It is widely believed that the Soviet Union forces its
Warsaw Pact countries either to purchase Soviet equipment or manufacture it under license.
In fact some of the Warsaw Pact countries have their own flourishing defense industries,
one such being Czechoslovakia, which has recently developed a 1S2-mm (6-in) self-propelled
gun on an 8x8 Tatra truck chassis. In the 1950s Czechoslovakia developed and placed in
production the M53159 twin 30-mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun system, and this is
known to be in service with Libya and Yugoslavia in addition to the Czech army itself. In
some Czech units, however, the M53/ 59 has already been replaced by the ZSU-23-4 SPAAG
which is a much more effective system.
M53/S9 was used by the Czech army in place of the Soviet ZSU-5~-2 SPAAG, and consists
essentially of the Praga V3S (6x6) 3-tone truck chassis fitted with an armored cab and a
twin M53 30-mm anti-aircraft gun system at the rear.
engine is at the front of the vehicle and provided with full armor protection from shell
splinters and small arms fire. The cab is to the immediate rear of the engine, with the
driver seated on the left and the commander on the right; the latter has a hemispherical
Plexiglas cupola in the cab roof for all-round observation. Both crew members are provided
with side door and vision slits while to their immediate front is a windscreen covered by
an armored shutter in combat. To the rear of the commander and driver are the two
ammunition members, who sit facing the rear.
The twin 30-mm mount has hydraulic power traverse
through 360° the weapons elevate from - 10° to +85°. Cyclic rate of fire is 450 to 500
rounds per gun per minute, while the practical rate of fire (conditioned by ammunition
resupply) is 150 rounds per minute per gun. The basic towed 30-mm M53 is fed with clips of
10 rounds whereas the M53/59 has a 50-round vertical magazine for each gas-operated
cannon. It is estimated that between 600 and 800 rounds of 30-mm ammunition of two types
(API and HEI) are carried. The API (armor-piercing incendiary) projectile will penetrate
55 mm (2. 16 in) of armor at a range of 500 m (546 yards) and is used mainly against
vehicles, while the HEI (high explosive incendiary) round is used against aerial targets.
Both have a muzzle velocity of 1000 m (3,280 ft) per second. Effective anti-aircraft range
of the system is estimated to be 3000 m (3,280 yards) and maximum vertical range is 6300 m
(20 6~0 ft).
from its obvious drawback of being a clear-weather anti-aircraft system, the M53/59 also
lacks cross-country mobility when operating with full-tracked vehicles such as tanks and
armored personal carriers, and has neither NBC protection nor infra-red night-vision
lights. An unusual feature of the M53/59 is that the complete mount can be removed from
the chassis and placed on the ground.
The age of the MS3/S9 is displayed by the lack of protection tor the gunners, and
its lackof crosscountrymobility would hamper operations with tracked vehicles.