Russian Malva Truck-Artillery Sees First Combat Action

2S43 Malva self-propelled artillery system 8x8
2S43 Malva self-propelled artillery system 8x8

Russian forces have deployed the recently introduced Malva 152mm truck-mounted self-propelled howitzer in combat for the first time.

Video posted on the Russian media site Vedler Army channel claimed to show the self-propelled gun of the Northern Group in action engaging Ukrainian positions on June 2, 2024.

The 2S43 Malva self-propelled artillery system demonstrates Russia’s adoption of a growing trend that began beginning around mid-1990 to find a design that offered a tactical compromise between the characteristics of towed guns and those of tracked self-propelled artillery. The is the latest Russian attempt to field this concept.

Malva utilizes BAZ-6010-02 8 X 8 wheeled chassis produced by the Bryansk Automobile Plant. Integrated to the chassis is the152-mm gun 2A64 which is also utilized on the Russian MSTA-S tracked self-propelled howitzer.

The development of the Malva reportedly occurred in early 2023 with the completion of testing and production approval occurring in July 2023. Initial fielding to field units is understood to have begun in October 2023. This represents an ambitious schedule which at least partly can be attributed to the straightforward integration offered by the truck-artillery design concept.

Essentially it allows for adoption of a gun mounting similar to that of a towed weapon to be installed on an existing wheeled chassis, thus, providing mobility to the weapon. The compromise is that this mobility may not be all off-road and passive protection offered in armoured tracked self-propelled systems is lower. However, the wheeled system has the benefits of being simpler, requiring less maintenance and less costly. It remains unclear how many Malva systems are in operation either in the Russian military or in combat.

The 152mm caliber allows use of all standard Russian artillery munitions. In addition, the system makes use of automation to assist the crew in performing position location, emplacement, and loading enhancing the Howitzer’s operations in combat situations. The range of the gun is identical to other 2A64 cannon at 24 km for High Explosive (HE) and 40 km using rocket assisted projectiles.

As with all self-propelled artillery systems their critical advantage is their ability to quickly move into position, emplace, fire and then move to relocate. This capability has been demonstrated in the current conflict to be vital as has been demonstrated that an artillery position can be detected, located, and often engaged by counter-fire within as little as three minutes of firing its first rounds. Thus, the ability to immediately move following completion of a fire mission has become key to surviving on the battlefield. Truck-mounted artillery offers that with advantages over other current options.

by Stephen W. Miller