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A Greek army ZU-23 twin barrel 23mm anti-aircraft gun without ammunition boxes.
Source: Greek Army - © copyright lies with original owner

Soviet Union
Anti-aircraft gun
Entered service
In service
Late 1950's
Soviet Union - KBP Instrument Design Bureau
1960 - present
Soviet Union
Bulgaria - Arsenal
Poland - ZMT (licensed production since 1972)
Egypt - Abu Zaabal (licensed production)
China - (direct copy)
ZU / Zenitnaya Ustanovka
Russian for "anti-aircraft mount"
2A13 (GRAU index)
Sergei (informal Russian nickname)
23 ItK 95 (Finnish military service)
SH-23M (Alternative name for Egyptian ZU-23M)
Type 85 (Chinese production)



The ZU-23 is a towed 23mm twin barrel light anti-aircraft gun. It is one of the most widely employed type of anti-aircraft guns 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. 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



A Greek army ZU-23 in the firing position.
Source: Greek Army - © copyright lies with original owner


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.


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