2S4 Tyulpan

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2S4 Tyulpan
2S4 Tyulpan.jpg
Type Self-propelled mortar
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1972 – present
Wars Soviet-Afghan War
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
Syrian Civil War
War in Donbass
Production history
Produced 1969 – 1988
Weight 30 tons
Length 8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)
Width 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
Height 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
Crew 5[1]

Armor 20mm max.
240 mm (9.4 in) mortar
7.62 mm PKT machine gun
Engine V59 V-12 liquid-cooled diesel
520 hp (387.76 kW)
Power/weight 17 hp/tonne
Suspension Torsion bar
420 km (260 mi) on road
Speed 62 km/h (39 mph)

The 2S4 Tyulpan (often spelled Tulpan, Russian: 2С4 «Тюльпан»; English: tulip) is a Soviet 240mm self-propelled mortar. "2S4" is its GRAU designation. The Tyulpan is the largest mortar system in use today.


The Tyulpan in deployed position.

The 2S4 Tyulpan was seen by the west for the first time in 1975, and so received the NATO designation M-1975, whereas its official designation is 2S4.

The 2S4 saw action during the conflicts in Afghanistan[2] and Chechnya.[3] In both conflicts, the "Smel'chak" ("Daredevil"), a laser-guided round consistently destroyed targets quickly, precisely, and with only a few rounds. The extreme firepower per round compensates for the Tyulpan's slow rate of fire. There were also, reports that the Tyulpan may have been used by the Syrian Army during the 2012 bombardment of Homs.[4]. Although, other reports suggest that the towed 240 mm mortar M240 were used instead.[5] And OSCE observers, monitoring movements of equipment in the War in Donbass with an UAV, spotted a 2S4 on territory under control of the Donetsk People's Republic on 4 July 2015.[6]


Video of Tyulpan in action

The 2S4 Tyulpan designs is based on the GMZ tracked minelaying vehicle carrying an externally mounted M-240 240 mm breech-loading mortar on the rear of the hull. The 2S4 uses an autoloader of sort. It has two automated drum-type magazines, capable of holding up to 40 standard high-explosive rounds or 20 long range rocket-assisted rounds. The rounds are fed to the top of the carrier, where they are placed on a track. The mortar then tilts to the horizontal position. The breech opens and a ramming device pushes the round into the breech. The breech closes and the mortar tilts into the firing position.

The 2S4 has a slow rate of fire, only one round per minute. This is due to the large size of the mortar and the weight of its ammunition (130 kg (290 lb) for a standard HE rounds and 228 kg (503 lb) rocket-assisted HE rounds). It can also be loaded one round at a time via a small crane, which is most often used to load the magazines or to place specialty rounds onto the loading track.

The 2S4 has a range of 9,650 meters using standard high-explosive rounds, but a range of 20,000 meters using extended range munition. In addition to the high explosive rounds, it can also fire armor-piercing, laser-guided and cluster munitions, as well as chemical and tactical nuclear rounds. The Russians claim that the chemical and tactical nuclear munitions are no longer in service.

The 2S4s crew consist of a driver and the commander, plus an additional 3 support troops are needed to operate the mortar. The additional troops are usually carried by a separate armored personnel carrier.


Map with 2S4 operators in blue and former operators in red

Current operators[edit]

  •  Russia - 10 in active service. 410 in storage.[7] Currently under modernization. The modernized vehicles have been fitted with modern communications and control systems.[8]
  •  Syria - 24 vehicles in active service with the 3rd, 4th (passed on from the Defense Companies) and 10th Armoured Divisions, and the 14th Special Forces Airborne Division.

Former Operators[edit]


  1. ^ Heavyweights: The Military Use of Massive Weapons. Stephen Smith & Leo Marriott, Simon Forty Book Sales, Sep 3, 2017. page 220-221
  2. ^ 2S4 M-1975 Tyulpan 240-mm self-propelled mortar
  3. ^ War in Chechnya Archived 9 December 2001 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Murphy, Dan (21 February 2012). "Syria's Assad is hitting Homs with the heaviest mortars in the world". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  5. ^ https://offiziere.ch/?p=27127 The largest-caliber mortar system in the world is shelling cities in Syria and Ukraine (2/2). April 25, 2016. by Sébastien Roblin.
  6. ^ "Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 19:30 (Kyiv time), 5 July 2015" OSCE 2015-07-06
  7. ^ The Military Balance 2013. — P. 226.
  8. ^ http://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12150585@egNews
  9. ^ Jane's Armour and Artillery 1997-98 ISBN 0-7106-1542-6

External links[edit]