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ZPU-4


China: Type 56


Overview


ZPU-4

Iraqi ZPU-4 during the 1991 Gulf War.
Source: US Marine Corps (Lance Cpl. Lanham) - © public domain

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Anti-aircraft gun
Entered service
1949
Status
In service
Development
1945 - 1946
1948 (Soviet state trials)
Developer
Soviet Union - OKB-43
Production
1946 - 1955 (Soviet production)
Mid 1950's - at least 1980's (Type 56)
Producer
Soviet Union - ZiD
China
North Korea
Romania
Number produced
Produced in large numbers
Designations
ЗПУ-4 (cyrillic)
Type 56 (Chinese production)
MR-4 (Romanian production)
PKM-4 (Polish service)

Description


Introduction

The ZPU-4 is an early Cold War era towed anti-aircraft gun of Soviet origin. Development started in the later stages of World War 2 and it was adopted in 1949. The smaller ZPU-2 was developed at the same time as the ZPU-4. The ZPU-4 has been produced under license in China as the Type 56 and in Romania as the MR-4.

Design

The ZPU-4 is the largest version of the ZPU series of towed anti-aircraft guns. It is based on a four wheel chassis and is supported by four jacks when in the firing position. Four 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine guns are fitted, which are operated by a single person. The large volume of fire and stable firing platform made it the most effective version against aircraft, but present day the smaller ZPU-2 is valued as a better system to create makeshift gun trucks.

ZPU-4

ZPU-4 quad 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun.
Source: One half 3544 - © public domain

Firepower

The KPVT heavy machine gun fires the 14.5x114mm round at a cyclic rate of fire of 600 rpm. The maximum effective anti-aircraft range is only 1.4 km, although its slant range is about 5 km. The ZPU-4 is very effective against ground targets due to its volume of fire and ability to pierce the armor of most Cold War era armored personnel carriers.

Mobility

The ZPU-4 is rather mobile due to its limited weight and size. It can be manhandled over short distances and may be towed by light vehicles. A dedicated ZTPU-4 vehicle mount allowed installation in the BTR-152 armored personnel carrier, creating a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun.

Users

The ZPU-4 was common in the USSR and Eastern Europe during the early stages of the Cold War. A direct copy was produced in China. In the USSR and Eastern Europe the ZPU-4 was replaced by the newer ZU-23. An while few remained during the later stages of the Cold War, the ZPU-4 was still in use in the Afghan war in the 1980's. Large quantities of ZPU-4 were exported to Asia, Africa and the Middle East and remain in widespread use. Many of these have been fitted to vehicles and are mainly intended for use against ground targets.

Details


Facts ZPU-4
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Towed anti-aircraft gun
Crew
1 on mount, 5 in total
Dimensions
Weight
2.1 t combat load
1.810 kg empty
Length
4.53 m (travelling)
Width
1.72 m (travelling)
Height
2.13 m (travelling)
Ordnance
Type
4x 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun
Ammunition
4x 150 round belt
Elevation
-10 to +90°, manual
Traverse
360°, manual
Fire control
Sights
APO-14,5 (upon introduction)
ZAPP-4 (introduced in 1950's)
Firepower
Rate of fire
600 rpm cyclic per barrel
2.400 rpm combined
600 rpm practical when firing bursts
Range
1.4 km vs aircraft
Up to 2 km vs ground targets
5 km slant range
Carriage
Type
4 wheel carriage with two outriggers and four jacks
Gun shield
No
Tire size
6.5 x20
Tread
1.38 m
Ground clearance
0.28 m
Mobility
Towing vehicle
4x4 light truck
Autonomous mobility
Can be manhandled over short distances
APU
No

Media


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ZU-23-2

In Soviet service the more capable twin barrel ZU-23 replaced the ZPU-4 in the 1960's.