#

Possibly iranian 203mm Artillery Shells Found in russian Forces (Photo)

2S7 Pion 203mm self-propelled artillery system of the russian army / Open-source archive photo
2S7 Pion 203mm self-propelled artillery system of the russian army / Open-source archive photo
1227

This case could be indicative of the bottleneck vulnerabilities of the russian ammunition industry

Imported artillery ammunition of 203mm caliber have appeared in the russian invasion forces operating in Ukraine, a photo published by Ukrainian Informant Telegram community suggests. The shells, originally intended to be fired by U.S.-made M110 howitzers, could be received by russians from iran, the authors of the photo suggest.

Moreover, they point to the fact earlier discovered by Ukrainian journalists of the Vodohrai magazine that russians had made new firing tables for the Izdeliye 203 (Product 203) projectile in 2023 as an indirect indication that the russian federation had started importing 203mm ordnance.

Read more: ​Ukraine's Bohdana 155mm Howitzer Production Rate Doubled and Keeps Growing
A 203mm projectile, probably received from iran, at the disposal of the russian forces / Defense Express / Possibly iranian 203mm Artillery Shells Found in russian Forces (Photo)
A 203mm projectile, probably received from iran, at the disposal of the russian forces / Photo credit: Ukrainian Informant

The only Kremlin's satellite possessing this kind of ammunition is iran. The Military Balance 2024 reference book says iranian armed forces still have 30 operational M110 self-propelled and 20 M115 towed artillery guns in service. Meanwhile, North Korea's largest caliber in use is 170mm, and China is still only working on its developments in the 203mm caliber.

A closer look at the photo reveals a striking asymmetry of the template of markings in Latin letters, applied to the projectiles. That leads to the assumption that these are U.S-standard projectiles manufactured by the iranians through reverse engineering.

/ Defense Express / Possibly iranian 203mm Artillery Shells Found in russian Forces (Photo)
iranian M110 self-propelled gun / Open-source illustrative photo

Public data contains mentions about iran acquiring its M110 and M115 from the U.S. back in the 1970s. From which we can conclude that even if the iranians had a certain stockpile of projectiles received from the United States, then most likely it was all fired out during the Iran–Iraq war in 1980–1988. Therefore, Tehran had to replenish its arsenals independently.

Now, speaking of russia, at first glance, the aggressor state has gotten another source of ammunition supplies from its partner of the "dictatorship axis," furthermore in a particularly powerful caliber of 203 millimeters, and it seems like there's nothing more to it.

iranian M115 towed howitzer / Defense Express / Possibly iranian 203mm Artillery Shells Found in russian Forces (Photo)
iranian M115 towed howitzer / Open-source illustrative photo

But there is also a flip side to this situation. The possibility of russians importing 203mm shells from Iran means that the russian defense industry is failing to establish domestic production of this caliber in the necessary volumes. That is despite the start of 203mm production in russia commenced at least two years ago, when it was reported by the local media in the fall of 2022.

Not to mention, this also means russians found themselves incapable of finding an operator of Soviet 203mm 2S7 Pion self-propelled guns to buy shells from them, not among the post-Soviet countries, nor beyond.

Read more: ​Satellite Images Confirm that Ukrainian UAV Damaged an Important Part of russian 29B6 Container Radar