Russia’s New Koalitsiya Guns Boast High Precision and Range - But Face Growing Foreign Competition

The first unit of enhanced Koalitsiya-SV self propelled artillery systems were delivered to the Russian Army in May 2020, and represent one of multiple new potentially revolutionary combat vehicles being delivered alongside the T-14 battle tank and T-15 armoured transport. The new artillery system was optimised during development specifically to engage fortified positions far behind the front lines, and can fire 10 rounds per minute at targets up to 70 km away. They are equipped with remote controlled machine guns and smoke grenades as secondary defensive weapons. Regarding the Koalitsiya's very high precision, Vadim Kozyulin of the Russian Academy of Military Science reported: “The deviation radius of the Koalitsiya is about one-two meters… Operating at a 70 km range, the weapon resembles a sniper rifle. Just as precise and deadly.” Elaborating on its performance, the expert stated: “The Koalitsiya has some serious ammunition. Aside from the high-explosive shrapnel shells it boasts cluster - even armor-piercing - shells, with laser-input coordinates during travel. The latter are called the ‘Krasnopol’, and were developed specifically for the Koalitsiya… The artillery crew is able to punch in coordinates into Koalitsiya’s computer that don’t only come from their spotters, but also radioed in from a drone. Such data is input automatically, and the gun then locks onto the target on its own.” 

According to expert Pavel Kovalev cited by Russian state media outlet TASS, the artillery system “outperforms the best foreign and domestic versions by 30-70% in terms of the firing range, by 50-200% in terms of the accuracy of fire, by 50% in terms of the rate of fire and by 50-200% in terms of the time of accomplishing a combat task.” This claim is somewhat dubious, with the massive North Korean Koksan 170mm artillery gun also having an estimated engagement range of 70km, an older variants of this gun having been in service since the 1970s. The Chinese Type 05 155mm gun meanwhile currently holds the record in terms of engagement range at 100km. Although the Koalitsiya-SV currently provides Russia with an advantage over NATO competitors, it may well face a disadvantage against the artillery systems fielded by its East Asian neighbour - with the South Korean K-9 thunder also being a close rival in terms of performance. With the U.S. notably having renewed efforts to improve its own artillery systems from the late 2010s with some very promising test results the Koalitsiya-SV, although formidable, may find itself outmatched by NATO ground units as well in future despite it only just having begun to enter service. With the U.S. Military facing increasingly strained budgets however, whether funds will be allocated to deploying a new generation of artillery systems which cost considerably more than their Russian counterparts remains highly questionable.

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