Air defense / Anti-aircraft guns / ZU-23

ZU-23

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Towed anti-aircraft gun

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    Type 80 (Chinese production model)
    Sergei (Finnish nickname)
    SH-23M (Egyptian production model)
    2A13 (industrial index)
    ZSU-23-2 (uncorrect nickname)

  • DESIGNED
    1954 - 1960

  • DESIGNER
    KBP

  • PRODUCTION
    1960 - present (ZU-23)
    1985 - ? (ZUR-23-2S)

  • PRODUCERS
    Bulgaria - Arsenal JSC
    China
    Egypt
    Iran - Aerospace Industries Organization
    Poland - ZM Tarnow
    Russia
    USSR

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited size
    Large volume of fire
    Easy to operate
    Low cost system
    Manual traverse and elevation
    Limited engagement radius

Introduction

The ZU-23 is a towed 23mm twin barrel light anti-aircraft gun. It is the most widely employed anti-aircraft gun in the world. The design took place in the Soviet Union in the mid 1950's and it was accepted for service in the early 1960's. ZU stands for Zenitnaya Ustanovka, Russian for anti-aircraft mount. It is also referred to as the ZU-23-2. The ZU-23 is a small and simple weapon that provides a high volume of fire. For that reason it remains popular even though its usefulness against ground targets has reduced over time.

Layout

The design of the ZU-23 is based on the earlier ZPU-2 anti-aircraft gun, from which it can be distinct by the positioning of the ammunition boxes and different armament. Instead of the two 14.5mm KPV autocannon on the ZPU-2 two 23mm 2A14 autocannon. In the firing position the two wheels are raised and the firing platform rests on three outriggers. An optical-mechanical sight aids in aiming. The ZU-23 is manually operated by two men that are seated on the weapon.

Firepower

The ZU-23 is fitted with two 2A14 autocannon firing the 23x152mm round. Each 2A14 is fed by a 50 round belt. The cyclic rate of fire is 2.000 rpm, but short burst must be fired to allow the barrels to cool down. The maximum effective range against air targets is 2.5 km. Ground targets, including lightly armored vehicles, can be engaged up to 2 km.

Mobility

Normally the ZU-23 is towed by a GAZ-69 or GAZ-66 4x4 light truck. For increased mobility the ZU-23 is often mounted on vehicles and trucks, such as the Ural 6x6 truck. When mounted on a vehicle it is also easier to employ it against ground targets.

Users

The ZU-23 replaced the ZPU series in Soviet service and were widely exported to nations allied to the USSR. The ZU-23 remains in active service throughout Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Variants

ZU-23

The ZU-23 is a towed twin barrel 23mm anti-aircraft gun. The design is somewhat similar to the ZPU-2. In the firing position the ZU-23 rests on three legs and the wheels are folded sideways. The 23mm guns are air cooled and fitted with a quick change mechanism.

TypeTowed anti-aircraft gun
Crew5, 2 on weapon
Ordnance23x152mm 2A14 autocannon (2x)
Elevation-10 to +90°, manual
Traverse360°, manual
Rate of fire800 - 1.000 rpm cyclic (per barrel), 200 rpm practical
Range2.5 km vs aircraft, 1.5 km altitude, 2 km vs ground targets
Carriage2 wheel carriage with three outriggers, 1.67 m track
Weight950 kg with ammunition
Length4.57 m (travelling)
Width1.83 m (travelling)
Height1.87 m (travelling)
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
RemarksZUR-23 optical-mechanical sight

ZUR-23-2S Jod

The ZUR-23-2S Jod is a Polish upgrade of the ZU-23. It is fitted with the more capable GP-1R tachometric sight unit and two SA-7 man portable surface to air missiles. The sight increases the effectiveness of the 23mm autocannon and the SA-7 missiles increase the engagement range.

TypeTowed anti-aircraft gun
Crew2 on weapon
Ordnance23x152mm 2A14 autocannon (2x)
Strela-2M SAM (2x)
Elevation-10 to +90°, 40/°s
Traverse360°, 60°/s
Rate of fire800 - 1.000 rpm cyclic (per barrel), 200 rpm practical
Range2.5 km vs aircraft, 1.5 km altitude, 2 km vs ground targets
Carriage2 wheel carriage with three outriggers, 1.73 m track
Weight1.120 kg
Length4.68 m (travelling)
Width1.9 m (travelling)
Height2.00 m (travelling)
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
RemarksGP-1R tachometric sight

ZUR-23-2KG Jodek-KG

The ZUR-23-2KG Jodek-KG is the latest version of the ZUR-23-2S Jod. KG stands for Kolimatorowy Grom, Polish for collimator Grom. It follows the same design principle as the Jod, but is fitted with a new sight and more capable missiles. The improved sight unit is the CKE-2 collimator sight. The two SA-7 missiles have been replaced by the Polish GROM surface to air missile.

TypeTowed anti-aircraft gun
Crew2 on weapon
Ordnance23x152mm 2A14 autocannon (2x)
Grom SAM (2x)
Elevation-10 to +90°, 40/°s
Traverse360°, 60°/s
Rate of fire800 - 1.000 rpm cyclic (per barrel), 200 rpm practical
Range2.5 km vs aircraft, 1.5 km altitude, 2 km vs ground targets
Carriage2 wheel carriage with three outriggers, 1.73 m track
Weight?
Length?
Width?
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
RemarksCKE-2 collimator sight

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