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122mm D-30


NATO: M1963, China: PL96


Introduction


D-30

A D-30 in use with the Afghan National Army.
Source: US Army (Sgt. 1st Class David Trice) - © public domain

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Towed howitzer
Entered service
1960 for D-30
1978 for D-30A
Status
In service
Development
Late 1950's
Developer
Soviet Union - F.F. Petrov design bureau
Production
Early 1960's - present
Producer
Soviet Union - Spetsthenika
Russia - Spetsthenika
China - Norinco
Croatia - RH Alan
Egypt - Abu Zaabal
Iran - DIO
Iraq
North Korea
Serbia - Yugoimport
Number produced
Many thousands
Designations
2A18 (GRAU index)
M1963 (NATO reporting name)
Type 96 / PL96 (Chinese production)
HR M94 (Croatia)
D-30-M (Egypt)
D-301 Shafie / HM-40 (Iran)
D-30J (Serbia / Yugoslavia)
D-30J Saddam (Iraq)
122 H 63 (Finnish service)
Khalifa-1 (Sudan)

Description


Introduction

The D-30 is a towed howitzer of Soviet origin. It was developed in the late 1950's to replace the older M-30 which had been in service throughout World War 2. The D-30 is a much more capable design than the M-30 and has a much better performance, even though it uses the same type of ammunition. The D-30 is the most numerous piece of artillery in service in the world. It was produced in large quantities and has been produced under license in various nations.

Layout

The D-30 has a unique layout since it uses a three leg chassis that serves as a stable firing platform that allows the ordnance to traverse a full 360 degrees. The ordnance has its recoil system mounted above the barrel and has a multislotted muzzle brake. A gun shields provides some protection over the frontal arc for the crew of 7. In the firing position the wheels are raised of the ground and located on each side of the gun shield.

Firepower

The D-30 fires the 122mm shells that are also used in the older M-30, but new types have been developed as well. The maximum rate of fire is 7 to 8 rounds per minute and 75 rounds may be fires in the first hour. The maximum range is 15.4 km with standard HE-Frag shells. A Chinese rocket assisted round is capable of reaching 21.9 km.

Mobility

The D-30 is often towed by a 6x6 truck such as the Ural 375D. The truck will normally also carry the crew and some of the 80 rounds that are usually available per gun. In the travelling position the three legs and ordnance are rotated in the same position and the D-30 is towed by a hook attached to the muzzle. This makes the truck and gun combination rather compact and very stable to tow at speeds up to 80 km/h.

Users

The D-30 was acquired in large quantities by the USSR and was widely exported to Warsaw Pact nations and Soviet allies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In many nations the D-30 is the standard piece of artillery. As such it has been used during most Eastern European, African and Middle Eastern conflicts since the 1960's. The D-30 is expected to remain in active service for many years to come.

Variants


D-30

A Serbian D-30 in the firing position. Note the unique three trail carriage.
Source: Serbian MoD - © copyright lies with original owner

D-30
Original Soviet production D-30 with 2A18 ordnance with multislotted muzzle brake.
D-30A
Improved Soviet D-30 introduced in 1978. Features new cradle, improved recoil system and 2A18M ordnance with double baffle muzzle brake. Sometimes called D-30M.
PL96
Chinese production version similar to original D-30. Also known as Type 96, while an earlier model was known as Type 86.
D-30-M
Egyptian production version of original D-30.
D-30J
Yugoslav production variant with double baffle muzzle brake and hydraulic rammer for increased rate of fire.
Saddam
Iraqi production version of the D-30J.

Details


Facts D-30 D-30A
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Towed howitzer
Crew
7
Dimensions
Weight
3.21 t (travelling)
3.15 t (firing position)
Length
5.4 m (travelling)
Width
1.95 m (travelling)
Height
1.66 m (travelling)
Ordnance
Type
122mm 2A18 40-caliber howitzer
Barrel length
4.875 m
Muzzle brake
Multi-slotted
Muzzle velocity
690 m/s with HE-Frag
740 m/s with BK-6M HEAT
Elevation
-7° to +70°
Traverse
360°
Firepower
Rate of fire
7 - 8 rpm maximum
75 rounds in first hour
Range
15.4 km with standard rounds
1 km direct fire with HEAT
Carriage
Type
2 wheel carriage with three legs
Limber
No
Gun shield
Yes
Ground clearance
0.33 m
Tread
1.85 m
Mobility
Towing vehicle
6x6 truck, such as Ural 375D
Towed speed
80 km/h on paved roads
Autonomous mobility
Too heavy for manhandling
APU
No

Media


Related articles


122mm M-30

The D-30 was developed to replace the World War 2 era M-30.

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The D-74 also is a Soviet 122mm howitzer but fires heavier range of rounds than the D-30 series.

2S1 Gvozdika

The 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer uses a 122mm ordnance derived from the D-30.

PLZ89

The Chinese PLZ89 self-propelled howitzer uses a 122mm ordnance derived from the D-30.

PLZ07

The Chinese PLZ07 self-propelled howitzer uses a 122mm ordnance derived from the PL96, the Chinese production variant of the D-30.