The new vehicle is equipped with a special manipulator which enables instant resupplying of an SPG without involvement of its crew.
"As for now, the vehicle has undergone government tests. Deliveries to the armed forces will begin next year," a Burevestnik representative told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
The newest vehicle will be delivered along with MSTA-SV self-propelled howitzers, which were contracted by the Defense Ministry in September.
On the outside, the new reloading vehicle looks like an ordinary truck with a container mounted in the cargo box. Inside the box, there is a revolver-type reloading system which contains 92 artillery shells. Controlled by the operator, the system rotates and delivers a projectile to a special manipulator resembling a human’s arm. The manipulator grabs the projectile and puts it in the loading mechanism of an SPG.
Until now, having run out of ammo, SPG units had to leave artillery positions for a safe place where they could replenish ammo. Traditional reloading is time-consuming because it is done manually by the crew. The new reloading vehicle will accelerate the procedure several-fold. If previously reloading usually took up to several hours, the 2F66-1 can reload 50 shells in just several minutes.
Currently, analogues of the 2F66-1 are used with the newest Swedish howitzer Archer. It is based on the Volvo A30D chassis and can carry over 40 shells. Analogous reloading vehicles are also in service with the French military, working with the Caesar self-propelled gun.
The introduction of the 2F66-1 is a serious step to accelerate and facilitate the work of artillery units, military expert Viktor Murakhovsky said.
"In addition to an automated fire management system, a support reloading vehicle is an important step to increase the efficiency of the Russian artillery," he said. "The MSTA can perform eight shots a minute and, as a result, it runs out of ammo in just a few minutes. The use of automated reloading vehicle allows for rapid reloading and increased firerate."