Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun
Praga PLDvK vz. 53/59, official Czechoslovak service name
Jet?rka (lizard), Czech nickname
Czechoslovak state arsenals
Late 1950's - 1960's
Czechoslovakia - Czechoslovak state arsenals
About 400 to 500 M53/59 were produced.
- UNIT COST
Effective against ground targets
Low production costs
No fire control radar
Limited effectiveness against jet aircraft
Poor off road performance
Crew is exposed in firing position
The M53/59 is an early Cold War era self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of Czechoslovak origin. It was developed in the early 1950's to provide Czechoslovak forces with air defense that could keep up with mechanized forces. At the same time the Soviet ZSU-57-2 was developed, but trails indicated that the lighter and much cheaper M53/59 was just as effective.
The M53/59 is based on an armored version of the successful Praga V3S 6x6 truck. The engine is located at the front, the four man crew cabin in the middle and the flatbed with anti-aircraft gun at the rear. The turret is a modified version of the older towed M53. It differs in using large vertical 50 round magazines instead of belts. It is possible to unload the gun mount and use it on the ground.
The armament consists of two 30mm autocannon that fire large and powerful 30x210mm HEI or API round. Each gun is fed by a 50 round box and has a cyclic rate of fire of 450 to 500 rpm. The effective range is 3 km versus aerial targets and 2 km versus light armored vehicles. The towed version has similar characteristics but is fed from 10 round clips.
The M53/59 has no radar or fire control system. Only optical gun sights are fitted. This limits its use to clear weather and daytime and makes engaging fast moving targets or targets at maximum range difficult.
The steel armor protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters when on the move. In the firing position the crew is fully exposed on the gun mount. Smoke grenade dischargers and NBC system are both lacking.
The Praga V3S chassis is has proven to be rugged and reliable. Due to its weight and long wheelbase the off road capabilities are limited. A Tatra 110 hp diesel engine provides propulsion and allows for a maximum road speed of 60 km/h. The maximum range is about 500 km and the M53/59 is not amphibious.
The main users of the M53/59 were Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and their successor states. Several hundred vehicles were also exported to the Middle East. The M53/59 was used during several Middle Eastern conflicts and was actively used against ground targets in the Balkans. Nowadays the M53/59 is considered obsolete and only small numbers remain in use.
M53/59: The M53/59 is based on an armored Praga V3S 6x6 truck. A magazine loaded version of the towed M53 anti-aircraft gun was adapted and mounted on the flatbed. The guns on the M53/59 have a higher rate of fire and are fed by large 50 round magazines. A M53/70 with improved fire control was marketed for export sales but never produced.
|Type||Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun|
|Crew||3 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)|
|Height||2.59 m travelling, 2.95 m with magazines|
|Ground clearance||0.4 m|
|Weight||10.3 t combat load|
|Wheelbase||Wheeled chassis, 6x6, 3.58 + 1.12 m wheelbase, 1.87 m track, 8.25 x20 tires|
|Engine||Tatra T 912-2 6-cylinder air cooled diesel, 110 hp at 2.200 rpm|
|Power ratio||10.7 hp/t|
|Transmission||Manual, 4 forward, 2 reverse|
|Speed||60 km/h on road|
|Gradient||60% gradient, 30% slope|
|Armor||Steel, up to 10 mm|
|Armament||2x 30mm autocannon|
|Weapon1||2x 30mm autocannon on flatbed|
600 to 800 rounds, 100 ready to fire
-10 to +85° elevation, powered
360° traverse, powered
M53: The M53 is a towed twin 30mm anti-aircraft gun. It was developed after World War 2 and fulfils the same role as the Soviet ZU-23. The M53 is based on a four wheel carriage that is supported by four jacks. The two 30mm autocannon are fitted to a turntable. The gun is operated by a single operator and two men standing next to the weapon supply the ammunition. The guns on the M53 are fed by 10 round clips.
|Type||Towed anti-aircraft gun|
|Crew||1 on weapon, 3 loaders alongside|
|Ordnance||30x210mm M53 autocannon, 2.43 m barrel (2x)|
|Elevation||-10 to +85°, manual|
|Rate of fire||450 - 500 rpm cyclic (per barrel), 100 rpm practical|
|Range||3 km effective, 9.7 km horizontal max, 6.3 km vertical max|
|Carriage||4 wheel carriage with two outriggers and two jacks, 1.57 m track, 0.3 m ground clearance|
|Weight||1.75 t firing position, 2.1 t travelling|
|Length||7.59 m (travelling)|
|Width||1.76 m (travelling)|
|Height||1.58 m (travelling)|
|Towing vehicle||6x6 truck|