TechIran supplies American shells for Russian use in Soviet-Era artillery

Iran supplies American shells for Russian use in Soviet-Era artillery

Photos showing the delivery of American 203 mm caliber ammunition for Russia carried out by Iran.
Photos showing the delivery of American 203 mm caliber ammunition for Russia carried out by Iran.
Images source: © Telegram

8:41 AM EDT, April 22, 2024

Photos have surfaced online depicting Russians utilizing American artillery shells of M106 caliber, 8 inches in size, within their 2S7 Pion systems. This article delves into the feasibility of such an adaptation and the origins of these shells.

Photos shared on a Russian Telegram channel display an M106 artillery shell, 8 inches in caliber, alongside gunpowder charges marked as "Izdelie 203," produced in 2023. This type of ammunition is designed for the American M110 howitzer, which Iran, having the capability to manufacture such ammunition, also uses. It appears that Iran has provided these high-caliber shells to Russia, in addition to other military supplies such as artillery ammunition of calibers 122 mm and 152 mm, 122 mm caliber rockets, drones, and ballistic missiles.

The Russians' employment of these shells in Soviet-era 2S7 Pion systems is not unexpected; the Ukrainians had previously utilized ammunition supplied by the USA in their Pions in 2023. It seems the Russians are now taking a similar approach.

American shells powering a Soviet-era colossus – A viable strategy

The 2S7 Pion systems, esteemed by both Ukrainians and Russians for their destructive capabilities, launch over 220-pound shells that inflict greater damage than the more standard calibers, such as 152 mm or 155 mm. For the Russians, the Pions stand out as one of the limited systems capable of striking targets over 18.6 miles away with basic shells, offering some counter-battery fire capabilities.

A question remains whether the American shells fit seamlessly or if adjustments were needed for the chamber length. The M110A1 howitzer could reach targets up to 15.5 miles away using M106 shells. However, with the Pion's longer barrel, it is anticipated that the range might extend to about 24.8 miles, generating higher shell velocities. American shells, weighing 198 pounds and carrying a 33-pound TNT charge, are slightly lighter than their Russian counterparts but still effectively demolish field fortifications.

2S7 Pion - A formidable USSR relic with extended range and firepower

The 2S7 Pion artillery system, conceived in the 1970s, fuses a potent 8-inch gun on a T-80 tank chassis. This howitzer can hurl ammunition up to 29/34 miles using rocket-assisted projectiles, targeting critical infrastructure like ammo depots, command centers, or bunkers.
With a maximal firing rate of 1.5 rounds per minute and a capacity limited to four shells, the Pion depends heavily on support vehicles for ammunition supply and half of its 14-person crew's protection. Despite its considerable age and vulnerability due to long preparation times for firing positions, making it somewhat obsolete in modern counter-battery tactics, the Pion's formidable destructive power keeps it relevant on the Ukrainian battlefield.
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