MANUFACTURER(S): ZTS Dubnica nad Vahom - Czechoslovakia
OPERATORS: Czechoslovakia; Czech Republic; Cyprus; Georgia; Libya; Poland; Slovakia; Soviet Union
LENGTH: 34.45 feet (10.5 meters)
WIDTH: 9.19 feet (2.8 meters)
HEIGHT: 8.53 feet (2.6 meters)
WEIGHT: 25 Tons (23,000 kilograms; 50,706 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x Tatra T930-34 V12 air-cooled diesel engine developing 345 horsepower.
SPEED: 50 miles-per-hour (80 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 373 miles (600 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the SpGH DANA (Zuzana) 8x8 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG), Heavy.
Entry last updated on 12/28/2018.
Authored by Martin Foray. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The DANA saw its origins in a Czechoslovakian military requirement of the 1970s for an indigenous self-propelled gun system capable of indirect fire support. Design work began in the early-to-mid 1970s and completed in 1976 by Konstrukta Trencin, utilizing the excellent 8x8 wheeled chassis of the Tatra T815 series truck (as opposed to a traditional conventional track wheeled arrangement) and an internal autoloading mechanism - another departure from the manual-loading systems of the day. The selection of an existing wheeled system not only provided the design with a proven chassis but wheeled systems were generally cheaper to mass-produce than their tracked contemporaries, which generally require drive sprockets, idlers, track links and return rollers all tied to the powerplant. The "152mm SpGH DANA" was eventually accepted and adopted into the Czechoslovakian Army in 1981 and mass-production was handled by ZTS Dubnica nad Vahom from there on. Some 755 DANAs has been produced to date.
The DANAs truck origins can clearly be seen in her outward design, characterized by her eight large road wheels, these set as pairs with four road wheels to a hull side. The forward hull is the crew cab housing the driver, commander and steering system and is fixed in place upon the chassis. Powered steering is delivered to the front four tires. The cab windows can be covered over in hinged armored panels that as needed to suit the current battlefield environment. The main gun is fitted to a traversing mount at amidships and sports noticeably angled facings. The main gun protrudes from this installation and sits out over the crew cab. The DANA is operated by a standard crew of five personnel (a newer variant reduces this to four) and includes the gunner, loader operator and ammunition handler in the turret.
The DANA (original) is armed with a powerful 152mm howitzer gun system that sports an elevation arc of +70 degrees to -4 degrees. Traverse is +/- 45 degrees. Standard range with conventional projectiles is approximately 18 kilometers. The gun is cleared to fire varying projectile warhead types and include High-Explosive (HE) and High-Explosive, Anti-Tank (HEAT) types. There are also long range projectiles reaching out to 20 kilometers. The DANA turret is reloaded via an integrated crane system. Three hydraulically-powered stabilizers (used to combat the violent recoil of the 152mm main gun) are lowered to the ground before the firing process is commenced. Secondary armament includes a 12.7mm DskM heavy machine gun meant for anti-aircraft defense.
The DANA vehicle fields a running length of 34.4 feet with a width of 9 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. She weighs in at 50,700lbs and is powered by a single V-12 Tatra T930-34 series air-cooled diesel engine delivering approximately 345 horsepower. This supplies the vehicle with a maximum road speed of 50 miles per hour with an operational range equal to 373 miles. The DANA can ford through 4.6 feet of water and climb 5 foot obstacles while traversing trench-type openings of 4.6 feet. Her wheels feature a centralized pressure regulation system to allow the driver to set individual tire pressure "on-the-fly" based on the terrain, thus improving off-road mobility.
SpGH DANA (Zuzana) (Cont'd)
8x8 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG), Heavy
The DANA has since been branched out into several notable variants. The 152mm ShKH "Ondava" was a DANA development project running through the late 1980s that sought to upgrade various features of the base system. A longer main gun barrel installed as was a redesigned double-baffled muzzle brake and the loading mechanics were addressed for efficiency. However, with the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that saw the end of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the Ondava conversion ended. Regardless, the initiatives begun in the Ondava project were used in the upcoming Zuzana program.
The 155mm ShKH "Zuzana" bore some of the revisions of the preceding Ondava program. The chief change to the DANA family line was the institution of more powerful 155mm main gun that was chambered to fire a variety of NATO-standard projectiles. The Slovak Army took deliveries of these modified DANAs in 1998.
The 155mm ShKH "Himalaya" was another progressive development of the DANA system. The chief differentiating feature of this variant was its tracked wheel arrangement, a vast departure from the 8-wheeled arrangement from designs prior. The 155mm main gun system of the Zusana variant was kept intact and the chassis of a Soviet/Russian T-72 main battle tank was used to mount the main gun to.
The 152mm ShKH "MODAN" is a modernized version of the DANA, still retaining the original 152mm main gun caliber and 8-wheeled road system. This version features a new digital fire control system that promotes increased ranges and improved accuracy.
Operators of the DANA have included the former Czechoslovakia and the former Soviet Union. At the height of her use, each of these nations fielded 408 and 108 examples respectively. With the dissolving of both countries, these systems were either set in storage or passed on to the successor armies that followed. The Czech Republic still maintains some 160 DANA examples of her original 273-strong stable. Slovakia is thought to have about 135 examples on hand. Libya is a rare African operator of the DANA and has purchased at least 120 examples. Poland is the next largest operator of the DANA system at 110 examples and Georgia retains nearly 50 units of her own, some having seen action in the 2008 South Ossetia War. The Polish Army has used their DANAs as part of their presence in NATO's Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Incidentally, the designation of "DANA" stems from the words "Delo Automobilni Nabijene Automaticky" which, itself, translated into "Self-Propelled, Auto-Loading Gun". The DANA is also known under its technical designation of "ShKH-77", this covering "Samihybna Kanonova Hufnica vzor 77".
December 2018 - The Slovakian Army has purchased a stock of twenty-five "Zuzana II" SPH systems according to local media reports. A first-batch of four will be delivered during mid-July 2020 with five more before the end of that year. Further deliveries will follow in 2021 and 2022.
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