Beginning in the late 1960s, the Soviet engineers began design and development of a new 152mm towed field gun. Following the requisite trials in the early1970s, the weapon was formally adopted for service as the 2A36 "Giatsint-B" in 1975. Today, it remains an active inventory portion of several operators including Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Finland (as the "152 K 89"), Georgia, Moldova, Iraq, Lebanon and Uzbekistan. Production of the 2A36 spanned from 1975 into 1989 by the Perm Automobile Factory SKV and the same gun also makes up the main armament of the 2S5 "Giatsint-S" self-propelled gun (SPG) platform.
The 2A36 is largely of a conventional design as towed artillery pieces go. It features a four-wheeled, rubber-tired carriage useful for transporting the massive gun by mover vehicle. The carriage also features a split-trail arrangement that doubles as the recoil "legs" when the gun sits in its emplacement (for firing). The rifled barrel is of single piece construction featuring a multi-slotted muzzle brake at its business end and an integrated recoil mechanism down at the mounting. The weapon utilizes a semi-automatic breech block action when loading/reloading with hydraulic power used in elevation, this spanning from -2 to +57 degrees to serve in both the direct- and indirect-fire role as needed. Traverse is limited to -25 to +25 degrees to either side. As a system, the 2A36 weighs a hefty 21,500lb and showcases a length of 40 feet when set up to fire. The carriage provides a wide of 7 feet, 8 inches.
Firing a 152.4mm cartridge (charges are loaded separate), the 2A36 can make use of a variety of projectile types including conventional HE (High-Explosive), Anti-Tank (AT), nuclear, submunitions and a rocket-assisted shell which dramatically improves realistic effective ranges. Shells exit the muzzle at up to 3,100 feet per second with listed ranges for conventional ammunition out to 19 miles. Rocket-assisted projectiles gain a range out to 25 miles. The artillery piece relies on an operating crew of eight made up of a group leader, ammunition handlers and gun layers.
Despite their Cold War-era origins, 2A36 operators have moved ahead with modernization programs to help keep their guns viable on today's battlefield. Additions include digital support and satellite positioning for improved accuracy at range.
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