execution of his Defense Minister, Hyon Yong-chol, using a ZPU-4 in front of hundreds of spectators.

Type Anti-aircraft gun
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1949 - present
Used by See Operators for users
Wars Korean War
Vietnam War
Yom Kippur War
Rhodesian Bush War
Western Sahara War
Cambodian Civil War
Soviet War in Afghanistan
Gulf War
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Iraq War
Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
Production history
Manufacturer Zpu
Variants ZPU-1, ZPU-2, ZPU-4

End notes