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ASU-85



Overview


ASU-85

ASU-85 in Polish service during an exercise.
Source: Polish MOD - © public domain

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Assault gun
Entered service
1959
Status
Limited service
Development
1951 - 1959
Developer
Soviet Union - Astrov design bureau
Production
1958 - 1967
Producers
Soviet Union - MMZ
Soviet Union - PMZ
Designations
ASU-85 / Aviadesantnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka 85
Russian for "airborne self-propelled mount 85"
M1962
NATO designation for ASU-85
M1974
NATO designation for ASU-85M

Description


Introduction

The ASU-85 is a Cold War era assault gun of Soviet origin. It was developed in the 1950's as a replacement for the ASU-57 assault gun in use with Soviet airborne forces. The name ASU-85 stands for "Aviadesantnaya Samokhodnaya Ustanovka", which is Russian for "airborne self-propelled mount". The number 85 refers to the caliber of the main armament. The ASU-85 became operational in the early 1960's and was extensively used during the Cold War. Since the late 1960's the ASU-85 was supplemented by the BMD-1 airborne infantry fighting vehicle.

Layout

The ASU-85 is an assault gun with fixed casemate superstructure. The tracked chassis is derived from the PT-76 amphibious light tank. The crew of 4 is seated in the fully enclosed casemate. This has the long 85mm gun mounted in the center and firing forwards. The engine and drivetrain are located at the rear.

Firepower

The main armament is the 85mm D-70 L/67 cannon. This is similar to the ordnance of the D-48 towed anti-tank gun and provides better range and rate of fire than the ubiquitous D-44 divisional gun. The effective range is 1.2 km for armor piercing rounds and 1.6 km for high explosive rounds. The casemate structure allows for a limited gun traverse, but the tracked chassis allows the ASU-85 to pivot. Secondary armament consists of a 7.62mm SGMT or PKT coaxial machine gun. Some ASU-85 were fitted with 12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun.

Protection

Since the ASU-85 was designed to be air dropped the weight had to be kept low. As a result the armor is quite thin. The armor protects the crew from small arms fire and shell splinters. From any angle other than the frontal arc it is vulnerable to heavy machine gun fire. Its low profile reduces its silhouette as a target.

Mobility

The most distinguishing feature of the ASU-85 is its ability to be air dropped from It could also be transported by Mi-6 helicopters. The tracked chassis provides good mobility in rugged terrain. The tracked chassis allows the ASU-85 to pivot and aids in aiming the main armament. The 260 hp V-6 inline water-cooled diesel allows for a maximum speed of 45 km/h. Unlike the PT-76 the ASU-85 is not amphibious.

Users

Due to the specific role the production number of the ASU-85 was rather low. The primary user of the ASU-85 were the Soviet airborne forces. Each division used 31 units and Poland was supplied a similar number. Eventually the BMD-1 replaced the ASU-85. Its 9K11 Malyutka missile had greater range and penetration than the 85mm gun on the ASU-85. The ASU-85 is no longer in service.

Details


ASU-85

ASU-85 assault gun leaving an An-12 transport aircraft.
Source: US DOD - © public domain

ASU-85

The ASU-85 is an assault gun with distinctive looks. It is based on a highly modified PT-76 amphibious light tank chassis with fixed casemate superstructure. The ASU-85 is easily identified by long 85mm ordnance, casemate in center position and long hull with low silhouette.

Variants

ASU-85
Original production version introduced in 1958. All ASU-85 were produced to the same standard
ASU-85M
Upgrade introduced in the early 1970's. Replaced SGMT by PKT and fits a 12.7mm DShKM heavy machine gun with 600 rounds. Main gun ammunition load is reduced to 39.
Facts ASU-85
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Assault gun
Crew
4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Dimensions
Weight
15.5 t combat load
Length
8.49 m with gun
6.24 m hull
Width
2.97 m
Height
1.94 m
Main armament
Type
85mm D-70 L/67 rifled cannon
Mount
Casemate
Ammunition
45 rounds in ASU-85
39 rounds in ASU-85M
Elevation
-4.5 to + 15 degrees, manual
Traverse
-15 to +15 degrees, manual
Stabilizer
No
Coaxial armament
Type
7.62mm SGMT machine gun in ASU-85
7.62mm PKT machine gun in ASU-85M
Mount
Coaxial
Ammunition
2.000 rounds, 250 ready to fire
Traverse
Traverse and elevation as main armament
Secondary armament
Type
12.7mm DShKM heavy maching gun in ASU-85M
Mount
Pintle mount on roof
Ammunition
500 rounds, 50 ready to fire
Traverse
Manual traverse and elevation
Chassis
Chassis type
Tracked chassis, 6 roadwheels
Idler front, drive sprocket rear
Ground pressure
0.57 kg/cm²
Suspension
Torsion bar
Automotive
Engine
YaMZ-206V 6-cylinder inline water-cooled diesel
Power output
210 hp
Transmission
Manual
Fuel
400 L
Mobility
Speed
45 km/h on road
25 - 30 km off road
Range
360 km on road
230 km off road
Turn radius
Pivot
Power to weight ratio
13.5 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.42 m
Wall
0.7 m
Trench
2.5 m
Gradient
30 degrees
Fording
1 m
Protection
Armor type
Steel
Armor thickness
10 to 40 mm
NBC system
Yes
Smoke system
No
Equipment
Gun sight
TShK-2-79 telescopic sight
Night vision
TPN-1-79-11 passive for gunner
Radio
R-113 in ASU-85
R-123 in ASU-85M

Media


Related articles


PT-76

The ASU-85 assault gun uses a chassis that is derived from the PT-76 amphibibious light tank.