#

Rare Slovenian Zastava AA Gun Emerged on Ukrainian Frontlines, and It's Better Than ZU-23-2

2899
Standard triple-barreled Zastava anti-aircraft gun / Open source illustrative photo
Standard triple-barreled Zastava anti-aircraft gun / Open source illustrative photo

Although created and produced back in the1950s, these anti-aircraft guns still show exceptional combat effectiveness

War monitoring communities have shared a video showcasing the Ukrainian soldiers engaging a russian drone with an M55 Zastava anti-aircraft gun mounted on a pickup truck. While the exact time and location remain undisclosed, it appears the footage was captured in late autumn, before the onset of snowfall.

Encountering an M55 Zastava on the Ukrainian battlefield in 2023 is a rarity, since this weapon originated from Yugoslavia, with production commencing in 1951.

Read more: ​The Ukrainian Air Force: russia to Intensify Drone Attacks as Missile Stockpiles Dwindle
Zastava ona pickup, operated by a Ukrainian military serviceman, autumn 2023
Zastava ona pickup, operated by a Ukrainian military serviceman, autumn 2023 / Open source image

Much more common is the three-barreled version of this anti-aircraft gun, which entered production in 1971. We could even see Armenia use those in combat during the Karabakh war in 2020.

Armenian MT-LBs with Zastava M55A4 anti-aircraft guns, which became trophies for the Azerbaijani military, 2020
Armenian MT-LBs with Zastava M55A4 anti-aircraft guns, which became trophies for the Azerbaijani military, 2020 / Open source photo

On top of that, the Zastava features the 20mm caliber, non-standard for the equipment used in the Ukrainian military.

The M55 Zastava first surfaced in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers in October 2022. Unofficial sources suggest Slovenia as the supplier, the supplier of these guns was Slovenia, which technically could provide up to 200 units to Ukraine.

Publicly available specifications indicate an effective rate of fire of up to 700 rounds per minute, a range of up to 5.5 km, an altitude ceiling of 4 km, and a magazine capacity of 60 shots.

An M55 anti-aircraft automatic gun in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine
An M55 anti-aircraft automatic gun in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Photo published: October 26, 2022 / Photo credit: Ukraine Weapons Tracker

In contrast, the Ukrainian Armed Forces widely employ the ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft automatic gun, a Soviet-designed counterpart.

While boasting a higher rate of fire at up to 2,000 rounds per minute, the ZU-23-2 falls short in range with 2.5 km, half of the Zastava's performance. The maximum altitude is also limited to 2 km.

Ukrainian soldiers train in operating the ZU-23-2
Ukrainian soldiers train in operating the ZU-23-2 / Still frame credit: Joint Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

This makes Zastava a potentially effective weapon against Shahed-136 loitering munitions, launched by russians and requiring cost-effective countermeasures. Earlier Defense Express covered some other types of weapons Ukraine is using to repel the attacks of russian-iranian drones on its cities.

Read more: What EW Systems and "Drone Killers" Has Ukraine Received to Counter Lancets and Shahed-136 Combat UAVs?