China has supplied Russia with 152mm Type-66 artillery shells

China may have delivered a 152mm artillery shell to the Russian army, thus taking a side in the Ukrainian-Russian war, writes Turkish media, citing Twitter account Ukrainian Front. This media outlet specializes in news about the defense industry, international arms deals, and conflicts around the world.

152mm Msta-B fires OF45 HE shells to deep Ukrainian fortifications
Photo: YouTube

The Russian-Ukrainian war, which began with Russia’s attacks in February 2022, continues in full violence. In the war, which has been going on for about 1.5 years now as a high-intensity war, Western countries have been providing serious ammunition and technical support to Ukraine.

Photo: China may have delivered Russia with 152mm howitzer shells
Photo credit: Twitter

China, one of Russia’s biggest allies, kept quiet about the war for a long time. However, images circulating on social media show that China has finally started supplying ammunition to Russia.

152mm howitzer shell

The image, whose location has not been specified, shows a Chinese-made Type-66 howitzer round with a diameter of 152 millimeters. The ammunition, which appears to have been manufactured in 2018 based on the markings on it, is said to belong to the Russian military.

If the claim that Chinese ammunition has begun to be used by the Russian army turns out to be true, although it is not yet confirmed, it can be concluded that the defense sector is insufficient to meet the demand in the field. The other possibility is a reduction in Russian ammunition stocks.

Up to 30K ammo is used daily

According to open sources, the parties in the Russian-Ukrainian war spend about 20-30 thousand pieces of artillery ammunition per day. Much of this artillery ammunition is howitzers. It is known that about 60% to 70% of the above 20 to 30 thousand artillery ammunition is used by the Russian army.

Although it uses less artillery ammunition than the Russian army, NATO countries are mobilized for Ukraine, which has no production infrastructure. While many NATO countries sent their artillery ammunition to Ukraine, they instructed defense industry companies to increase their production activities when this was not enough.

Kyiv has received 'unfit' M777 howitzers from the US Army stock
Photo by Gleb Garanich

On the Russian side, the process was tried for a long time to be managed with ammunition from the Soviet period. Also during this period, artillery ammunition of various sizes was supplied from Iran.

Why 152mm Howitzer ammo?

Russia on the front line in Ukraine is actively using howitzers 2C35 Coalition-SV, 2A36 Hyacinth-B, 2A65 Msta-B, 2C3 Acacia, 2C5 Hyacinth-S and 2C19 Msta-S. What these howitzers, some mobile and most towed, have in common is that they use 152mm ammunition.

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On the other hand, except for the 2A18 D-30 towed howitzer with a diameter of 122 mm, Russia mostly uses the aforementioned howitzers against Ukraine. Naturally, Russia, which has a very high consumption of 152 mm ammunition, may indeed have purchased ammunition of this diameter from China.

What 152mm Chinese shell is?

152mm Chinese artillery ammunition is made up of various parts, all contributing to the weapon’s effectiveness. Key components are the projectile, propellant, and primer. Each part is essential to the ammunition’s operation and the weapon’s overall performance. 

The projectile, typically metal and aerodynamically shaped, is the part fired from the weapon. It’s packed with explosives for maximum impact. The propellant is a mixture of fast-burning chemicals that produce gas to fire the projectile from the weapon. The type and quantity of propellant used can significantly affect the weapon’s range, accuracy, and performance. 

Photo: China may have delivered Russia with 152mm howitzer shells
Photo credit: Twitter

The primer, a small, sensitive chemical compound located at the cartridge base, ignites the propellant when the weapon is fired. This ignition initiates the chain reaction that launches the projectile. Besides these main parts, 152mm Chinese artillery ammunition may include fuses, tracer elements, and sabot parts. These extras add functionalities like timed explosions or projectile trajectory tracking.

The shape of the ammunition

152mm DANA M2 howitzer shells donated by the Czechs to Ukraine
Photo credit:

The ammunition’s shape significantly impacts its performance, affecting accuracy, range, and penetration. For example, streamlined shapes decrease air resistance and drag, maintaining velocity and trajectory, thus improving range and accuracy. Pointed shapes focus impact force, increasing penetration through tough targets. Thus, ammunition shape is key for effectiveness in combat. 

Ammunition shape also impacts flight stability. Poor shapes can cause tumbling or spinning, reducing accuracy and range. Good shapes ensure stability and orientation during flight, improving accuracy and range. Stability is especially vital for long-range artillery, where minor trajectory deviations can cause targeting errors. 

Besides shape, ammunition’s weight and balance are also crucial for performance. Well-balanced ammunition maintains stability and orientation during flight, while poor balance may cause wobbling or spinning. Heavier ammunition carries more kinetic energy and momentum, improving penetration ability. Therefore, the shape, weight, and balance all determine ammunition performance in combat.


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