The Lotos air-droppable self-propelled artillery gun developed by the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine-Building (TsNIITochMash) for the Russian Airborne Force and mounted on the chassis of the BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicle has passed acceptance trials. The trials have helped assess the operability of all of the mortar’s assemblies, mechanisms and devices, with their program consisting of over 50 points. In particular, the Lotos system has covered a distance of 400 km and made 14 shots. The Lotos complies with the requirement for weight and dimension characteristics and simultaneously features an impressive speed, rate of fire and firing range.
The 2S42 Lotos is a new self-propelled mortar system, designed for the Russian airborne and naval infantry units. The Lotos has been developed on the basis of the chassis standardized with the BMD-4M fighting vehicle by assemblies and mechanisms. The 2S42 Lotos artillery system uses a modified chassis of a 2S25 Sprut-SD or the newer Sprut-SDM-1 airborne light tank. A model of this artillery system was first revealed in 2017. A pre-production prototype was publicly revealed in 2019. Its mass production is scheduled to begin in 2020. It will replace the older 2S9 Nona-S, 2S9-1 Sviristelka and 2S9-1M Nona-SM self-propelled mortar systems in service with the Russian military.
The self-propelled mortar vehicle is outfitted with a combat module with a 120mm breech-loaded mortar that features highly automated operations of preparing for and delivering fire. It fires special 120 rifled rounds, developed for Russian mortar systems, such as the previous 2S9 Nona-S, and any 120 mm mortar mines. Developers claim that the Lotos will also use newly developed rounds that are more deadly. Maximum range of fire is up to 13 km using rifled rounds and Minimal rate of fire is 1 km. It could engage targets, that were not accessible to ordinary guns and howitzers, because of elevation range.
The Lotos artillery system weighs no more than 18 tonnes, develops a maximum speed of 70 km/h, has a 450 hp engine and an operating range of no less than 500 km. The vehicle has a combat team of four and a firing range of up to 13 km. It is claimed that this vehicle is powered by a 450 hp engine. Maximum road speed is up to 70 km/h. Maximum off-road speed is up to 30-40 km/h. The 2S42 Lotos is fully amphibious. On water it is propelled by 2 waterjets. Vehicle is sea worthy up to a Sea State 3. A Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft can carry two of these light tanks. This artillery system can be airdropped with the crew on board.