The 2S31 Vena self-propelled mortar appeared at the Army-2023 forum, and in the combat formation of the Russian Army in the Ukrainian battlefield.

With firepower strong enough to destroy many types of targets, Russia’s 120mm 2S31 Vena self-propelled mortar is causing concern for Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield.

With the help of reconnaissance UAVs and especially guided bullets, the 2S31 self-propelled mortar will have the opportunity to promote its qualities in precision fire support. Currently, the Russian Army, as well as Ukraine and NATO, are looking for answers to the complex challenges of modern conflicts, when UAVs have completely changed combat tactics; but at the same time, artillery was and remains a key factor influencing the outcome of the confrontation.

The 2S31 mortar can be considered a continuation of the famous 2S9 Nona-S self-propelled mortar, but twice as large. Deputy Commander of the Russian Artillery explained that the 2S31 Vena turret is a newly designed, placed on the chassis of the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle. The 2S31 Vena has longer firing range comparing with the 2S9 Nona-S, even though it uses the same ammunition. This mortar system can be used as mortar or howitzer, delivering direct or indirect fire.

Maximum range of fire is 7.2 km with mortar mines and 13 km with gun shells. Various munitions can be used, including HEAT, HE-FRAG, smoke. Vena is compatible with all munitions, developed for the Soviet/Russian 120 mm combined gun/mortar systems. It can also fire any 120 mm mortar shells. For precision attacks against armored targets the 2S31 uses Kitolov-2M precision guided munitions.

Secondary armament consists of 7.62 mm remotely-controlled machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. At the time of its introduction the Vena was fitted with a very advanced fire control system, which ensures a high first-round-hit probability. Fire control system includes reconnaissance, target acquisition, navigation and positioning systems.

Armor of the 2S31 Vena provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. Vehicle has a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

The 2S31 Vena is based on a heavily modified IFV BMP-3 chassis, equipped with a 500 horsepower UTD-29 diesel engine. The vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h and a range of 600 km. Vena has fully amphibious abilities. On the water, it is propelled by two water jets, with a swimming speed of 10 km/h.

Surely the massive appearance of 2S3 Vena self-propelled mortars on the Ukrainian battlefield will create adjustments to the battlefield situation in favor of the Russian army. It is possible that the 2S31 self-propelled mortar will soon become a popular fire support weapon like the T-72 tank or Ka-52 helicopter in the Russian Army.

On the Ukrainian battlefield, a rapid-firing self-propelled gun, especially with the help of a fire control computer, could become an ideal weapon. The reality is that Russian artillery fires a lot, but with poor accuracy, because they don’t have time to observe and correct their shots. The reason is to “shoot and run”, otherwise they will be accurately counter-fired by Ukrainian artillery.

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