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122mm Model 1963 (D-30 / 2A18) 122mm Towed Artillery / Howitzer (1963)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/2/2015

Despite its 1960s origins, the Soviet-era 122mm D-30 gun can still provide potent battlefield artillery support at range.

The D-30 122mm howitzer became the standard Soviet artillery battlefield system in 1963, replacing the aging World War 2-era 122mm M-30 model of 1938. The original system was developed to serve in support of motorized rifle elements equipped with the BTR series of wheeled Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). On the whole, the D-30 became a largely conventional artillery piece, reliable and robust under battlefield conditions, making it a favorite of Soviet allied nations and states during the Cold War decades. It still serves in surprising numbers on today's battlefields (2015).

The D-30 is cleared to fire standard FRAG-HE (FRAGmentation, High-Explosive) and HEAT-FS (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank, Fin-Stabilized) rounds. It is also capable of launching chemical rounds including TNT-detonated Sarin gas types. Rocket-Assisted Projectiles (RAP) extend the range of the weapon to that of 21,900 meters (13.6 miles). Sustained fire by a capably trained and well experienced gunnery crew can reach 4-8 rounds per minute. The gun has an elevation / depression limit of +70/-7 degrees and indirect fire and direct fire is possible. The gun mounting hardware sits atop a tripod base which also serves as the two-wheeled tow unit. Traversal is a full 360-degrees from centerline. Recoil is handled through a hydopneumatic system

As with other artillery pieces, the D-30 is towed into action. For Russian (and related forces), the primary mover vehicle has been the tracked MT-LB or Ural-375 wheeled vehicle though many other haulers are possible replacement candidates. Design of the weapon system has been attributed to F.F. Petrov with manufacture through the Motovilikha Plant.

Several variants have been manufactured beyond the original D-30 - which also carried the designator of "2A18". The weapon has been produced locally by China, Croatia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia (Serbia), and Sudan resulting in various localized designations appearing. The Egyptian D-30-M model has been featured in the Egyptian Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) platform as the SPH-122 (American M109 howitzer chassis) and T-122 (Soviet T-34 tank chassis).

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Specifications for the
122mm Model 1963 (D-30 / 2A18)
122mm Towed Artillery / Howitzer

Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Gosudarstvennoe Unitarnoe Predpriatie Zavod 9
Initial Year of Service: 1963
Production: 12,000

Focus Model: 122mm Model 1963 (D-30 / 2A18)
Crew: 6

Overall Length: 0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Width: 0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Height: 5.25 ft (1.60 m)
Weight: 3.5 US Short Tons (3,200 kg; 7,055 lb)

Powerplant: None. This is a towed-artillery battlefield element.

Maximum Speed: 0 mph (0 km/h)
Maximum Range: 4 miles (6 km)

NBC Protection: None
Nightvision: None

1 x 122mm gun barrel.

Dependent upon ammunition carrier.

D-30 - Base Model Designation

2A18 - GRAU designation

2A18M D-30A - Features midlife product improvements.

D-30M - Features midlife product improvements.

Saddam - Iraqi-produced Variant

D30J - Yugoslavian-produced D-30

SP-122 - Egyptian modified US M109 self-propelled gun chassis with D-30 main gun.

Type-85 - Chinese-produced self-propelled gun on the Type 85 APC chassis with D-30 main gun.

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