Slovakia will hand over to Ukraine eight 155-mm ShKH ZUZANA 2 self-propelled artillery units on TATRA 8 × 8 chassis and based on the previous version ZUZANA, reports Slovak media Defence 24. The new modification features a longer barrel of 52 calibers (range of 40.2 km), a tower that rotates 360 degrees, an updated armored cabin and a reduced crew due to automation.
Interestingly, Slovakia ordered 25 ZUZANA 2 SAUs in 2018, and the first artillery vehicles were handed over to the Slovak army only in July 2021. They were to replace the previous version – 16 first-generation ZUZANA units. Accordingly, the transfer of eight systems to Ukraine may affect the delivery plan for the Slovak army, but the country has still taken this step.
ZUZANA 2 is an upgraded version of the Slovak self-propelled howitzer ZUZANA (which in turn is an upgrade of the Czechoslovak system DANA vz. 77), developed and manufactured by the Slovak company KONŠTRUKTA-DEFENCE. Compared to the previous version, the ZUZANA 2 has a new, longer barrel with a length of 52 calibers (previously 45 calibers), which allowed to increase the firing range to 41 km.
ZUZANA 2 is also equipped with a new armored cabin. In addition, the launcher can rotate 360 degrees (previously only 60 degrees), and due to automation, the number of crew members is reduced from 4 to 3. The howitzer has auto-charging, as well as the ability to fire in MRSI (Multi Round Simultaneous Impact) mode, which is planning the fire so that several shells hit the target at once.
The supply of ZUZANA 2 will be the introduction into the Ukrainian army of another 155-mm artillery system after M109, CAESAR, AHS Krab, M777, FH-70, and in the future Panzerhaubitz 2000. Most of the supplied howitzer guns are towed, with much less mobility than self-propelled systems, but, as we can see, the latter will also be gradually delivered to Ukraine.
Increasing the number of NATO-caliber systems allows the next batch of artillery ammunition to be sent from countries using 155-mm shells, not only to replenish supplies but also to increase the range of fire. Although the use of such an “artillery mosaic” by the Armed Forces can cause logistical problems, it is necessary in this situation, as none of the NATO countries can and does not want to transfer all its arsenal, but only part of it. However, keep in mind that 155 mm howitzers are standardized (JBMoU agreement), so they can use conventional ammunition stockpiles.
SpGH ZUZANA 2 specifications:
Caliber – 155 mm
Barrel length – 52 cal
Number of ammunition carried – 40 projectiles/40 charges
Maximum range – 39.6 km
Minimum range– 5.6 km
Rate of fire – 6 rounds per min.
Loading of projectiles and charges – fully automatic
Turret traverse – 360°
Elevation/Depression – +70°/-3,5°
Crew – 3
Chassis – modified TATRA 8×8
Length – 12.97 m
Width – 3.015 m
Height – 3.300 m
Total weight of the system – 28 450 kg
Maximum speed – 80 km/h
Maximum road range – 750 km
Overcoming of obstacles:
Trench – 2 m
Vertical step – 0.6 m
Fording – 1.4 m