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Fire controllers: how gunners are trained in Russia


The Russian artillery school is considered one of the best in the world today. Over the centuries of wars and military conflicts, she has accumulated vast experience that officers pass on from generation to generation. On the eve of the Day of Missile Forces and Artillery, which is celebrated on November 19, Izvestia visited one of the oldest military educational institutions – the Mikhailovskaya Military Artillery Academy. Here, future officers learn new weapons and learn how to manage fire strikes.

Beaten with “Grad”: gunners will receive a digital MLRS next year Legendary multiple launch rocket systems integrated into a closed data transmission system

200 years in service

The Mikhailovskaya Military Artillery Academy, located in St. Petersburg, is the only educational institution in the country that graduates officers for the missile forces and artillery. This year, on December 7, she will celebrate her 200th anniversary. In 1820, on the initiative of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, a training artillery brigade and an artillery school were formed in St. Petersburg. In 1855 it was transformed into an academy. In Soviet times, there was the Leningrad Higher Artillery School named after V.I. M.I. Kalinin. In 1995, the historical name was returned to the institution.

From the walls of the academy, 257 Knights of St. George, 93 Hero of the Soviet Union and five Heroes of Russia came out.

In military schools, cadets study for four years. After graduation, they can rise to the position of deputy battalion commander. Further education is required to move further up the career ladder. The academy has a five-year training cycle. Its cadets receive knowledge that allows them to reach the level of deputy brigade commander without additional training.


November 19 – Day of missile forces and artillery. In any battle, the gunners have a special role. The enemy suffers more than half of the losses from their fire. Today, the Russian “gods of war” have weapons for all occasions – from anti-tank guns and self-propelled howitzers to deadly multiple launch rocket systems. Izvestia was the first to get acquainted with the unique artillery systems, which were classified until recently. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna KK300685_1

“Tornado-G” is replacing the legendary “Grad”. This multiple launch rocket system is virtually undetectable. It is capable of reaching a position in a matter of minutes and unleashing dozens of missiles on the enemy with extreme precision. And then leave just as quickly and imperceptibly. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna Day of missile forces and artillery

In the arsenal of “Tornado-G” there are several types of conventional and guided missiles. Including – with a detachable warhead. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna Day of missile forces and artillery

Uragan-M1 is the most closed multiple launch rocket system in the arsenal of Russian gunners. It is built according to a modular scheme: its ammunition load is in special blocks. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna Day of missile forces and artillery

Hurricane M + TZMIt only takes a few minutes to recharge them. Due to the modular scheme, depending on the mission, “Uragan-M1” can hit the enemy with missiles of different calibers at the same time. In the arsenal of the system, not only conventional, but also high-precision ammunition. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna KK309749_1

Until recently, Tornado-S remained completely secret. Officially, the newest MLRS was shown only this year – the presentation took place at the Victory Parade. Tornado-S is a combat robot. The system is fully automated. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna Day of missile forces and artillery

After receiving the coordinates of the targets, the MLRS itself makes the necessary calculations, adjusts the launcher and determines how much ammunition is needed to complete the task. The operator only has to press a button. The Tornado-S arsenal contains unique 300-mm guided missiles. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna Day of missile forces and artillery

2S19M22S19M2. The deliveries of this self-propelled gun mount to the troops began quite recently. But in the army, the novelty is already called a computer cannon and a sniper rifle. Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna Day of missile forces and artillery

There is a unique sighting system on board the ACS. Within a few seconds after receiving the coordinates, the 2S19M2 hits the target with tons of shells with particular accuracy. The enemy will be destroyed even if he is only ten meters away.There is a unique sighting system on board the ACS. Within a few seconds after receiving the coordinates, the 2S19M2 hits the target with tons of shells with particular accuracy. The enemy will be destroyed, even if he is only ten meters away Photo: Izvestia / Kristina Kormilitsyna

The right of combat launch

For the first two years, the cadets of the academy study general disciplines, undergo initial military training, theory, and master individual units and components of weapons systems. Then practice with all models of equipment, the work of each crew number, gun commander. At the graduation courses, future officers are taught to plan fire strikes and organize a fire system on the scale of an entire unit.

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Nikolay Kazurov, a third-year cadet of the Faculty of Missile Complexes and MLRS, is now mastering the Tornado-S rocket system. Before that, we studied the Smerch MLRS and passed the test: they conducted live firing. Nikolai performed the duties of the deputy head of the calculation on them, entered data into the system.

