2S19 Msta-S

soviet tanks USSR (1980-today)
Uraltransmash c1,130 built 1989-2019.

The 2S19 Msta-S is a 152.4 mm self-propelled howitzer manufactured by Uraltransmash, entering service in 1989. A radical departure from previous designs, it was the designated successor to the 2S3 Akatsiya. Its chassis was partly based on the T-80, but with the the T-72 diesel engine and a tailored turret with a new 2A64 L47-caliber howitzer capable of 24 km range up to 36 km with rocket-assisted rounds. An estimated 1130 were manufactured until today, production of the 2S19M and of the improved 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV is going on. The vehicle already saw action in the Second Chechen War and in the current Russo-Ukrainian War. It was also exported to 6 countries, mostly successors states.

2S19 at Vostok in 2018

Development of the 2S19

The Msta-S (GRAU index 2S19, object 316, NATO M1990 "Farm") is named after the river Мста diver, quite a change from traditional flower names. This new long range self propelled howitzer was designed around a new howitzer called the 2A64, 47-caliber which could be towed as well. The 2S19 Msta-S is the armoured self-propelled howitzer variant, the 2A65 Msta-B the towed gun. Its Development started in 1980 already as proyekt Ferma. It was supposed to te replace the 2S3 Akatsiya a 1970 vehicle with cast turret operating a 152.4 mm D-22 howitzer L/27 widely exported (c4,000 made) and produced until 1990 as the 2S3M2, still operated today in some units.

It was clear from the beginning the replacement needed to be improved in any way, while keeping a 152 mm howitzer. In that case, its barrel was elongated and it was procured a longer range, whikle the turret was to be quipped with better ammunition management system, firing computing and the latest in data lionk and inter-unit communication. The prototype was known as Obyekt 316 in 1982, entrusted to Uraltransmash's design bureau.

At the Ural Transport Engineering Plant, development was entrusted to chief designer Yu. V. Tomashov and the gun itself 2A64 under G. I. Sergeev. The 2S19 obeyed the following specifications: To destroy tactical nuclear weapons, artillery and mortar batteries, tanks and other armored vehicles, anti-tank weapons, manpower, air defense and missile defense systems, command posts, field fortifications and disrupt maneuvers of enemy reserves in depth. It was also defined to fire at observed and unobserved targets from closed positions and direct fire, and ioperates in mountains.

In November 1983, the first prototype was ready, tested at the Rzhev test site in 1984. Initially, the T-72 tank chassis was used, but it showed during testing serious shortcomings, notably a large swing of the gun when firing. It was thus decided to only recuperate its hull geometry, engine, transmission and control drives. Torsion bars and rollers were borrowed from the T-80 tank. After eliminating issues in 1986, six 2S19 (pilot batch) were manufactured for military tests. After completion of these and further improvements were made.

Tests went on in 1987, state tests concluded in 1988, and after more fixes, it was approved into service in 1989, adopted by artillery regiments of motorized rifle and tank divisions of the Soviet Army, and first demonstrated at the air show of Zhukovsky in August 1992. In late 1989 production commenced at Uraltransmash and went on until 2019, so for a remarkable three decades. Lenin and State Prizes were awarded for its development and production.

Design of the 2s19

It was standardized with a semi-automatic laying system 1P22 and automatic loader as well as a more modern full NBC protection system, and passive night-vision driver sight. It was also designed to include a snorkel, had an optional dozer blade, a new engine-fed smoke generator plus 81 mm smoke launchers. It was also equipped with the new 1V116 intercom system, and a 16 kW auxiliary generator AP-18D. Improvements started from 2008 (see below) with a new automated fire-control system.

Hull and general design

Closeup of the howitzer main block

The self-propelled howitzer resuses the hull of the T-72 tank, welded from rolled steel armor sheets and divided into three sections: control, combat and power unit (engine and transmission). The forward section houses the driver's seat with all controls. In the center fighting compartment there is a modified 2,44 m ring mount for a new welded turret installed on a ball ring, so that the slab-sided turret, without ammunition weighting 13.5 tons alone. Most space inside is taken by the 2A64 gun and crew seats around.

On the front right is the commander's seat, and front left the gunner's seat and sighting devices. Behind the gunner and commander, two most seats are installed for the loaders backup. The commander's seat had a rotating pannier to allow him to emerge through a roof cupola similar in design to the commander's position and cupol of the T-64 and T-80.

At the rear of the turrets are installed a massive loading system, with two mechanized conveyors for charges and projectiles. Under the turret, at the bottom of the hull the rotating floor platform is attached with four brackes. Rounds are stored below, in the hull and could be loaded from the ground through a special mechanized feed tray outside the turret. Additional conveyors for supplying ammunition are also partially external. In the stowed position, on belt stays outside, the other is retracted inside.

The rear hull houses the engine and transmission compartment, similar to that on the T-72 tank. The turret is equipped with an APU for the forst time, a gas turbine unit AP-18D which provides direct current at 16 kW for all systems when the engne is cold, ensuring continuous operation for 8 hours. There are also 2 filter ventilation units and a breech sealing system to prevent gas contamination in fighting compartment.

