2S4 Tyulpan [SM-240(2S4)]

The Soviet forces used the 240mm 2S4 self-propelled Tyulpan [tulip] mortar for the first time in combat in Afghanistan. It is a particularly accurate weapon when it fires the laser-guided Smel’chak [daredevil] round.

Introduced in 1970, the 2S4 mounts a 240mm breech-loading mortar on a tracked vehicle based on the GMZ minelayer chassis. The mortar, complete with baseplate, lies along the length of the vehicle when in transit. To deploy, the mortar is rotated around a hinge at the rear of the vehicle, so that it comes to rest facing away from the vehicle to the rear, with the baseplate on the ground. Elevation is from +45° to +80°, with 8° of traverse.

Four men are carried in the vehicle, though a total of nine are required to load and fire the mortar. Twelve mortar bombs are carried in the vehicle, and a small hand-operated crane is fitted to the rear to facilitate loading. The mortar has a rate of fire of around one per minute, and can fire HE, chemical, and nuclear rounds. The 240mm mortar was the first artillery piece to be equipped with nuclear ammunition.

The chassis for this was a modified version of that used in the SA-4 ‘Ganef’ surface-to-air missile system. The vehicle hull has welded steel armour, with the driver at the front left and the engine to his right. The hull of the 2S4 gave the crew protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. To the rear of the driver is the commander, who is provided with a raised cupola, on which is mounted a 7.62mm PKT machine gun. The vehicle provides NBC protection for the crew while they are inside, though they have to exit the vehicle to operate the mortar. The 240mm smoothbore mortar was transported complete with its base plate on top of the hull in a horizontal position. The mortar could be hydraulically lifted by remote control to the rear of the vehicle so that in its firing position it faced rearward. Some forty mortar bombs were carried in two drum magazines which are off-loaded via a hatch in the roof. The mortar could fire conventional high explosive fragmentation bombs or an HE FRAG rocket-assisted projectile, which had a range of 18,000m. Only about 400 2S4s were built and some were supplied to the former Czechoslovakia, Iraq and Lebanon.

Specifications: 2S4 Tyulpan

Crew: 4 + 5 in ammunition carrier

Combat weight: 30 tonnes

Length: 8.5m

Width: 3.2m

Height: 3.2m

Ground clearance: 0.46m

Maximum road speed: 50km/h

Maximum road range: 500km

Gradient: 65%

Vertical obstacle: 1.1m

Armament:

1x 240mm mortar (12 rounds)

1x 7.62mm PKT MG

Armour: 15-20mm

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