– Relatively recently, specialty subjects have begun. What interests me the most is the study of missile unit and missile strike control. There are a lot of calculations here, I have always been attracted by this. From childhood he loved mathematics, participated in Olympiads. Having received the data, it is necessary to carefully process them, to carry out a number of calculations. In the end, you get one number, and it turns out to be correct. I love it.

Nikolai was born and raised in Volgograd. From an early age he played football, then went to the sambo section, won prizes in regional and international competitions. He graduated from the Lyceum with a gold medal. I went to the academy after my brother, who had recently graduated from it. And he was inspired by the example of his uncle – a military officer. When Nikolai came to his brother to take the oath, he saw the academy, powerful machines, complex large-caliber systems, he also wanted to study here. I passed the exam at 264 points in three subjects, including 94 points in the Russian language. With such data, he could enter any good university in the country, but he did not change his decision. At the rocket department, the applicant was the first on the list for admission.

With the advent of new weapons systems, many operations have become automated. Modern MLRS themselves direct the guides to the target, the officer only needs to enter the coordinates into the system.

Nikolay is impatiently waiting for them to start mastering the Iskander-M operational-tactical complexes. This is the pinnacle of rocket officer training. At the end of the training, all cadets will show their skills by independently conducting launches. But real rockets will only trust a few of them – the best of the best. The rest will perform electronic launches. The same system is in missile brigades – only the best crew chiefs are allowed to fire. Therefore, both the officers in the troops and the cadets in the academy are constantly learning, striving to be the first in everything. They are fighting for the right to launch combat.

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– The Rocket Faculty is considered very prestigious. Here the cadets master the most sophisticated, most modern, high-tech machines, ”says Colonel Sergei Fomichev, senior lecturer of the Department of tactics and combat work of the MFA. We teach them not to be afraid of anything new. We do not just talk about specific machines, but we give knowledge how to learn by ourselves if you have to understand an unfamiliar technique. This is important, because in the future, the troops will receive new models that are now being developed.

What should

Cadet Vadim Klyuev is from Saratov. Now he is a fourth year student at the artillery faculty, finishing mastering the Msta-S self-propelled howitzer. The guy confidently goes to the gold medal – only fives in all subjects. He chose the military profession as a child.

– I even remember this day: February 23, 2009, when I watched the series “Desantura”, – recalls the cadet. – Then I told my parents that I want to become an officer of the Airborne Forces. But there was an artillery unit not far from our house. We were taken there on excursions, invited to festive events. Eventually I realized that I liked artillery. I was preparing for the academy purposefully, I did not even consider other options. Heard a lot of stories of gunners, read books about them. No battle takes place without this kind of troops. We have been taught that in any battle, long-range fire impact is the first priority. And in order for motorized riflemen and tankers to be able to fulfill their tasks, we must accurately fire.

At the artillery faculty, they begin to master weapons from the second year. First, the simplest mortars 2B11 and 2B14, then more complex systems: MT-12 Rapira, D-30 howitzers, 2S1 Gvozdika, 2S3 Akatsiya, 2A65 Msta-B. Cadets of the faculty also study missile weapons, ranging from anti-tank missile systems and ending with the Uragan MLRS.

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– Most of all I liked the D-30, – Vadim shares his impressions. – A towed weapon that does its job perfectly. Simple, reliable, without complex electronic systems, mechanically induced. But this does not mean that it is easy to manage it. Before shooting, the officer must perform many operations. You need to take a weather bulletin, draw up a table of numerical corrections. It is necessary to take into account many factors: meteorological – for example, wind speed and direction, ballistic – in particular, barrel wear and charge temperature, and others. All this must be taken into account in the calculations.

Vadim remembered his first live shooting for the rest of his life. Then he served as the commander of the Msta-S battery.

– You go to the command post. A visible target is indicated to you. The battery is in closed positions, from where the target is not visible, – says the cadet. It is necessary to calculate the coordinates of the target, make corrections and transfer the specific settings of the sight, level and turnover to the battery. The first sighting shot. When you observe a gap, with the help of a scout and a rangefinder, you get a deviation, make adjustments. Finally, you give the command: “Battery, two rounds, fugitive – fire!” In these seconds you are very worried. But when you hear shots, all attention is directed to the target – where the shells will fall. You see the hit and you feel the satisfaction: I did it, I learned to do what I have to do.


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