MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. The field trials of the latest Lotos self-propelled artillery system for the Airborne Force are expected to be completed in 2019, Deputy CEO of the TsNIITochMash defense contractor (the weapon’s developer) Mikhail Levshunov said on Friday.
The new artillery system is currently at the stage of its assembly and preparation for field trials, the deputy chief executive said.
TsNIITochMash CEO Albert Bakov told Izvestia daily on Thursday that the Lotos self-propelled gun would enter state trials in 2019.
The Lotos self-propelled artillery gun for Russia’s Airborne Force will be close to the latest Koalitsiya-SV howitzer by its capabilities, Levshunov said.
"The Lotos features full automation, a digital system, an automated firing mode and the high accuracy of hits based on the coordinates provided by a weapon control vehicle or a drone. This is a 120 mm mini-Koalitsiya system," he said.
The high explosive fragmentation munitions used by the Lotos are comparable by their efficiency with existing 152 mm shells, he noted.
"Also, the self-propelled gun features the increased firing range. And the most important thing for the Airborne Force: it can fire NATO 120 mm mortar munitions. In addition, Lotos systems can be air-dropped with their crews inside, similar to all the other vehicles of the Airborne Force," the company’s deputy CEO stressed.
The Lotos is a follow-up and a replacement of the Zauralets project, which was aimed at developing a new self-propelled artillery gun for the Airborne Force to boost the paratroopers’ firepower and maneuverable capabilities. The Lotos system will be furnished with the 120 mm gun as its basic armament.
The artillery system can be transported by military transport planes and air-dropped by parachutes. As Russia’s Defense Ministry noted earlier, the promising Lotos gun will replace 120 mm Nona artillery systems in the Airborne Force’s artillery units, once it enters service. It was reported in September 2017 that the Russian military had set the task of launching the serial production of Lotos artillery systems in 2020.
The 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled howitzer is designed to destroy enemy command posts, communications centers, artillery and mortar batteries, armored vehicles, including tanks, anti-tank weapons, air defense and ballistic missile defense and manpower.
The Koalitsiya-SV howitzer features the 152 mm cannon with a fire rate of over 10 rounds per minute, which is higher than the firing rate of other artillery systems. These capabilities stem from the design of the cannon loading mechanisms. The Koalitsiya’s weapon suite also includes a remote controlled station armed with the Kord machine gun.