Self-propelled artillery installation ShKH vz. 77 DANA (Czechoslovakia)

Self-propelled artillery installation ShKH vz. 77 DANA (Czechoslovakia)
Self-propelled artillery installation ShKH vz. 77 DANA (Czechoslovakia)

Strategic and tactical mobility is of particular importance for self-propelled artillery. The combat vehicle must prepare for firing in the shortest possible time, complete the firing mission and leave to a safe place. Otherwise, it runs the risk of retaliation. The required capabilities can be provided in different ways. Very original solutions were proposed in the Czechoslovak project of the ShKH vz. 77 DANA.

The history of the DANA project dates back to the early seventies of the last century. Then the command of the armed forces of Czechoslovakia expressed a desire to get a promising artillery self-propelled gun that meets current requirements. The appearance of such a machine would make it possible to re-equip artillery units without resorting to the purchase of foreign equipment. The current situation allowed the designers to abandon a number of traditional solutions and use some new ideas.


ACS ShKH vz. 77 DANA of the Czech Army at Combined Resolve, November 2013 Photo by The Joint Multinational Training Command Public Affairs Office

The project of a promising ACS was developed by specialists from the Konštrukta Trenčín organization. Other companies were involved in the work as subcontractors responsible for certain components. In the middle of the decade, the development of the project was completed. Later, prototypes of self-propelled guns were built. According to the test results of the latest ACS, DANA was recommended for serial production and adoption.

The full official designation of the self-propelled gun looks like Samohybná Kanónová Húfnica vzor 77 (“Self-propelled howitzer cannon, type 77”) or ShKH vz. 77. The additional name DANA is also used (Dělo Automobilní Nabíjené Automaticky - “Automatic reloading gun on a vehicle chassis”). In the future, new modifications of the ACS received one or another of their own designations.

Technical look

The same requirements were imposed on the promising Czechoslovak model as for other self-propelled guns of the seventies. However, in order to obtain the desired results, it was proposed to use a number of new or insufficiently widespread solutions. As a result, the ShKH vz. 77 had the most noticeable differences from most other self-propelled guns. First of all, it was distinguished by a wheeled chassis. In addition, a gun turret with original internal equipment was used.

The special wheeled chassis Tatra 815 was taken as the basis for the combat vehicle. Such a chassis had a large front two-seater cabin, behind which the engine compartment was located. Behind the hull of the latter, a large and long platform was provided for mounting a payload - in this case, a gun turret. Some of the units were placed in a small rear casing. All main units and the cockpit, as well as the gun turret, received light bulletproof booking.


Czech artillerymen during exercises, October 2012. Photo by

The chassis in the basic configuration was equipped with a Tatra T2-930.34 diesel engine with a power of 340 hp. The engine torque was distributed to all eight drive wheels. Due to the high loads that arise during firing, the self-propelled gun does not have the ability to fire from wheels. When deploying to a firing position, the vehicle must be suspended on four hydraulic jacks.

On the central cargo platform of the self-propelled gun ShKH vz.77, a large armored turret is installed, containing the main units of an automated manned fighting compartment. The tower has a distinctive appearance: its forehead is wedge-shaped, and the sides are formed by a pair of armor plates that form a similar structure. The forehead and roof of the tower have a large embrasure, which allows firing in a wide range of elevation angles. Behind the embrasure, in the stern, there is a large central niche separating the two side compartments. Horizontal guidance is carried out by rotating the entire tower within a sector with a width of 225 °. Vertical guidance - from -4 ° to + 70 °. The aiming control is carried out remotely using electric and hydraulic drives. Manual drives are also available.

The main weapon of the DANA self-propelled guns was a 152-mm rifled howitzer cannon of a new type. This gun received a barrel with a length of 36 calibers and a semi-automatic bolt with a vertical wedge. Barrel mounting systems include advanced recoil devices. The latter have one hydraulic recoil brake and a pair of pneumatic recoil cylinders. A single chamber muzzle brake was also provided.

The most important feature of the Czechoslovak project was the introduction of automatic loading. The supply of shells and shells with a propelling charge is carried out separately, using different mechanisms. Storage facilities for the various components of the shot are located in the rear of the turret. In the left compartment there are devices for working with casings, in the right compartment for shells. Ammunition is fed to the ramming line and then sent to the chamber using automation. The automatic loader is designed in such a way that, when ramming, the barrel can maintain its current position; the return of the trunk to the specified elevation angle is not required. The task of the crew members is to control the systems and work with fuses. Loading can be done completely manually if required.

