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  • ZPU-4 Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System


    The ZPU-4 was a product of post-World War 2 Soviet design and formed a family of useful, towed anti-aircraft guns.

     Updated: 6/16/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    The ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun was developed in the post-war Soviet Union, seeing official operational service beginning in 1949. The towed artillery system was completed with four air-cooled, quick-change 14.5mm heavy machine guns featuring a maximum range out to 8,000 meters (roughly 5 miles) and an altitude range of 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) - this weapon was proven more effective in the 1,400 meter / 0.86 miles - altitude range. Improved optical gun sights were added later in its production life to help increase its battlefield effectiveness. The system could be set up and made ready-to-fire in less than thirty seconds, making it a flexible mobile air defense system. It went on to serve the Soviet Union well during its time as a frontline weapon and stocked the inventories of many Soviet-aligned customers through export.

    The ZPU-4 anti-aircraft system received its baptism of fire through operation by combat forces of China and North Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953). It saw considerable use against low-flying aircraft in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) where it became one of the most feared anti-aircraft weapons for American helicopters as the four-barreled arrangement could easily pierce critical components of the low-flying, slow-moving machines. Iraq managed a stock of these guns during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and many of these fell to disuse after the American-led invasion of 2003. The ZPU-4 has been witnessed in combat service as recently as the Syrian Civil War (2011-Present).


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    ZPU-4 Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1949
    Type: Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System
    National Origin: Soviet Union
    Manufacturer(s): State Factories - Soviet Union / China
    Production: 20,000



    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)


    Operating Crew: 5
    Length: 14.86 feet (4.53 meters)
    Width: 5.64 feet (1.72 meters)
    Height: 6.99 feet (2.13 meters)

    Operating Weight: 2 tons (1,810 kg; 3,990 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None
    Nightvision Equipment: None

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance


    Engine(s): None. This is a towed-artillery piece.

    Engagement Range: 4,971 miles (8,000 km)

    Armament and Ammunition


    4 x 14.5mm heavy machine guns

    Ammunition:
    4,800 x 14.5mm ammunition

    Global Operators / Customers


    Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Bangladesh; Benin; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; China; Republic of Congo; Croatia; Cuba; Egypt; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Iran; Iraq; Israel; North Korea; Laos; Libya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Mongolia; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Nicaragua; North Korea; Pakistan; Romania; Russia; Sao Tome and Principe; Seychelles; Sri Lanka; Somalia; South Africa; Sudan; Syria; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Vietnam; Yugoslavia; Zambia; Zaire; Zimbabwe

    Model Variants


    ZPU-1 - Single-barrel 14.5mm anti-aircraft machine gun; appearing in 1949.

    ZPU-2 - Double-barreled version; appearing in 1949.

    ZPU-4 - Four-barreled version; appearing in 1949.

    Type 58 - Chinese production version of the ZPU-2

    Type 56 - Chinese production version of the ZPU-4