Artillery price

2S19 Msta: the backbone of the Russian artillery war against Ukraine

The 2S19 Msta – Pillar of the Russian artillery: Developed in the twilight years of the Soviet Union, the 2S19 Msta is one of the most widely used artillery systems in the Russian arsenal. Designed as a tracked self-propelled howitzer, the Msta is named after the eponymous Msta river in northwestern Russia. Despite its age, the Msta remains in widespread use in the Russian armed forces and saw heavy use to date during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which is now entering its fourth month.

What is the 2S19 Msta capable of?

The Russian 2S19 Msta self-propelled howitzer consists of a 152 mm 2A64 gun mounted on a tracked chassis that shares many components with the Russian T-72 and T-80 tanks.

Piloted by a crew of five gunners, the Msta is capable of a sustained rate of fire of 2 rounds per minute, or a burst rate of fire of eight rounds per minute.

Its V84-A diesel engine can propel the howitzer at speeds of up to 60 km/h on the road and 25 km/h off-road. The loading process of the 2S19 Msta is highly automated, as is its laying system in modernized versions of the howitzer.

Development of the 2H19 Msta

According to Russian sourcesdevelopment of the Msta began in the early 1980s in order to develop a replacement for the 2S3 Akatsiya.

The Msta-S howitzer variant of the howitzer was later officially accepted into Soviet service in 1989.

The maximum range of fire for this Msta is 24.7 km according to most sources if paired with an HE-FRAG shell. Most sources also note that the range is longer, at 28.9 km, if paired with a rocket-assisted shell.

When developing the Msta, Soviet designers particularly wanted develop a howitzer that included substantial improvements to the range of the Akatsiya, while similar Western systems were being developed that far exceeded existing Soviet artillery.

Another relatively new capability included in the Msta was the ability to fire 152mm guided rounds like the Krasnopol, which greatly improves the accuracy of the system.

In an update of its original version, Uraltransmash (the manufacturer of the howitzer) developed and currently product the 2S19M2 version of the Msta-S, which includes a variety of reliability, performance, and rate-of-fire upgrades

Use of 2S19 Msta in Ukraine

The 2S19 Msta was used by both sides during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, like its predecessor, the 2S3 Akatsiya.

The Russian Mstas currently operating in Ukraine play a key role in Moscow’s current strategy of pounding Ukrainian positions with artillery to clear the way for advancing Russian ground forces.

However, since the Russian Mstas are tightly integrated with the Russian Battalion Battle Groups – the basic organizational unit of the Russian military today – they are susceptible to partisan attack when operating with their nearby units. from the front, which also allows the howitzers to coordinate their action. shoot more easily.

Although there is less information available on how the Msta was used by Ukrainian forces, it appears that they were used throughout the conflict by Kyiv with some effect.

Prior to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia had used its Msta howitzers in the Chechen Warshis Intervention in Syriaand his 2014 Invasion from Crimea and Ukrainian Donbass, to name just a few examples of its earlier use.

Given that Russia probably still has hundreds of Mstas in its arsenal, the howitzer is unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. The system has proven useful for Russia’s preferred Donbass strategy of massive artillery fire, and the large number of existing Mstas virtually guarantees their participation in such a strategy.

Wesley Culp is a researcher at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. He writes regularly on Russian and Eurasian leadership and national security topics and has been published in The Hill as well as the Diplomatic Courier. It can be found on Twitter @WesleyJCulp.