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ZPU-4


Four-Barreled, Towed Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun System (1949)


Land Systems / Battlefield

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Jump-to: Specifications

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: 09/29/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
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.

Specifications



Service Year
1949

Origin
Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

Crew
5
CREWMEN
Production
20,000
UNITS


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 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
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Anti-Aircraft / Airspace Denial
Base model or variant can be used to search, track, and neutralize airborne elements at range.
Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
Support allied forces through direct / in-direct fire, assault forward positions, and / or breach fortified areas of the battlefield.


Length
14.9 ft
4.53 m
Width
5.6 ft
1.72 m
Height
7.0 ft
2.13 m
Weight
3,990 lb
1,810 kg
Tonnage
2.0 tons
LIGHT
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base ZPU-4 production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: None. This is a towed-artillery piece.
Range
4,971.0 mi
(8,000.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base ZPU-4 production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
4 x 14.5mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).


Supported Types


Graphical image of a tank medium machine gun
Graphical image of a tank heavy machine gun


(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
4,800 x 14.5mm ammunition.


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.


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