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ZPU-4


Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System


Soviet Union | 1949



"The ZPU-4 was a product of post-World War 2 Soviet design and formed a family of useful, towed anti-aircraft guns."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/04/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun was developed in the post-war Soviet Union, seeing official operational service beginning in 1949. The towed artillery system was completed with four air-cooled, quick-change 14.5mm heavy machine guns featuring a maximum range out to 8,000 meters (roughly 5 miles) and an altitude range of 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) - this weapon was proven more effective in the 1,400 meter / 0.86 miles - altitude range. Improved optical gun sights were added later in its production life to help increase its battlefield effectiveness. The system could be set up and made ready-to-fire in less than thirty seconds, making it a flexible mobile air defense system. It went on to serve the Soviet Union well during its time as a frontline weapon and stocked the inventories of many Soviet-aligned customers through export.

The ZPU-4 anti-aircraft system received its baptism of fire through operation by combat forces of China and North Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953). It saw considerable use against low-flying aircraft in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) where it became one of the most feared anti-aircraft weapons for American helicopters as the four-barreled arrangement could easily pierce critical components of the low-flying, slow-moving machines. Iraq managed a stock of these guns during the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and many of these fell to disuse after the American-led invasion of 2003. The ZPU-4 has been witnessed in combat service as recently as the Syrian Civil War (2011-Present).

Many countries have since replaced the aging ZPU-4 weapon - which relied on heavy machine guns - in favor of the ZU-23 anti-aircraft defense system - relying on 23mm autocannons. However, the ZPU-4 it still continues in frontline service with a handful of nations today (2011) including that of North Korea. The weapon went on to see extensive export to Soviet-aligned nations during the Cold War years, peak usage marking over 50 total operators. Chinese factories also locally produced variants of the gun system (under license) as the "Type 56" and "Type 58".

The ZPU-4 is typically seen in its towed/wheeled configuration integrating the weapon, crew seating, optics, and mounting hardware along a four-wheeled carriage to be towed by mover vehicle. The gun can also be removed for use as a stationary weapon or set atop the rear of a vehicle for mobile fire power. Besides its inherent value in tackling low-flying aerial targets, the system can prove equally-effective against light-armored vehicles while also having a tremendous psychological effect on unprotected infantry.

The ZPU-4 belongs to a family of Soviet anti-aircraft guns designated around the number of barrels in use. The ZPU-1 was given a single barrel while the ZPU-2 showcased a pair of guns. Appropriately, the ZPU-4 followed with its four gun arrangement.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the ZPU-4 Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System.
None. This is a towed-artillery piece.
Installed Power
4,971 miles
8,000 km
Range
Structure
The physical qualities of the ZPU-4 Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System.
5
(MANNED)
Crew
14.9 ft
4.53 meters
O/A Length
5.6 ft
1.72 meters
O/A Width
7.0 ft
2.13 meters
O/A Height
3,990 lb
1,810 kg | 2.0 tons
Weight
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the ZPU-4 Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System.
4 x 14.5mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).
AMMUNITION:
4,800 x 14.5mm ammunition.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
Nightvision - NONE.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the ZPU-4 family line.
ZPU-1 - Single-barrel 14.5mm anti-aircraft machine gun; appearing in 1949.
ZPU-2 - Double-barreled version; appearing in 1949.
ZPU-4 - Four-barreled version; appearing in 1949.
Type 58 - Chinese production version of the ZPU-2.
Type 56 - Chinese production version of the ZPU-4.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the ZPU-4. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 20,000 Units

Contractor(s): State Factories - Soviet Union / China
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Albania National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Cameroon National flag of Chad National flag of China National flag of Croatia National flag of Cuba National flag of Egypt National flag of Ethiopia National flag of Guinea National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Israel National flag of Libya National flag of Mongolia National flag of Morocco National flag of Mozambique National flag of Namibia National flag of Nicaragua National flag of North Korea National flag of Pakistan National flag of Romania National flag of Russia National flag of South Africa National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Syria National flag of Tanzania National flag of Uganda National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yugoslavia National flag of Zaire National flag of Zambia National flag of Zimbabwe

[ Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Bangladesh; Benin; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; China; Republic of Congo; Croatia; Cuba; Egypt; Ethiopia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Iran; Iraq; Israel; North Korea; Laos; Libya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Mongolia; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Nicaragua; North Korea; Pakistan; Romania; Russia; Sao Tome and Principe; Seychelles; Sri Lanka; Somalia; South Africa; Soviet Union; Sudan; Syria; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; Vietnam; Yugoslavia; Zambia; Zaire; Zimbabwe ]
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Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
ANTI-AIRCRAFT
FIRE SUPPORT / ASSAULT / BREACHING
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The ZPU-4 Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System appears in the following collections:
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