2S4 Tyulpan 240-mm self-propelled mortars and 2S7M Malka 203-mm self-propelled guns from the Russian Western Military District’s 45th Svir High-Power Artillery Brigade conducted a live fire exercise in Tambov, central Russia with Orlan-10 UAVs. The 45th Svir High-Power Artillery Brigade was reestablished at Tambov in 2017. It operates two battalions (eight each) of 203-mm SP 2S7 Malka guns and one battalion (eight) of 240-mm SP 2S4 Tyulpan mortars. These large-caliber systems can destroy reinforced targets and field fortifications 122-mm and 152-mm weapons. The 45th Svir High-Power Artillery Brigade is one of the key formations of the Western Military District.
The 2S7 Malka or Pion (“peony”) is a Soviet self-propelled 203mm heavy artillery. “2S7” is its GRAU designation. It was identified for the first time in 1975 in the Soviet Army and so was called M-1975 by NATO (the 2S4 Tyulpan also received the M-1975 designation), whereas its official designation is SO-203 (2S7). Its design is based on a T-80 chassis carrying an externally mounted 2A44 203 mm gun on the hull rear.It takes the crew of seven men 5–6 minutes to come into action and 3–5 minutes to come out of action. It carries four 203 mm projectiles for immediate use. It is capable of firing nuclear ammunition.
The 2S7 Malka has a range of 37,500 m, but this can be extended to 55,500 m by using RAPs (Rocket Assisted Projectiles). The Pion has been the most powerful conventional artillery piece since entering service in 1983. One interesting feature of the Pion is the firing alarm. Because the blast of the weapon firing is so powerful—it can physically incapacitate an unprepared soldier or crew member near it from concussive force—the Pion is equipped with an audible firing alarm that emits a series of short warning tones for approximately five seconds prior to the charge being fired. The 2S7 carries a crew of fourteen; seven are carried by the Malka and seven are with an auxiliary vehicle.
The 2S4 Tyulpan (Tulip) is a Soviet 240 mm self-propelled heavy mortar. “2S4” is its GRAU designation. The Tyulpan is the largest mortar system in use today.The 2S4 Tyulpan designs is based on the GM-123 chassis carrying an externally mounted M-240 240 mm breech-loading mortar on the rear of the hull. It has two automated drum-type magazines, capable of holding up to 40 standard high-explosive rounds or 20 long range rocket-assisted rounds. One of the more unique aspects of the 2S4 is their nuclear capability. Development of tactical nuclear munitions for the type was initiated relatively late in the service cycle of the vehicle, in 1967, and resulted in the 3BW4 round using a 3B4 nuclear projectile.