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ZU-23-2 in Saint Petersburg.jpg
A ZU-23-2 on display at Saint Petersburg Artillery Museum.
Type Towed 23 mm Anti-Aircraft Twin Autocannon
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1960 - present
Used by See Operators section
Production history
Designed Late 1950s
Produced 1960 - ? (out of production)
Variants See Variants section
Specifications (ZU-23-2)
Weight 0.95 tonnes (2,094 lbs)
Length 4.57 m (15 ft)
Width 2.88 m (9.44 ft)
Height 1.22 m (4 ft)
Crew 6

Traverse 360°

The ZU-23-2, also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft twin autocannon. ZU stands for Zenitnaya Ustanovka - anti-aircraft mount.


Development history

ZU-23-2 was developed in the late 1950s. It was designed to engage low-flying targets at a range of 2.5 km as well as armoured vehicles at a range of 2 km and for direct defense of troops and strategic locations against air assault usually conducted by helicopters and low-flying airplanes.[1] Development of this weapon into a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) lead to the ZSU-23-4 Shilka.


It mounts two 2A14 23 mm autocannons on a small trailer which can be converted into a stationary mount for firing the guns. While in this position the wheels are moved aside. The autocannon can be prepared for firing from the march position in 30 seconds and in emergency can be fired from the traveling position. The weapon is aimed and fired manually, with the help of the ZAP-23 optical-mechanical sight which uses manually entered target data to provide limited automatic aiming. It also has a straight-tube telescope for use against ground targets such as infantry as well as unarmored or lightly armoured vehicles. The ammo is a feed by a conveyor belt from two ammunition boxes. Each of the ammunition boxes are located on the side of the twin autocannon and each carries 50 rounds. The fumes created by firing the weapon are partially removed thorough the side openings in the barrels.[1]

The cannon carriage is based on the earlier ZPU-2 anti-aircraft twin heavy machine gun, which mounted two KPV 14.5 mm heavy machine guns. ZU-23-2 can be identified by different placement of the ammunition boxes (at right angles to the gun carriage) and by muzzle flash suppressors. In another similarity to the ZPU series, single-barrel and four-barrel versions of the ZU-23 were also developed. However, these versions never entered service.

ZU-23-2 can be towed by a number of different vehicles. In USSR and later Russia the most frequently used towing vehicles for it were GAZ-66 four-wheels drive trucks and GAZ-69 four-wheel drive light trucks.[1]

Service history

ZU-23-2 entered service with the Soviet Army in 1960. ZU-23-2 is often mounted on trucks for use in both anti-aircraft and fire support roles. It can also be mounted on the roof of the MT-LB multi-purpose tracked APCs. Specially modified three-legged ZU-23-2 is used in BTR-DG based airborne SPAAG. Cheap, easy to operate and still effective, the ZU-23-2 is still used by the Russian Army and by more than 20 other armies. The Finnish military nickname for the weapon is Sergei. There are also non-ex-Soviet produced versions of the weapon. One example is the Polish ZUR-23-2TG, which has improved sights and is armed with "Grom" missiles in addition to the autocannons. Another is the Finnish 23 ItK 95, which is often vehicle mounted, like a technical.



Soviet Union

  • ZU-23 - Original Soviet variant.
  • ZU-23M - Upgraded Soviet variant. Has new targeting system (which includes laser rangefinder, television channel, optical mechanic device, can be reinforced with thermo location channel and a television system for usage at night) and electromechanic turn system.


Hibneryt - Star 266 mounted ZUR-23-2KG gun
  • ZU-23-2 - Polish designation for basic gun variant with electro-optical sight and electromechanic gun turn system.
  • ZUR-23-2S Jod - Polish variant with electromechanic gun turn system, electro-optical sight and twin luncher for "Strela-2M" missiles (picture).
  • ZUR-23-2KG Jodek-G - Development of ZUR-23-2S with more advanced sight and twin luncher for "Grom" missiles (pictures).
  • ZU-23-2MR - Polish naval version of ZUR-23-2S (picture).
  • Hibneryt - A ZU-23-2 family gun mounted on specially modified Star 266 truck, truck is fitted with additional ammunition for the gun and modified electrical installation to power guns electromechanic turn system (gun can also work from batteries).



  • Type 85 Chinese built version of the ZU-23-2 with Twin-23mm guns.
  • Type 87 Chinese upgraded version with Twin-25mm guns.

General characteristics

Polish ZUR-23-2S Jod at a shooting range.
  • Overall dimensions in firing position
    • Length: 4.57 m (15 ft)
    • Width: 2.88 m (9.44 ft)
    • Height: 1.22 m (4 ft)
  • Weight: 0.95 tonnes (2,094 lbs)
  • Armament: two 2A14 Afanasyev-Yakushev 23x152mm (.90 in) autocannons
  • Barrel length: 2 m (6.5 ft)/ 87.3 calibers
  • Muzzle velocity: 970 m/s (3,182 ft/s)
  • Projectile weight: 186 g (6.27 oz)
  • Rate of fire
    • Cyclic: 2,000 rounds per minute
    • Practical: 400 rounds per minute
  • Effective range: 2-2.5 km (1.24-1.55 mi)
  • Effective altitude: 1,500-2,000 m (4,921-6,562 ft)
  • Ammunition
    • BZT Armor Piercing Incendiary Tracer (API-T) rounds
    • OFZ High Explosive Incendiary Tracer (HEI-T) rounds
  • Crew: 6


Former Operators


External links


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