Country of origin  :
Type                     :
Crew                     :
Weight                  :
Length                  :
Width                   :
Height                   :
Range                   :
Armour                  :
Armament             :
Powerplant            :
Road speed          :
Fording                 :
Vertical obstacle   :
Trench                   :
Self-propelled Anti-aircraft Artillery
28.100 kg
8,48 m 
3,27 m
2,75 m
420 km
15 mm
2 x 57 mm anti-aircraft cannon
One Model V-54 V-12 diesel engine developing 520 hp
50 km/h (maximum)
1,4 m
0,80 m
2,70 m

     For several years after World War II there were no new SPAAG models in the USSR except for the BTR-152A (which were armed with 2 or 4 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine guns). Such vehicles were designated ZTPU-2 or ZTPU-4 correspondingly and BTR-40A (ZTPU-2) wheeled SPAAGs. Two of the USSR's potential enemies – the United States and Great Britain, had high-quality air forces with substantial ground-attack experience. The need for a new tracked AA vehicle was apparent.
     In February 1946, the Design Bureau of Works No. 174 in Omsk and the Research Institute No. 58 in Kaliningrad, Moscow Oblast submitted a joint project for a SPAAG based on the T-34 tank chassis, to be armed with four 37 mm AA guns, to the Technical Council of the Ministry of Transport. However, the project did not proceed due to the desire to concentrate attention on the newest tank chassis available.
     The Design Bureau of Research Institute No. 58 (NII-58) (formerly known as the Central Artillery Design Bureau, TsAKB), under the supervision of V.G. Grabin, began the development of a twin 57 mm S-68 automatic anti-aircraft gun based on the 57 mm S-60 in the spring of 1947. The first S-68 prototype (with ESP-76 electric drive), was ready in 1948. It was initially mounted on a S-79A four-wheel carriage; that system passed various tests but did not go into production.
     The final project of the ZSU-57-2 (Ob'yekt 500), armed with twin S-68s  was finished in 1948. The first prototype ZSU-57-2 was built in June 1950, the second in December 1950. After official tests which took place between 27 January and 15 March 1951 in which the vehicle was driven for 1,500 km and 2,000 rounds were fired from its guns, six more prototypes were built for service tests. These prototypes had some improvements included, such as an increased ammunition load (300 rounds), but development stopped again due to the absence of improved S-68A guns. Various updates continued in 1952 and 1953. The service tests, in which two vehicles participated, took place in December 1954. This was due to delays in the development of drives for the S-68 guns. The ZSU-57-2 officially entered service in the Soviet Army on 14 February 1955.
     The S-68 autocannon was the most powerful AA gun installed on SPAAGs at that time. According to the statistical data of the Air Defence Research Institute No. 2, a direct hit of a single 57 mm shell could destroy a contemporary jet aircraft. In order to shoot down a jet bomber of the Canberra type, an average of 1.7 hits were deemed necessary.
     The ZSU-57-2 was the first Soviet self-propelled anti-aircraft gun to see service on a significant scale after World War II. The chassis was a lightened version of the T-54 main battle tank with thinner armour, the distinctive feature of the vehicle being the large, open-topped turret. This created a greater power-to-weight ratio than the T-54 and, coupled with extra fuel tanks, gave the gun good mobility and operating range. Practical firing rate was around 70 rounds per minute, with the empty cartridge cases being transported to a wire basket at the rear by a conveyor belt.
     The vehicle was exported widely to other Warsaw Pact countries (Poland, East Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania), North Africa (Egypt)  and the Middle East (Iran, Iraq and Syria - seeing extensive action with Syrian forces during the fighting in Lebanon against the Israelis in 1982). Cuba, North Vietnam and North Korea may have received theirs without payment.

S-68 automatic anti-aircraft gun:
     The twin S-68s are recoil-operated and weigh 4,500 kg. Their construction was based on two 57 mm S-60 AA autocannons. The guns have a recoil of between 325 and 370 mm. The individual weapons cannot be swapped from one side to the other as they are mirror images. Each air-cooled gun barrel is 4.365 m long (76.6 caliber) and is fitted with a muzzle brake. They can be elevated or depressed between −5° and +85° at a speed of between 0.3° and 20° per second, the turret can traverse 360° at a speed of between 0.2° and 36° per second. Drive is from a direct current electric motor and universal hydraulic speed gears (a manual mechanical drive is also provided in case of electrohydraulic failure; with the use of mechanical drive, elevation speed is 4.5° per second and the turret traverse speed is 4° per second).


     The guns are capable of firing up to 210–240 fragmentation and armour-piercing tracer rounds per minute, with a practical rate of fire of between 100 and 140 rounds per minute. Muzzle velocity is 1,000 m/s. Each clip has 4 rounds, each of which weighs 6.6 kg; the charge in each round consists of 1.2 kg of 11/7 nitro-cellulose powder, a projectile weighs 2.8 kg. Maximum horizontal range is 12 km (with an effective range against ground targets of up to 4 km / 2.5 miles. Maximum vertical range is 8.8 km with a maximum effective vertical range of 4.5 km / 14,750 ft). Fragmentation rounds have
 safety-destructor which activates between 12 and 16 seconds after being fired so the maximum slant range of anti-aircraft fire is 6.5–7 km. BR-281 armour-piercing rounds are able to penetrate 110 mm armour at 500 m or 70 mm armour at 2,000 m (at 90° impact angle). The vehicle carries 300 rounds, and the ammunition is stowed as follows: 176 rounds in clips inside the turret, 72 rounds in clips in the hull front, and 52 separate (unclipped) rounds in special compartments under the turret floor. Armour-piercing rounds in clips are placed in the rear part of the turret to the left and right of the guns. Empty shell cases and clips are removed via a conveyor belt through a special port in the turret rear into an external metal wire basket on the back of the turret.

