Russia boosts 152mm Krasnopol artillery shell output 20-fold

The production of the high-precision Krasnopol artillery shells has experienced a considerable surge in Russia’s military-industrial complex. This increase is not only in sheer numbers but also in advancements in the ammunition’s characteristics. This revelation came to light in a program titled “Military Reception,” broadcasted on the “Zvezda” TV channel. 

Russian Army began using modernized 155mm Krasnopol-M2 projectiles
Photo credit: Telegram

To shed light on this matter, Oleg Ryazantsev, the Director General of the High-Precision Complexes Holding, shared that during what Russia labels as a “special military operation” [a term Russia uses for its military actions in Ukraine], the industrial sector successfully increased the production of Krasnopol projectiles by an impressive twentyfold.

Designed to obliterate armored targets and military objectives with a single strike, the Krasnopol is a type of 152-mm guided artillery ammunition. Its precision is attributed to aerodynamic control surfaces that guide it during the final part of its flight, aligning with the laser marking of the intended target. 

Russia boosts 152mm Krasnopol artillery shell output 20-fold
Photo credit: Zvezda

The Russian military is notably deploying Krasnopol-guided projectiles in their ‘special military operation.’ Target illumination for these projectiles is achieved through both land-based target designators and drone technology, such as the Orlan-30.

Currently, the forces are being equipped with modernized Krasnopol-M2 artillery shells, a product of the Ordnance Design Bureau. There has been a significant increase in the use of this specific type of projectile within the Northern Military District. This uptick can largely be attributed to a considerable acceleration in their production speed. 

The Krasnopol-M2, designed to be fired from a standard artillery piece, employs a combination of GPS and laser guidance to deliver a precise strike on its target. The initiation process involves loading the shell into the artillery piece and launching it in the general direction of the target. A built-in GPS receiver within the shell assists in navigation towards the intended target.

Russia: 2K25 Krasnopol shell is more accurate than M982 Excalibur
Photo credit: TASS

As the artillery shell nears its target, its laser guidance system steers the course. The target is illuminated by the laser and the shell’s integrated sensor captures this light, adjusting its trajectory to pinpoint the source of the light. The Krasnopol-M2 system is further enhanced by a proximity fuse feature. When the shell approaches its destination, this feature activates the warhead’s explosion. 

The modernized Krasnopol-M2 comes equipped with an advanced fuse, capable of enabling airburst, direct impact, or delayed detonation modes. This adaptability allows the artillery’s response to be customized to fit the nature of the target. Owing to the system’s precision guidance, accurate strikes are accomplished up to a distance of 20 kilometers, thereby reducing potential collateral damage and maximizing artillery efficiency.

“The Krasnopol-M2 artillery shell showcases a monumental advancement in Russian artillery technology,” claims Dr. Andrew Radin, an established political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He further asserts that this improvement was engineered explicitly for the demands of contemporary warfare. 

Kalashnikov builds new base bleed 155mm Krasnopol guided projectile
Photo credit:L Wikipedia

“Russia’s proficiency in artillery technology is clearly apparent in the Krasnopol-M2. This could be a game-changing addition to any future warfare scenario,” shared Michael Coffman, who leads the research program at CNA Corporation.

Adding to the discussion, Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, observed, “The Krasnopol-M2 represents an unparalleled advancement in Russian artillery, both in terms of range and precision. This unmistakably communicates Russia’s determination to sustain its leading position in military technology.” 

In November last year, the Russian defense firm Rostec declared upgrades to the Krasnopol-M2 artillery shell, while refraining from sharing specifics. In a bid to shed some light on these developments, established defense analyst and editor of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, Alexei Lenkov, suggested possible improvements. Reportedly, as quoted by TASS, Lenkov predicted that one potential upgrade might be designed to enhance Krasnopol’s ability to target moving objects.

Russian Army began using modernized 155mm Krasnopol-M2 projectiles
Photo credit: Telegram

In the vicinity of the Russian Federation and among its allies, numerous countries are currently armed with 155 mm artillery. These countries are not only potential users of Krasnopol-M2, but they also can create their own iterations under license. A prime example is Belarus, a strong ally of Russia, which is confirmed to possess 155 mm artillery in its arsenal. 

Looking further abroad, we can see similar arrangements in Kazakhstan, Armenia, Vietnam, India, and Algeria. Here’s an interesting tidbit for you: Krasnopol artillery projectiles are currently in service in Russia, China, Greece, India, and Syria. Greece itself doesn’t operate in Krasnopol. Instead, its operation is based in Cyprus, where 12 M2000G Zuzana self-propelled howitzers are in use. As it stands today, all of these operators are using 152 mm artillery systems.

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