Model 89 SPH
122mm Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH)
The Model 89 SPH is a Romanian 122mm-armed self-propelled howitzer based on the MLI-84 IFV chassis.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Model 89 Self-Propelled Howitzer was a Cold War-era Romanian variant of the original Soviet 2S1 Gvozdika ("Carnation") vehicle introduced in 1972 (and detailed elsewhere on this site). While based on the 2S1, the Romanian version actually only utilized the original's gun and turret, the system now mounted onto the tracked hull of the Romanian MLI-84 Infantry Fighting Vehicle - itself based on the Soviet BMP-1 IFV. The Romanian version was introduced in 1989 to fulfill a local Romanian Army requirement with its development beginning sometime during the 1980s.
On the whole, the Model 89 retained much of the appearance and general arrangement of the preceding 2S1 though its BMP-1 foundation was clearly identifiable. The design was shallow in profile, promoting a low silhouette on the horizon with the hull showcasing a well-sloped glacis plate and vertical side faces. The turret was fitted over the rear of the vehicle which moved the powerpack to the front-right alongside the driver (seated front-left). A standard operating crew was five to include the driver, commander, gunner, and a pair of ammunition handlers. The turret retained the inherently low profile of the 2S1 design and housed the main gun with its associated mounting hardware and recoil mechanism. The weapon was capped by a double-baffled muzzle brake and sported a fume extractor along the middle portion of its length. A hinged support structure over the glacis plate allowed the barrel to be clamped to the hull for protection in transport. The running gear of the vehicle included seven road wheels to a hull side coupled with a front drive sprocket, a rear track idlers, and three track return rollers. Side armor skirts were not used in the design.
The primary weapon was the Soviet 122mm 2A31 howitzer which allowed for indirect fire against enemy positions. The weapon was capable of firing various ammunition types including the standard High-Explosive (HE) projectile. Maximum firing ranges reached up to 9.5 miles using conventional projectiles while rocket-assisted projectiles could increase ranges by nearly six miles more. Muzzle velocity was rated at 2,200 feet per second and a rate-of-fire of five rounds-per-minute could be reached - though sustained fire was closer to one to two rounds-per-minute to prevent barrel overheating and wear. The turret gave the gunnery crew a full 360-degree powered rotation from which to engage target areas. The elevation span was from +70 degrees to -3. The weapon was loaded through a horizontal sliding wedge breech utilizing a semi-automatic action and each action required the projectile be coupled with a separate cased charge. Some 40 x 122mm projectiles were carried aboard though no machine gun was mounted for local defense.
Power to the running gear was provided through the local Romanian 1240-V8-DT-S supercharged diesel engine outputting up to 360 horsepower. Road speeds could reach 65 kmh with an operational range out to 500 kilometers. As with most Soviet-originated armored fighting vehicles, the Model 89 held an inherent amphibious capability, propulsion by way of a pair of waterjets seated at the lower rear of the hull (the 2S1 was instead propelled by its tracks).
It is said that about 48 Model 89s were placed in reserve status beginning in 2005.