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8x8 Wheeled Self-Propelled Gun (SPG)

Czechoslovakia | 1981

"The SpGH DANA has been produced in over 750 examples for various users."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/17/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The DANA saw its origins in a Czechoslovakian military requirement of the 1970s for an indigenous self-propelled gun system capable of indirect fire support. Design work began in the early-to-mid 1970s and completed in 1976 by Konstrukta Trencin, utilizing the excellent 8x8 wheeled chassis of the Tatra T815 series truck (as opposed to a traditional conventional track wheeled arrangement) and an internal autoloading mechanism - another departure from the manual-loading systems of the day. The selection of an existing wheeled system not only provided the design with a proven chassis but wheeled systems were generally cheaper to mass-produce than their tracked contemporaries, which generally require drive sprockets, idlers, track links and return rollers all tied to the powerplant. The "152mm SpGH DANA" was eventually accepted and adopted into the Czechoslovakian Army in 1981 and mass-production was handled by ZTS Dubnica nad Vahom from there on. Some 755 DANAs has been produced to date.

The DANAs truck origins can clearly be seen in her outward design, characterized by her eight large road wheels, these set as pairs with four road wheels to a hull side. The forward hull is the crew cab housing the driver, commander and steering system and is fixed in place upon the chassis. Powered steering is delivered to the front four tires. The cab windows can be covered over in hinged armored panels that as needed to suit the current battlefield environment. The main gun is fitted to a traversing mount at amidships and sports noticeably angled facings. The main gun protrudes from this installation and sits out over the crew cab. The DANA is operated by a standard crew of five personnel (a newer variant reduces this to four) and includes the gunner, loader operator and ammunition handler in the turret.

The DANA (original) is armed with a powerful 152mm howitzer gun system that sports an elevation arc of +70 degrees to -4 degrees. Traverse is +/- 45 degrees. Standard range with conventional projectiles is approximately 18 kilometers. The gun is cleared to fire varying projectile warhead types and include High-Explosive (HE) and High-Explosive, Anti-Tank (HEAT) types. There are also long range projectiles reaching out to 20 kilometers. The DANA turret is reloaded via an integrated crane system. Three hydraulically-powered stabilizers (used to combat the violent recoil of the 152mm main gun) are lowered to the ground before the firing process is commenced. Secondary armament includes a 12.7mm DskM heavy machine gun meant for anti-aircraft defense.

The DANA vehicle fields a running length of 34.4 feet with a width of 9 feet and a height of 8.5 feet. She weighs in at 50,700lbs and is powered by a single V-12 Tatra T930-34 series air-cooled diesel engine delivering approximately 345 horsepower. This supplies the vehicle with a maximum road speed of 50 miles per hour with an operational range equal to 373 miles. The DANA can ford through 4.6 feet of water and climb 5 foot obstacles while traversing trench-type openings of 4.6 feet. Her wheels feature a centralized pressure regulation system to allow the driver to set individual tire pressure "on-the-fly" based on the terrain, thus improving off-road mobility.

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The DANA has since been branched out into several notable variants. The 152mm ShKH "Ondava" was a DANA development project running through the late 1980s that sought to upgrade various features of the base system. A longer main gun barrel installed as was a redesigned double-baffled muzzle brake and the loading mechanics were addressed for efficiency. However, with the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that saw the end of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the Ondava conversion ended. Regardless, the initiatives begun in the Ondava project were used in the upcoming Zuzana program.

The 155mm ShKH "Zuzana" bore some of the revisions of the preceding Ondava program. The chief change to the DANA family line was the institution of more powerful 155mm main gun that was chambered to fire a variety of NATO-standard projectiles. The Slovak Army took deliveries of these modified DANAs in 1998.

The 155mm ShKH "Himalaya" was another progressive development of the DANA system. The chief differentiating feature of this variant was its tracked wheel arrangement, a vast departure from the 8-wheeled arrangement from designs prior. The 155mm main gun system of the Zusana variant was kept intact and the chassis of a Soviet/Russian T-72 main battle tank was used to mount the main gun to.

