Mounted on the BMP-3 amphibious armored vehicle chassis, 2S38 Derivaciya is a combination of anti-aircraft artillery that can attack unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, tactical aircraft and helicopters, thanks to the use of optoelectronic target detection and tracking systems.
At the Military Exhibition within the framework of the International Military Technical Forum “Army-2019” on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia introduced several new types of military equipment that will soon be equipped for the Russian army. This includes 2S38 Derivatsiya-PVO self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery on the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle chassis. These complexes have just begun to be supplied to the Russian army. According to Rosoboronexport sources, Russia will soon introduce the export version in the near future.
The Syrian battlefield has become the ideal place for testing new Russian weapons. The Ministry of Defense has revealed that more than 400 new weapons have been tested here. Recently, several battlefield sources revealed that Russia transferred 2S38 Derivatsiya-PVO 57mm to Syria to test its capabilities.
According to the main design engineer, Ilya Kryzhin, the main reason for the introduction of this system is the rapid development of unmanned aircraft. So far, no air defense systems have been able to effectively deal with very small and cheap aerial targets. Using the smallest anti-aircraft missile to shoot down a UAV also means wasting money. Therefore, experts proposed the development of a 57mm anti-aircraft artillery system that was forgotten. This automatic anti-aircraft gun can use both existing 57mm ammunition as well as electronic control bullets and armor-piercing rounds. 57mm artillery combined with modern fire control systems can effectively protect ground troops not only from UAV attacks, but also from cruise missiles, helicopters and attack aircraft.
Russia’s development of a large-caliber self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery system mounted on the chassis of infantry fighting vehicles is certainly surprising. On the payroll of the Russian army there are also other air defense complexes such as Pantsir or Tunguska that have proven their capability over a long period of time. However, the Russian philosophy when creating 2S38 is completely different. According to Mr. Ilya Kryzhin, 57mm is the optimal caliber. If larger calibers such as 76mm, 85mm or 100mm are used, such systems cannot be mounted on the chassis of infantry fighting vehicles.
For ground forces, the mobility of anti-aircraft artillery is of paramount importance, the artilleries must move together with tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, capable of wading. If a heavier chassis was used, the self-propelled gun would not be able to wade. And if a smaller caliber is used, it will reduce the radius of damage and total firepower. Therefore, 57mm is the optimal caliber for such weapons systems in terms of firepower and ammunition. Of course, with minor modifications, this anti-aircraft system could be installed on other chassis.
For Pantsir or Tunguska, the effectiveness combat relies primarily on the 30mm cannon, which has a relatively low operational efficiency, while the missiles are relatively expensive. That’s why the Russians decided to create the 2S38 complex. Thanks to 57 mm ammunition fitted with electronic fuses and modern optical sight devices, 2S38 is capable of destroying many aerial targets at a maximum range of 6km. It can engage flying targets at a maximum speed of 1,800 km/h.
The 57 mm cannon has a rate of fire of 120 rounds per minute, the amount of ammunition stored in the vehicle is 148 rounds, the effective range is estimated at 4.5 km. Optoelectronic reconnaissance armament has a wide field of view, covers 360 degrees with a maximum range of over 12 km. 2S38 self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery system will help the Russian Army for the first time in service an electronic fuse-firing weapon like the kind that Western countries are using, which saves money and brings diversity in the mode of operation.
2S38 air defense vehicle is designed to operate as part of a larger system, including various support vehicles. As mentioned above, 2S38 is built on the BMP-3 chassis. In addition to the 57mm main gun, it is also equipped with a 7.62mm machine gun.
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The hull and turret of this air defense vehicle is made of welded aluminum alloy armor. The front arc is protected by composite armor, able to resist 30mm armor-piercing bullets. The hull of the vehicle can resist 14.5mm armor-piercing bullets. It can be supplemented with explosive reactive armor to enhance protection. The NBC protection system is also equipped to protect the crew from biochemical agents, also has an automatic fire extinguishing system. At the top of the turret, there was a set of smoke grenades, it could also create smoke screens by pumping fuel into exhaust, much like Soviet-era combat vehicles.
2S38 Derivatsiya-PVO self-propelled artillery is operated by a crew of 3, including the commander, the gunner and the driver. Soldiers enter and exit through a door at the rear along with hatches.
2S38’s engine is mounted at the rear, it is powered by a UTD-29 V-10 diesel engine, developing 500 horsepower. This armored vehicle has hydraulic suspension, which can be adjusted to suit each type of terrain. Developed from BMP-3, 2S38 inherits the amphibious ability of its predecessor, it is propelled by 2 waterjets.
When entering the defensive position, the vehicle will use a self-entrenching blade mounted at the front to dig. Working with 2S38 was an accompanying 9T260 ammunition supply vehicle, the vehicle was based on a 6×6 military truck. It carries 57 mm ammunition for the main gun, as well as liquid cooling for the gun. Reloading the self-propelled anti-aircraft gun would take 20 minutes, one 9T260 can reload two 2S38 at the same time.2S38 Derivatsiya-PVO made its debut at the 2017 Army International Military Forum, but at that time it was a mockup model. After only a short time, the prototype was produced. The Russian even confident that this self-propelled gun can destroy targets in some cases with just two shots. This is considered an impressive parameter, commonly, the interception of aerial targets is often assigned to high-speed artillery or guided missiles. In addition to air defense, 2S38 can become an effective weapon to destroy enemy infantry.