Self-propelled artillery installation ShKH vz. 77 DANA (Czechoslovakia)
Self-propelled artillery installation ShKH vz. 77 DANA (Czechoslovakia)

Self-propelled guns at the parade in Prague, May 9, 1985 Photo Wikimedia Commons

Using the automatic loader, the ShKH vz. 77 is capable of firing up to 7-9 rounds per minute. Manual reloading reduces the rate of fire to 2 rounds per minute. Transportable ammunition - 60 rounds of separate loading.

The self-propelled gun received very simple fire controls. The ZZ-73 and PG1-M-D sights were intended for shooting from closed positions. The project also provided for the use of the OP5-38-D telescopic sight for direct fire. It was proposed to receive target designation and data for firing using a standard radio station. The use of gyroscopic instruments, automated calculation and control systems was not envisaged.

The DANA self-propelled gun was developed taking into account compatibility with other modern models. So, it could use all existing ammunition for the Soviet D-20 and D-22 guns. In addition, from a certain time, the Czechoslovak gunsmiths worked on their own shells for their self-propelled guns. As a result, the combat vehicle was able to use a wide range of ammunition for various purposes with different characteristics. The basis of the ammunition is high-explosive fragmentation shells. Also cumulative, smoke, etc. have been developed.

When using the 152-EOF high-explosive fragmentation projectile, which has an initial velocity of 690-695 m / s, the self-propelled howitzer cannon is capable of attacking targets at ranges up to 18 km. The upgraded 152-EOFd with a gas generator flies 2 km further. The range of use of cumulative projectiles of all types in practice was limited only by the line-of-sight distance. Modern active-rocket projectiles, offered using the latest modifications of self-propelled guns, have a firing range of up to 25-30 km.

Additional armament of the Czechoslovak self-propelled gun consists of one large-caliber machine gun DShKM. The machine gun is mounted on the turret of one of the turret hatches. Ammunition includes 2000 rounds of ammunition in strips and is stored on the racks of the fighting compartment.


The loader is also a machine gunner. Photo

The crew of the ShKH vz. 77 DANA consisted of five people. The commander and driver were located in the front cab of the chassis. Access to their seats is provided by a pair of roof hatches. In the frontal sheet of the hull there are large windshields covered with movable shields. There are additional viewing devices in the cheekbones.

The other three crew members must work in the fighting compartment. Large hatches in the sides and roof of the tower are intended for them. On the left side of the tower are the gunner's and loader's workplaces, who are responsible for working with shells. The second loader, who controls the delivery of shells, works on the right side of the turret.

The use of a wheeled chassis led to a slight increase in size in comparison with other modern armored vehicles, but at the same time it allowed to reduce the combat weight. The length of the self-propelled gun DANA reached 10, 5 m, width - 2, 8 m, height - 2, 6 m. Combat weight - 23 tons. On the highway, the self-propelled gun can reach speeds of up to 80 km / h. The cruising range is 600 km. There is a possibility to overcome various obstacles. Water barriers are crossed by fords with a depth of no more than 1, 4 m.

Manufacturing and supply

In the mid-seventies, the Czechoslovak industry built prototypes of the latest self-propelled guns, and soon all the necessary tests were carried out. According to their results in 1977, the ShKH vz. 77 were adopted. For a number of reasons, the start of mass production was delayed, and the first combat vehicles went to the troops only in the early eighties. For the rearmament of the Czechoslovak army, a total of 408 self-propelled artillery mounts were ordered and purchased.


ACS DANA-M1 CZ. Photo Excalibur Army /

Soon after the completion of the tests, a promising self-propelled gun was offered to third countries. The first foreign customer was the Polish People's Republic. More than 110 combat vehicles entered service with her army. Another 120 units were later ordered by Libya. In the case of the Polish and Libyan contracts, it was about the supply of DANA machines of the basic modification.

At some point, ACS ShKH vz. 77 was proposed by the USSR. Soviet specialists studied this sample and made the necessary conclusions. The Czechoslovak armored vehicle did not have decisive advantages over the existing Soviet-made self-propelled guns. The purchase of imported equipment was considered inappropriate. Nevertheless, in 1983, 10 machines were purchased for trial operation.

At the end of the eighties, despite the disputes in the Soviet military department, another order for a hundred (according to other sources, more than 110-120) DANA self-propelled guns appeared. This technique was to be used by units of the 211st artillery brigade of the Central Group of Forces deployed in Czechoslovakia. The operation of self-propelled guns of the 211st brigade lasted no more than two years. In 1990, Soviet troops returned to the USSR, and the available self-propelled artillery was transferred to the Czechoslovak army.