Protection, passive and active

The armor of the 2S19 self-propelled gun depends of the module. The hull is less armoured than the original T-72 as did the turret with at best 15 mm or 0.6 inches of RHA steel, providing bulletproof and fragmentation protection for the crew. The thickness is constant, including on the roof and engine deck. The sides of the running gear are protected by a rubber side skirt which design changed over time, becoming deeper.

For camouflage, the vehicle can set up smoke screens, using six grenade launchers 902B placed on the foward part of the 2S19 turretwith various types of 81-mm smoke grenades, which can includes anti-personal ones if needed. The engine's exhaust is also setup with an oil injection system to create additional smoke. There are three automatic fire extingishers, each for either compartlent and a collective NBC protection system complete with full sealing and overpressure, but not air climatization.

Powerplant & Performances

The 2S19 comes with a V12, four-stroke diesel engine V-84A, liquid-cooled and supercharged, rated for 780 hp. In addition to diesel fuel, the engine can operate on kerosene TS-1, T-1 and T-2. The transmission is mechanical, with onboard planetary gearboxes, seven forward and one reverse gear. Top speed on the seventh forward gear is 60 km/h.

The 2S19 chassis is unified with the T-80, with six pairs of rubber-coated road wheels, five pairs of support rollers on either side. The same drive sprockets at the rea, and same idlers at the front, individual torsion bar plus telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers on the first, second and sixth road wheels.


152 mm ordnance

2K25 shell

Laying system and converoy

Main gun

The main 152 mm 2A64 howitzer is completely unified in terms of ballistic characteristics and ammunition with the towed 2A65 variant for the sake of mass production. Main shared components are the barrel, bolt, electrical equipment, rammer, recoil devices, cradle, fence, balancing and lifting mechanisms. It is a monoblock design, connected to the breech. There is ejector in the front part of the barrel and muzzle brake attached. There is a vertical wedge bolt for the breech, semi-automatic.

The gun can be fired either manually or with an electric trigger. The semi-automatic shutter is designed to open during the roll-up after firing the gun. The cradle is welded with a lifting mechanism fixed into it and a fence bolted at the rear of the cradle. The guard contains elements of the trigger mechanism, a rammer, a ruler for measuring the recoil length, and a trigger locking mechanism to avoid spent rounds bounding about.

The electromechanical rammer pushes autimatically projectile and charge, and removing the spent cartridge case in a single operation to facilitate the work of human loaders which essentially choose and lays the ammunitions. Recoil consists in the spindle-moderator brake which cylinder is fixed under the breech with pneumatic knurl filled with nitrogen. The mount can depresse and elevate from −4 to +68°.

It is electricaly traverse and elevated, but there is a manual backup mode, using a flywheel. The pneumatic balancing mechanism compensates for the post-firing imbalance for its swinging part.

Ammunition load is 50 standard rounds, but that depends of the rounds, like the Krasnopol guided projectile which is larger; Either 42 standard shots and 4 3OF39 projectiles, or 47 standard shots and 3 3OF39 projectiles, 39 standard shots and 7 3OF39 projectiles.

24.7 km (15.3 mi) standard round
28.9 km (18.0 mi) base-bleed
36 km (22 mi) rocket-assisted
Rate of fire: 6–8 rounds per minute
Deployment time: 22 minutes.

NSVT Heavy MG.

It was located around the commander's cupola. The NSVT (Nikitin-Sokolov-Volkov, Tank) as developed in the 1960s and 70s as an evolution of the NSV machine gun, adapted for tank and armored vehicle mounts. It used the same ammo as the old DsHk which it replmaces, 12.7x108mm and like the former is Gas-operated, air-cooled, with a quick-change barrel. Rate of Fire: Around 700-800 rounds per minute. Effective Range: Approximately 1,500 meters for ground targets, with a maximum range of about 2,000 meters for aerial targets. It came usually equipped with optical and night vision sights for targeting. It is used to engage both ground and low-flying aerial targets.

Other equipments

The 2S19 comes with the "Orlan-10" tactical level automated control system, tightly integrated. There is a TKN-3V combined sight with an OU-3GKUM searchlight on the commander’s cupola. The NVST anti-aircraft machine gun is assisted by a PZU-5 sight. The gunner had its 1P22 artillery panoramic sight use dalso for indirect firing positions plus the 1P23 direct fire sight. The driver had three TNPO-160 prism observation devices and a central TVNE-4B night vision device. Each are equipped with a special pneumatic cleaning system (blowing air on these to chase off dirt).

Radio communication rests on the R-173 station. It operates in the VHF range, range 20 km, depending on the height of the antenna. There is also an intercom 1B116, with headgear for 7 crewmen.

The 1V124 system is used for automated control, guidance and stabilized fire as well as restoring aiming after a shot. It includes the automated sight 1P22, control 1V122, guidance drives 2E46. The 1V122 displays firing settings from the battery commander vehicle via radio and wired communication channels.