The 152mm ShKH "MODAN" is a modernized version of the DANA, still retaining the original 152mm main gun caliber and 8-wheeled road system. This version features a new digital fire control system that promotes increased ranges and improved accuracy.

Operators of the DANA have included the former Czechoslovakia and the former Soviet Union. At the height of her use, each of these nations fielded 408 and 108 examples respectively. With the dissolving of both countries, these systems were either set in storage or passed on to the successor armies that followed. The Czech Republic still maintains some 160 DANA examples of her original 273-strong stable. Slovakia is thought to have about 135 examples on hand. Libya is a rare African operator of the DANA and has purchased at least 120 examples. Poland is the next largest operator of the DANA system at 110 examples and Georgia retains nearly 50 units of her own, some having seen action in the 2008 South Ossetia War. The Polish Army has used their DANAs as part of their presence in NATO's Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Incidentally, the designation of "DANA" stems from the words "Delo Automobilni Nabijene Automaticky" which, itself, translated into "Self-Propelled, Auto-Loading Gun". The DANA is also known under its technical designation of "ShKH-77", this covering "Samihybna Kanonova Hufnica vzor 77".

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December 2018 - The Slovakian Army has purchased a stock of twenty-five "Zuzana II" SPH systems according to local media reports. A first-batch of four will be delivered during mid-July 2020 with five more before the end of that year. Further deliveries will follow in 2021 and 2022.

April 2022 - Slovakia will be selling sixteen of its available DANA 8x8 wheeled self-propelled guns to Ukraine to support its defense against Russia.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the SpGH DANA 8x8 Wheeled Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
1 x Tatra T930-34 V12 air-cooled diesel engine developing 345 horsepower driving conventional all-wheel 8x8 configuration.
Installed Power
50 mph
80 kph
Road Speed
373 miles
600 km
The physical qualities of the SpGH DANA 8x8 Wheeled Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
34.4 ft
10.5 meters
O/A Length
9.2 ft
2.8 meters
O/A Width
8.5 ft
2.6 meters
O/A Height
50,706 lb
23,000 kg | 25.4 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA) 8x8 Wheeled Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
1 x 152mm main gun in traversable turret assembly / housing.
1 x 12.7mm DSKM Anti-Aircraft (AA) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).
Not Available.
Nightvision - YES.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA) family line.
152mm SpGH DANA - Base Series Designation appearing in late 1970s; 152mm main gun.
152mm ShKH "Ondava" - Abdoned Modified Variant; fitting longer barrel 152mm main gun; redesigned loader system.
155mm ShKH "ZUZANA" - NATO-Standard Modified; fitting 155mm main gun.
155mm ShKH "ZUZANA II" - Modernized, upgraded systems.
155mm ShKH "Himalaya" - Tracked Variant of the 155mm ShKH Zuzana; 155mm main gun; T-72 MBT chassis.
152mm ShKH "MODAN" - Upgraded DANA; onboard fire control system for increased range, accuracy and rate-of-fire; crew of four.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 450 Units

Contractor(s): ZTS Dubnica nad Vahom - Czechoslovakia
National flag of Cyprus National flag of Czechia National flag of Georgia National flag of Libya National flag of Poland National flag of Slovakia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Ukraine

[ Czechoslovakia (former); Czech Republic; Cyprus; Georgia; Libya; Poland; Slovakia; Soviet Union (former); Ukraine (via Slovakia) ]
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Image of the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA)
Image from the Czech Republic Ministry of Defense; Public Release.
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Image of the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA)
The 152mm DANA self-propelled gun system on parade
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Image of the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA)
Front right side view of a parked 152mm SpGH Dana; courtesy of the US Army

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the SpGH DANA (ZUZANA) 8x8 Wheeled Self-Propelled Gun (SPG).
Going Further...
The SpGH DANA (ZUZANA) 8x8 Wheeled Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) appears in the following collections:
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