The Russian army will begin testing its self-propelled “Coalition-SV” howitzer next year, Izvestia revealed, citing sources.
The outlet added that the trials of the 152 mm howitzer, claimed to have the world’s longest firing range, will be wrapped up by September next year.
Depending on the outcome, the state commission will decide whether to sign a development contract for the weapon. The military department will study the documents provided by the commission and decide whether to induct the howitzer by December 2022.
According to the outlet, the “fully-automated” platform, based on the T-90 tank chassis, is activated by the press of a button. A robot delivers the shells and an onboard computer loads them.
The gun was first unveiled at the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade to replace the 2S19 “Msta-S” self-propelled howitzer.
The Coalition’s firing range of 70-80 km (43-50 miles) is more than double that of the 2S19 at 30 km (18.6 miles). The gun’s range is on par with the American Extended Range Cannon Artillery, currently under development. The weapon reportedly fired its longest shot this year at 43.5 miles (70 km) using an M982A1 Excalibur guided artillery shell.
However, the Russian gun’s firing rate of 16 rounds per minute outmatches its Western counterparts by a wide margin. The American gun has a stated firing rate of 3-10 rounds per minute. The Coalition is equipped with an alcohol solution-based cooling system which prevents it from overheating during intense firing.
The platform also comes with a remote-controlled 12.7 mm Kord machine gun. Moreover, the gun’s automated command and control system allows it to receive “target designations from external sources – scouts, aviation and drones.”
Citing military expert Alexei Khlopotov, the outlet wrote that the gun “can destroy important targets deep behind enemy lines” such as “enemy command posts, air defense and missile defense systems, field airfields, supply lines and roadways.” It added that the gun’s “high mobility and rate of fire allows effective counter-battery combat, while remaining invulnerable to enemy artillery.”