  Algeria - 45 ordered in 1974 and delivered between 1975 and 1976 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service).
  Angola - 40 ordered in 1975 from Soviet Union and delivered between 1975 and 1976 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). All 40 ZSU-57-2s are currently in service.
     Bulgaria - 100 ordered in 1965 from Soviet Union and delivered between 1965 and
           1966; the vehicles were previously in Soviet service. Dozens are currently in
       People's Republic of China – Received a few from Iraq for reverse-engineering.      
          The PRC operates small numbers of Type 80 SPAAGs.
     Cameroon - 82.
     Cuba - Received 25 ZSU-57-2s stationed on the island ordered in 1963 from Soviet
           Union (the vehicles were previously up to few years in Soviet service).
     Egypt – 100 ordered in 1960 from Soviet Union and delivered between 1961 and
          1962. 40 remain in service.
     Eritrea – Received a number from Ethiopia.
     Ethiopia - 10 ordered in 1977 from Soviet Union and delivered in 1978 (the vehicles
           were previously in Soviet service).
     Hungary - 40 ordered in 1965 and delivered in 1966 (the vehicles were previously
          in Soviet service).
     North Korea – 250 ZSU-57-2 turrets ordered in 1967 and delivered between 1968
            and 1977 (the turrets were previously mounted on Soviet ZSU-57-2s). They were
            fitted in North Korea onto Type 59 hulls. All vehicles remained in service as of
     Mozambique - 20 ordered in 1982 from Soviet Union and delivered between 1983
           and 1984 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service).
     Syrian Arab Republic - 250 ordered in 1966 from Soviet Union and delivered
           between 1967 and 1973. 10 in service as of 2005.
     Vietnam – At peak there were 500 ZSU-57-2s in service with the Vietnamese army.
           Currently 200 are in service.
     Croatia - Captured several units during war.
     Finland - 12 ordered from Soviet Union in 1960 and delivered between 1960 and
           1961. Withdrawn from service in 2006.
     East Germany – 129 ordered in 1957 from Soviet Union and delivered between
            1957 and 1961. Replaced by ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" SPAAGs between 1967 and
            1974. It was completely removed from East German service in 1979. Some were
            converted into the FAB 500U driver training vehicle. They were passed on to the
            unified German state.
     Germany – FAB 500U taken from East Germany's Army. All were sold to other
           countries or scrapped.
      Iran - 100 ZSU-57-2s ordered in 1966 from Soviet Union and delivered between
           1967 and 1968 (the vehicles were previously up to few years in Soviet service).
           Around 90 remained in service until 2002.
     Iraq – 100 ZSU-57-2s ordered in 1970 from Soviet Union and they were delivered
           between 1971 and 1973 (the vehicles were previously up to few years in Soviet
           service). A few were given to the PRC for reverse-engineering. Iraq also operated
           a number of Chinese built Type 80s. All ZSU-57-2s and Type 80s were destroyed
           or scrapped prior to 2003.
     Israel – Captured a number of ZSU-57-2 SPAAGs from the Egyptians or the
           Syrians. One was given to the Yad la-Shiryon Museum, another was given to the
           Batey ha-Osef museum in Tel Aviv, Israel.
     Poland – 129 ZSU-57-2s ordered in 1957 from Soviet Union and delivered between
           1957 and 1961. Replaced by the ZSU-23-4 "Sziłka".
     Republika Srpska – 25 in 2002.
     Romania - 60 ordered in 1965 from Soviet Union and delivered between 1965 and
           1966 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). Phased out in the 1990s       
           and  replaced with Gepard SPAAGs.
     Soviet Union – Replaced with the ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" at the beginning of the 1970s;
           training units used the ZSU-57-2 at least until the end of the 1970s.
     North Vietnam - 500 including 100 ordered in 1971 from Soviet Union and delivered
           between 1971 and 1972 (the vehicles were previously in Soviet service). Passed
           on to the successor state.
     South Vietnam – A number captured from the VPA.
     Yugoslavia – 100 delivered between 1963 and 1964.
     Czechoslovakia – Imported one ZSU-57-2 for testing but did not adopt it.
Used in combat :

Sources : pvo-guns-ru, military-today, fas.org, military.dyndns.info


john fasoulas said...

A very good AA system


It is the first time I post something I make, so your comments will help me making the next one better.

Vaggelis said...

It's almost unbelievable that a system of the 50's saw action at the Second Persian Gulf war on 2003!!!

Yiannis Mathioulakis said...

nice post..! keep in touch..! ;)

Mike B said...

Very useful post, thanks very much!