After the collapse of Czechoslovakia, most of the self-propelled guns available (over 270 vehicles) went to the independent Czech Republic, while Slovakia received only 135 pieces of equipment. Subsequently, the Czech military reduced the fleet of their armored vehicles, selling a significant number of self-propelled guns to third countries. In particular, less than fifty ShKH vz. 77 in the middle of the 2000s went to Georgia.


Upgraded car at the exhibition. Photo

There is information about the use of self-propelled guns of the DANA family in battles. Thus, the Georgian armed forces used a certain amount of their ShKH vz. 77 during the conflict in South Ossetia in August 2008. According to available data, the Georgian army now has only 36 vehicles of this type, which makes it possible to estimate possible losses. At the same time, several armored vehicles became trophies of the Russian troops.

In the same 2008, five self-propelled guns of the Polish army were sent to Afghanistan to participate in a joint operation of NATO countries. The details of their application are unknown.

By the beginning of the well-known events of 2011, no more than 80-90 self-propelled guns of Czechoslovak production remained in service with Libya. Their fate after the outbreak of the civil war is unknown. It can be assumed that this technique, along with other samples of armored combat vehicles, was actively used in various battles and suffered losses. It cannot be ruled out that by now all Libya's ShKH vz. 77 were destroyed or decommissioned when the resource was depleted.


Since the mid-eighties, the Czechoslovak industry has been working to improve the existing self-propelled gun. The first upgrade option was proposed in a project called Ondava. It provided for the use of a new gun with a 47-caliber barrel and a two-chamber muzzle brake, supplemented by an improved automatic loader. The main result of this modernization was the increase in the firing range. The maximum value of this parameter reached 30 km.


The column of new DANA-M1 CZ is heading to Azerbaijan. Photo

The Ondava project was being developed at the wrong time. T. N. the velvet revolution and the collapse of Czechoslovakia interfered with the work of the defense industry. In the early nineties, the project was closed due to the impossibility of its full implementation. Nevertheless, the developments on the topic have not disappeared. Later they were used to create new modifications of the DANA ACS.

In the late nineties, Slovak specialists developed a project for the modernization of ShKH vz. 77 called MODAN vz. 77/99. This update did not affect the design of the chassis or weapons, but offered new fire controls. The digital control system has improved the accuracy of the fire. In addition, some new devices made it possible to abandon the second loader.

The newest version of the base machine ShKH vz. 77 is a self-propelled gun ShKH DANA-M1 CZ. Several years ago, the Prague-based Excalibur Army proposed a modernization project that involved updating the chassis and power plant, as well as installing new navigation and fire control systems. Such measures led to an improvement in mobility and an increase in basic combat characteristics.

In the mid-nineties, Slovak designers finalized the original project ShKH vz. 77 with the use of new weapons. The M2000 Zuzana project proposed the use of a 155-mm rifled gun compatible with NATO standard ammunition. Later, new options for such a self-propelled gun were proposed. The A40 Himalaya project provided for the installation of an existing turret on a tank chassis, and the Zuzana 2 self-propelled gun, while retaining the main features of its predecessors, is distinguished by improved weapons and new electronics.


ACS ZUZANA 2 with a 155 mm gun. Photo

Most of the modernization projects for the ACS of the DANA family, for one reason or another, did not interest the customers. The first order for the supply of updated equipment appeared only in 1998, when the Slovak army wished to receive 16 M2000 Zuzana armored vehicles. Subsequently, Cyprus bought 12 cars in a modified version of the M2000G. In September 2017, it became known about the appearance of a contract for the supply of self-propelled guns DANA-M1 to Azerbaijan. The quantity and cost of this technique has not yet been specified.


The presence of its own defense industry and extensive experience in relevant areas allowed Czechoslovakia to do without the purchase of export self-propelled artillery installations and create its own project. As shown by tests and further operation of serial machines ShKH vz. 77 DANA, the project was very successful. In addition, it had good potential in terms of modernization.

It should be noted that in terms of the number of combat vehicles produced, the DANA family can hardly compete with some leaders in the self-propelled artillery field. However, this technique was created, first of all, for the needs of the developing country and only then was it exported. However, this did not prevent several samples of the family from going into series and entering service with several armies. In addition, the development of the initial ideas of the first project continues to this day.

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