Russia has planned an upgrade to its self-propelled howitzer gun for coastal defense, according to the Russian media outlet Sputnik News. The gun is based on the Koalitsiya-SV system that made its debut at Russia's May 9 Victory Day parade but was expected to be adjusted for use by the Russian Navy.
The Koalitsiya-SV was originally developed for ground forces, but would reportedly soon shift being the main system for coastal defense, as well. The exact specifications of the upgraded gun were expected to be announced by naval officials in the coming months. The shift to using a modified version of the hulking Koalitsiya-SV should be smooth, said Georgy Zakamennykh, Burevestnik Design Bureau chief.
“We have always favored unification because it is cheaper… The knowhow obtained during the design of the Koalitsiya-SV gun can come in very handy in the development of the new coastal defense artillery systems,” Zakamennykh said on Wednesday, according to Sputnik News.
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Russia's naval commander, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, had previously announced that the switch to the Koalitsiya-SV was likely on the horizon. The 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV was first unveiled to the public at rehearsals for May's Victory Day parade in Moscow. The massive gun and its accompanying tank were certainly an attraction that drew interest at the parade.
That version of the gun can fire self-propelled howitzers automatically without a crew member in the turret. Russian engineers said the guns also feature accurate munitions with a range of about 43 miles, Sputnik reported. The Koalitsiya-SV also includes standard chemical weapons protection, night vision, computerized controls for firing and screens that allows every crew member to take control of weapons systems. Twelve of the guns were first delivered to Russian armed forces in March.
While much of Russia is struggling economically, the country's defense sector has grown as Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to modernize Soviet-era military equipment. The planned upgrade to coastal defense was just the latest in a string of expenditures.
"While the industry is registering a decline in the current economic situation, the defense sector is demonstrating a growth of 10-15 percent and some enterprises that are speeding up their rearmament programs are expanding output by 50-130 percent," Oleg Bochkaryov, deputy head of the Military and Industrial Commission Board, said Wednesday, reported Russian news agency TASS.
Meanwhile, amid economic sanctions from the West and oil's dropping price, poverty has increased significantly, with 22 million people living below the poverty line in a population of 144 million.