Russian Artillery uses new reconnaissance system in drills

Artillery units of Russia’s Southern Military District destroyed a notional enemy’s mobile firing positions in the Republic of Adygeya in live-fire drills, employing a new reconnaissance and target acquisition system, the District’s press office reported on Thursday.

“Artillery teams of the Southern Military District held live-fire exercises in Adygeya, firing Msta-S 152mm self-propelled howitzers against a simulated enemy’s mobile firing positions. The artillery personnel used the most advanced Argus mobile reconnaissance post mounted on the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle for reconnaissance and target acquisition,” the press office reported.

The artillery personnel also practiced complying with the time standards of assuming firing positions from the move, conducting live-fire from sheltered positions using a single gun or acting as part of artillery units.

Overall, the drills involved over 600 personnel and about 100 items of military hardware, the press office said.

The PRP-4A Argus mobile reconnaissance post is designated to reconnoiter single and multiple, stationary and mobile, open and camouflaged targets like a tank for the land forces’ artillery. The upgraded Argus was unveiled at the RAE-2013 defense show in Nizhny Tagil in the Urals.

This reconnaissance vehicle has a number of sensors and can operate in day or night conditions. The Argus is fitted with a mast-mounted battlefield surveillance radar. This radar detects mobile and stationary targets. It can detect enemy troops at a range of 7 km and moving tank-size targets at a range of 12-20 km. Once the hostile tank is stationary and its engine is turned off, detection range is reduced to 2 km. The PRP-4A can recognize buildings at a range of 25 km. In travelling order the radar is retracted in to the turret.

The vehicle also carries other sensors, such as laser rangefinder, thermal camera and other. These are used to detect camouflaged targets. The radar and optical-electronic surveillance system of the Argus are accurate out to 20-40 meters. Some of the equipment can also be used while dismounted. In this case a dismounted observation post can be set up to 6 km from the vehicle.

Once targets are detected and identified target information with coordinates is sent to an artillery battery command post vehicle, which then initiates a fire mission.

The PRP-4A is armed only with a 7.62 mm machine gun for self-defense. Vehicle is also fitted with a countermeasures system. This system notifies the crew when incoming laser beam is detected. The laser threat is the countered by an aerosol screen created by smoke grenade dischargers. This system is effective against anti-tank guided missiles with laser guidance. Vehicle can also lay its own smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust.

Armor of this reconnaissance vehicle provides all-round protection against 12.7 mm rounds. Front arc partially withstands 20 mm rounds. Vehicle is also fitted with automatic fire suppression and NBC protection systems. It also carries a camouflage net and a set of heat shields for stealth operation on the frontline.