In the Market

Slovakia is currently in talks with Ukraine and could be selling them the Zuzana-2, 155mm self-propelled howitzers on the hurry-up.

The 155 mm Zuzana 2 self-propelled Howitzer in action. Image Credit: militaryleak.com
The 155 mm Zuzana 2 self-propelled Howitzer in action. Image Credit: militaryleak.com

Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad has announced his country is in talks with the Ukrainian government over the potential sale of Zuzana 155 mm self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine.

The Zuzana is an upgraded eight-wheel drive variant of the Dana self-propelled howitzer from Czechoslovakia.  The weapon is currently being used by the armed forces of Slovakia and Cyprus.

The Defense Minister said he was negotiating with Kyiv over whether the sale would be of the older Zuzana 2000 variant or the newer Zuzana 2. However, there was no mention of how many of the units they would be selling.

Slovakian armed forces took delivery of 16 Zuzana howitzers between 1998 and 2000. In 2018, they ordered an additional 25 units of the Zuzana 2 from their state-run defense company, KONŠTRUKTA-Defense.

If purchased, reports state that it will take Ukrainian troops at least one week of training before they can efficiently use their new weapons.

The Specs

The Zuzana 2 is among the most advanced artillery systems available. It is based on an armored 8X8 wheeled chassis. This is less expensive to build and operate than a comparable tracked vehicle and can more easily travel on roads without tearing them up as tracked vehicles do.  It is armed with a turret-mounted 155 mm/L52 gun-howitzer. The gun is mounted externally between two separated compartments of the turret and is fitted with an autoloader.

Shells and charges can be loaded automatically at any elevation of the gun. The crew compartment is completely isolated from the gun and autoloader mechanism, and they are protected from powder gasses generated during firing.  The turret transverse is a complete 360°, yet the firing envelope is limited to 60°.

Video of the Zuzana 2 in action courtesy of YouTube and Infinite American.

The Zuzana 2 fires all standard NATO 155 mm shells. This self-propelled gun-howitzer is capable of both direct and indirect firing. It can carry 3 main types of ammunition (a total of 40 shells), including standard high-explosive shells, extended-range high-explosive shells, and high-explosive anti-tank shells for direct firing at armored targets.

The range of fire depends on the shell and charge combination. The maximum range is 41 km with rocket-assisted shells.

The Zuzana 2 is capable of Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact Firing (MRSI). This is achieved by launching shells at different trajectories in order for them to hit the target simultaneously. Firing data is calculated by an onboard computer.

There is also a roof-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun for self-defense.

Light armor protects the vehicle and occupants against small arms fire and artillery shell fragments. The front arc will withstand a hit from 14.5mm armor-piercing rounds. The vehicle has an air scrubbing system that helps protect the occupants against nuclear, chemical, and biological threats. There is an automatic fire extinguishing system.

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It operates with a crew of four: The commander, gunner, loader, and driver. Power comes from a Tatra T3B-928.70 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 442 hp. In addition, there is an auxiliary power unit that can operate all systems when the main engine is not running.

A battery of Zuzana 2s would typically be accompanied by a fire support vehicle and an ammunition supply vehicle with an armored cab based on the 8×8 Tatra military truck.

However, if need be, each Zuzana 2 can operate independently.