2s19 specifications

Dimensions (L-w-h)7.15 x 3.38 x 2.99m (23 ft 5 in x 11 ft 1 in x 9 ft 10 in)
Total weight42 tonnes (93,000 lb)
Crew 5
PropulsionV-84A 840 hp (630 kW), 20 hp/t
Top speed 60 km/h (37 mph)
Suspensions Torsion bar
Range500 km (310 mi)
Armament152 mm 2A64 L47 (+68°) 6-8 rpm, 36 km range, 1 NSVT HMG
Armor15 mm (0.6 in) all-around


2S21 Msta-K (1985)

Parallel 8x8 truck Wheeled chassis adapation with the modified 2A67 gun, several prototypes on the Ural-5323 and KrAZ-6316. Abandoned 1987.


Presented in 2000, production starting in 2007, with an Improved fire-control system and GLONASS antenna plus modernised V-84AMS engine.

2S19M2 (2S33 Msta-SM2)

Presneted in 2013: Improved version in production until 2019: -New automatic fire-control system for 10 rpm.
-Digital electronic maps, new computing and new displays for navigation in challenging conditions
-New 2A79 152 mm/L60 ordnance with improved ballistics (more propellant charges, higher breech pressure)
-Longer, heavier barrel, greater range of fire (HE-FRAG: 30 km (19 mi) or 40 km (25 mi) with rocket-assisted shells.

2S19M1-155 (2006)

Export version of the M1 with the L/52 gun, range 40 km+ (25 mi), modernised 2020.

2S19M (1998)

2S30 Iset or 2S33 Msta-SM Project with improved range and rpm, easier maintenance, optimised manufacturing, abandoned for the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV.

1K17 Szhatie

The "laser tank" armed with a battery of lasers meant to disable optoelectronic systems; based on the Msta-S.

2S35 Koalitsiya-SV

SV means "sukhoputniye voyska", replacement version, same base, prototypes using the 2S19 chassis with modified turret with more compact over-and-under dual autoloaded 152 mm howitzer. Development abandoned for a new system under the same name.


Russia offered its Msta-S 152 mm howitzer on export, targeting in particular the Middle East with a demonstration in 2020 by Rosoboronexport, to their local representatives. The numbers are low however outside Russia, which still keeps the bulk of production.
azeri tanks Azerbaijan: 18 as of 2024
ethiopian tanks Ethiopia: 10 as of 2024
georgian tanks Georgia: 1 in 2024
ukrainian tanks Ukraine: 35 in 2024
venezuelian tanks Venezuela: 48 in 2024 pic
belarus tanks Belarus: 12 in 2023, now all disposed of.

The 2S19 in action

The 2S19 was mostly built during the difficult years of the post-collapse of the USSR. Production thus fell to an historic low and progressed just enough to keep the factory running for decades. Msta-S howitzers were used for the first time against Chechen separatists in the 2002 Second Chechen War.

They saw action in the Russo-Ukrainian War, starting in 2014 when pro-Russian separatists captured an Ukrainian one, but later from 2020 Msta-B and Msta-S were used by Ukraine and Russian, notably in the recent Battle of Bakhmut.

Indeed as of 16 December 2023, OSINT visual evidence suggest 199 Msta-S lost on the Russian side, 150 destroyed, 12 damaged, 2 abandoned, 35 captured as well as 38 Msta-SM2 (18 destroyed, 2 damaged and 17 captured) according to Oryx at the time this article is out by 23 May 2024. As for Ukraine, 5 Mtsa-S were lost as per the same source.

To put things in perspective, in 2024, Russia is estimated to have still 300 2S19/2S19M1 Msta-S and 300 2S19M2/2S33 Msta-SM in service plus 36 2S19M1 Msta-S with the Naval Infantry, and 150 2S19 Msta-S in storage. This story is not over indeed but the supply is dwindling down.


oryxspioenkop.com egyptian 2S19 mobilized
Video CC: "Orlan-10" as part of the "Msta-S" division (tactical level automated control system). A special feature of the Orlan-10 is its tight integration with the Msta-SM self-propelled guns.
oryxspioenkop.com russian losses
oryxspioenkop.com ukrainian losses

modl kits list on scalemates.com


Initial production vehicle in 1990 showing its standard T-90 rubber skirt.

Upgraded version with a new type of deeper rubber skirt, late 1990s

Demonstration export vehicle for the Middle East

Another Russian vehicle with a two-tone green livery

Other side, standard Russian camouflage

Azeri vehicle (Azerbaidjan)

Ethiopian vehicle in operations

2S19M, other side, as deployed in Ukraine, 2022

Ukrainian 2S19 in 2022


Cold War Tanks

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Cold War Main Battle Tanks

Cold War Soviet Army


They go hand in hand.

Tanks had no tactical manual when first used. It was learned the hard way and perfected over decades, as well as weapons, countermeasures and accompanying vehicles.