Russian Acceptance of a New Self-Propelled Artillery System a Reflection of Increased Activity in Years to Come, Says GlobalData

Nov. 30, 2020

Following today’s news that Russian Airborne Forces’ (VDV) new self-propelled artillery vehicle has passed acceptance trials;

Anthony Endresen, Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“News that the 2S42 Lotus artillery system has passed state acceptance trials demonstrates Russia’s ongoing development of specialized armored combat vehicles for their Airborne Forces (VDV), in addition to Russia’s efforts to modernize its artillery systems.

“With the VDV essentially the first forces deployed in flareups or peacekeeping missions, its air-droppable and amphibious armored vehicles are critical assets of strategic import, reflected by the fact that the VDV operate its own fleet of vehicle types, discrete from the armored vehicles of the ground forces. The development of the 2S42 is significant as it will be expected to be one of the primary frontline artillery pieces for deployed Russian Forces, with the mortar’s 13km range providing both direct and indirect supporting fire. Given Russia’s doctrine and the international environment, we should expect to see the 2S42 deployed in a number of regions, as well as seeking an export market among Russia’s typical defense clients. Based on the chassis of the BMD-4, the lightweight specialist vehicle is a viable fire support proposition for a number of clients in need of lighter options or greater mobility, such as Angola, Algeria, or potentially India.

“The disproportionate spend on specialized expeditionary and highly mobile systems by the Russian Federation is indicative of the increased activity of Russian forces outside Russia’s borders. Russia’s modernizations may be slowing down, with a defense budget valued US$59.2bn in 2020 according to GlobalData’s 'Russia’s Defense Budget Analysis report (FY 2020), Competitive Landscape and Forecasts', but this is not to be mistaken for a sign of decreased operational activity, not least because modernization cycles are inherently cyclical and are not related to operational expenditures.

“The continued pursuit of these niche vehicles, even in the context of the worsening macro-economic conditions, points to a strategic significance of these rapid reaction VDV forces, and that this significance is not diminishing. Russia’s adversaries should expect to see the 2S42 operating in deployed VDV formations soon, in peacekeeping roles as well as Russian spearheads in crisis areas.”