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2A65 Msta-B 152mm Towed Howitzer

The 152mm 2A65 howitzer has found a few takers beyond Russia since its inception in 1987.

 Entry last updated on 10/12/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

2A65 Msta-B

Service Year: 1987
Type: 152mm Towed Howitzer
National Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer(s): State Factories - Soviet Union
Total Units Built: 3,000

Introduced in 1987 - the last few years of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West - was the 152mm 2A65 "MSTA-B" towed howitzer system. The weapon was brought along as a conventional artillery produce featuring a twin-wheeled, split-trail carriage, minimal gunshield, and multi-baffled muzzle brake. Design work spanned 1976 to 1986 by the Central Design Bureau (Titan) and production has been ongoing out of the Motovilikha Plant since.

As designed, the weapon features a combat weight of 15,000 lb and is operated by a crew of up to ten personnel. It traditionally fires a High-Explosive (HE) shell out to 18 miles through a 2,720 feet-per-second muzzle velocity though there is support for various other projectile types - anti-infantry, chemical, nuclear, etc... The standard gun mounting hardware allows for an elevation span of -3.5 degrees to +70 degrees and traversal of 28 degrees from centerline. Rate-of-fire is listed at eight rounds-per-minute in burst fire phases.

Operators of the 2A65 series include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. Russia is, by far, the largest operator of the weapon with some 750 units in inventory. "M-390" is the designation used to mark export versions of the 2A65. A fume extractor differentiates the other export-minded version - the "MZ-146-1". The 2A65 is known to NATO as the "M1987" ("Model 1987"). The 2A65 is also the primary weapon aboard the 2A19 Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) artillery vehicle (detailed elsewhere on this site).

Because both the Russians and the Ukrainians have invested in the 2A65 system, it has been featured for both sides of the fighting in the Donbass Region ("War in Donbass", 2014-Present).

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

Operating Crew: 8

Operating Weight: 7 tons (6,800 kg; 14,991 lb)

Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) Protection: None.
Nightvision (NV) Equipment: None.

Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

Engine: None. This is a towed artillery piece.

Engagement Range: 18 miles (29 km)

Armament and Ammunition

1 x 152mm main gun barrel

Dependent upon ammunition carrier.

Global Operators / Customers / Users

Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Kazakhstan; Russia; Soviet Union; Ukraine

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

2A65 "Msta-B" - Base Series Designation
M-390 - Export Designation
MZ-146-1 - Export Designation; modernized with integrated fume extractor.