Russia Unleashes ‘World’s Most Powerful’ Self-Propelled Mortar 2S4 ‘Tyulpan’ On Ukraine As Fighting Intensifies

The militia of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has reportedly unleashed the world’s most powerful mortar on Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk region, even as the Russian forces have intensified their missile and drone strikes.

The troops of the first Slavic brigade hit the Ukrainian military ammunition with the “world’s most powerful” self-propelled mortar 2S4 “Tulip,” RIA Novosti reported citing a video obtained by it. According to the report, the attack occurred at a fortified Ukrainian position in the Donetsk region.

An operator informed the mortar crew of the enemy’s precise location and gave them the coordinates. The ceilings of the fortification were reportedly pierced by a sizeable 240-millimeter projectile, which also caused the munitions of the Ukrainian troops to explode.

The 2S4 Tyulpan (popularly known as the Tulip) is reportedly the largest mortar system credited with destroying fortifications on several battlefields worldwide, including Afghanistan, Syria, Israel, Chechnya, and Ukraine.

In 2015, the 2S4s were spotted in Ukraine by OSCE observers.

Earlier in the ongoing conflict, Russia had unleashed its gigantic Soviet-era 2S4 Tyulpan 240mm mortars on the Azovstal Steel Plant in the southern port city of Mariupol. At the time, the Russians were able to deal a decisive blow to Ukrainian troops by firing laser-guided rounds to pound the plant.

The successful demolition of Ukrainian defenses by the Tulip mortar comes days after a video went viral on social media showing the moment Ukrainian artillery hit the 240mm self-propelled mortar “Tulip” when the loading process was underway.

At the time, the crew of the Tulip mortar was allegedly destroyed, and a critical weapon unit was disabled.

Russian troops and affiliated militia continue to push through Ukraine’s defenses in the eastern and southern parts of the country. The spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said recently that the Russian Armed Forces had continued their offensive in the southern area of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Zaporizhzhia region.

On its part, Ukraine has also received significant assistance from the United States in fixing and operating the 155mm Howitzers. A rapidly expanding cadre of US and NATO troops and contractors are giving Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield real-time maintenance assistance via encrypted chat rooms on phones and tablets.

Further, the newly pledged battle tanks have also boosted the morale of the Ukrainian troops, with the country now asking for longer-range missiles and fighter jets. Ukrainian officials claim that more lethal equipment is required to demolish Russian defenses and mount a decisive offensive.

The use of what is believed to be the world’s most powerful self-propelled mortar is significant as Russian troops have mostly unleashed a barrage of missiles and suicide drones on Ukrainian cities in recent days.

The Tyulpan first gained notoriety after Russian forces used the mortar system to destroy the Luhansk and Donetsk airports. In both cases, Russian bombardments sent airport terminals crashing down upon their bases, forcing the Ukrainian army to abandon the places it had occupied for months.

What Makes Tulip The World’s Best?

The “Tulip” self-propelled mortar is the only 240-millimeter mortar in the world. According to the manufacturer, a conventional projectile fired from Tulip can attack a target ten kilometers away, while an active-reactive projectile can be fired up to twenty kilometers away.

The Tyulpans have a relatively limited range and a low rate of fire of only one round per minute, mainly because of the large size of the mortar and rounds they fire: 130 kilograms (290 lb) for standard High Explosive (HE) rounds and 228 kilograms (503 lb) for rocket-assisted HE rounds. Each shot is so potent that its impact can be felt kilometers away.

Nine people make up the crew, five of whom follow behind in a separate armored personnel carrier while the other four ride on the self-propelled mortar itself. According to reports, the armor is 20mm thick, sufficient for defense against small weapons and shrapnel.

The 2S4 Tyulpan uses a modified tracked chassis of the Krug (Western reporting SA-4 Ganef) surface-to-air missile system. It is propelled by a front-mounted V-59 diesel engine that produces 520 horsepower.

2S4 Tyulpan - Wikipedia
2S4 Tyulpan – Wikipedia

The 28-ton Tyulpan smoothbore mortar can destroy airport runways, bunkers, and defended structures. In contrast to a shot launched from a howitzer, mortar rounds almost vertically descend on the target, effectively shattering fortification walls, cave openings, and building roofs.

In addition, the 2S4 can fire laser-guided weapons. It has concrete-piercing shells for destroying bunkers and Sayda incendiary missiles for igniting buildings.

Initially, the Tyulpan could also fire ZBV4 shells equipped with nuclear bombs. These were intended to devastate cities. However, Russia and the US turned off nuclear artillery batteries after the Cold War. Moscow claimed to have destroyed every nuclear artillery shell by 2000, including the ZBV4 projectiles used in the Tyulpan mortar.

The Russian media report also said that “Tulips” continue to enter the troops along with self-propelled artillery installations “Msta-S,” “Malka,” “Acacia” and “Hyacinth-S,” heavy flamethrower systems TOS-1A “Solntsepek,” complexes artillery surveillance, communications and, control vehicles.