Mortar armament is one of the most important kinds of the Land Forces fire means intended for defeating manpower (sheltered or located on open terrain), soft-skinned and lightly-armored materiel, for destructing field fortifications. Its basic advantages include relatively low weight, design and operation simplicity, high rate of fire, high efficiency, low cost.
The chief value of this armament is ensured by its capability of high-angle firing (from sheltered fire emplacements) over a wide range of fire distances which is extremely important at conducting combat actions under cross-country conditions (in mountains, in built-up areas etc.), that is under conditions when the use of other kinds of artillery means is constrained.
Development of round mortars with projectiles of various types intended for smooth-bore mortars of all calibers adopted for service was started by the enterprise in 1940 under the direction of Alexander I. Zverev, an outstanding designer, who won the State Prize three times.
On the eve of the war and in the war years SPA “Bazalt” developed high-explosive, high-explosive/fragmentary, illuminating, incendiary, smoke and practice (training) mortar rounds for 50mm, 82mm, 107mm, 120mm and 160mm smoothbore mortars; the M-240 240mm mortar boasting an increased fire power and using a steel HE mortar bomb weighing approx 140kg capable of destructing hard bunkers, brickwork and reinforced concrete buildings and structures was adopted for service in 1950. So far, in terms of fire power there is no foreign counterparts which are on a par with this system.
Smoothbore mortars featuring improved ballistics (120mm 2B11 towed mortar, 82mm 2B14-1 mortar, 82mm 2B9 automatic mortar which does not have analogs in the world) were introduced into service in the late 70s – the early 80s. Within a short period of time SPA “Bazalt” developed for these mortars the families of rounds quite new in terms of qualitative characteristics boasting enhanced efficiency and increased range of fire including rounds fitted with proximity fuzes. The 120mm 2B14-1 mortar ammo set includes fragmentation, illuminating and smoke rounds. For 120mm mortars the enterprise developed HE/frag, illuminating, incendiary and smoke burning-type rounds. The mortar bombs are fitted both with multi-sectional and long-range propelling charges to ensure an increased fire range. The HE/frag bomb body is fabricated from of high-strength cast iron or projectile steel to ensure high efficiency against manpower located on open terrain, soft-skinned and lightly-armored materiel. The smoke burning-type mortar bomb comprises a parachute which ensures its superiority in terms of smoke screen parameters over its foreign counterparts.
Today, the enterprise is developing a new generation of 82mm mortar rounds designed to be used for the 2B24 mortar of the latest design. These rounds comprise fragmentary, illuminating or burning-type projectiles, in terms of their technical characteristics they are on a par with the best foreign counterparts, while in terms of some efficiency parameters they outperform the world’s level. (are superior to)
Artillery gun rounds
Development of ammo for the Land Forces artillery guns began in SPA “Bazalt” with creation in the early 60s of the SPG-9 antitank mounted mortar with the PG-9V round which boasted high performance characteristics and generated interest among developers of the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle.
The PG-15V and PG-15VS antitank rounds, as well as the OG-15VM round with a fragmentation grenade designed to be used for the BMP-1 gun 2A28 make it possible for the gun to defeat hostile tanks, artillery mounts, manpower.
The SAO 2S9 self-propelled artillery gun was created in the late 70s. For this gun, as well as for the 2S23 SP artillery gun and the 2B16 gun, SPA “Bazalt” created a family of 120mm rounds with pre-fabricated rifling grooves.
Manufacturing of projectile shells with pre-fabricated rifling grooves and with an appropriate increase in depth of gun bore rifling allowed for creating a number of new generation systems featuring an increased range of fire and improved accuracy of fire at a bore pressure not exceeding the pressure level in 120mm smoothbore mortars. Relatively low pressure in the barrel bore made it possible to optimize the relationship between geometrical and strength characteristics of HE shells with energetics characteristics of bursting charges and to ensure high fragmentary effect of ammo. The effectiveness of action of the 120mm HE/frag projectile which is a component of the 3VOF54 round is comparable with that of a 152mm HE/frag artillery projectile.
The 3VOF55 round comprises a rocket-assisted projectile using a rocket motor with an end-burning rocket charge. The rocket motor starts to work on trajectory which allows for an increase in a fire range by 50 per cent with retention of the efficiency of action comparable with that of a standard 120mm fin-stabilized mortar bomb.
The 2S9 and 2B23 self-propelled artillery guns, the 2B16 towed gun and the 2B23 breech-loaded mortar allow for firing all types of 120mm finned mortar bombs of Russian and foreign origin.
By now, SPA “Bazalt” has developed the new self-propelled gun 2S31 based on the 2S9 SP gun design. The new gun is fitted with all up-to-date surveying, fire control and counter-detection systems. The 2S31 SP gun featuring enhanced ballistics characteristics is capable of firing not only any 120mm rounds with finned projectiles and rifled projectiles of Russian and foreign origin but also the rounds specially developed by “Bazalt” which comprise a HE/frag projectile or a cargo projectile loaded with HEAT submunitions and boast an increased efficiency.
In 2013 SPA “Bazalt” put into service the 3VOF110 round with the 3OF68 HE/frag projectile and a long-range charge for the 2S31 SP gun. The round is highly efficient against antitank systems, manpower, lightly armored materiel, tactical command/observation posts, self-propelled and towed mortars, armored targets.