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M-46 or KS-30
130-мм пушка М-46 образца 1953 года (1).jpg
M-46 130mm howitzer
Type Field gun
Place of origin USSR
Production history
Designed 1946-1950
Manufacturer MOTZ
Produced 1954-1971
Weight 7.7 t (16,975 lbs)
Length 11.73 m (38 ft 6 in)
Width 2.45 m (8 ft)
Height 2.55 m (8 ft 4 in)
Crew 8

Shell separate-loading charge and projectile
Caliber 130 mm (5.1 in)
Breech Horizontal sliding wedge
Recoil hydropneumatic
Carriage split-trail
Elevation -2.5° to 45°
Traverse 50°
Rate of fire 6 (normal)
8 (burst)
5 (sustained)
Muzzle velocity 930 m/s (3,051 ft/s)
Maximum range 27.5 km (17 mi) (unassisted)
38 km (23.61 mi) (assisted)

The 130 mm towed field gun M-46 M1954 (Russian: 130-мм пушка M-46 обр. 1954 г.) is a manually loaded, towed 130 mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It was first observed by the west in 1954. There is also a Chinese copy, called Type 59.

For many years, the M-46 was one of the longest range artillery systems around, with a range of more than 27 km.

Design history

The order to design a "duplex" artillery system to replace the obsolete 122 mm gun M1931/37 (A-19), 152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20) and other World War II era field guns such as 122 mm Model 1931, 152 mm Model 1910/30, 152 mm Model 1935 (BR-2), was given in April 1946. The new systems, designed by the factory No 172 (MOTZ), shared the same carriage and were given the designators M-46 (130 mm) and M-47 (152 mm). The respective GRAU designators are 52-P-482 and 52-P-547.[1] The development phase was finished in 1950 and one year later series production started. Many M-46s were exported.

A second "duplex" artillery system was subsequently designed by FF Petrov's design bureau at Artillery Factory No 9. This comprised a 122 mm Gun and a 152 mm Howitzer. The 122 mm Gun D-74 was a competitor to M-46, and while many were produced the M-46 became the only long range Gun in Soviet service until new 152 mm Guns in the 1970s.


The M-46 was developed from the M-36 130 mm naval gun used on ships and for coast defence. It is a true Gun being unable to fire much above 45° and having a long barrel and single propelling charge.

It has a 52 calibre barrel with a tied jaw horizontal sliding block breach and ‘pepperpot’ muzzlebrake. The latter is not notably efficient but subjective reports suggest it is quite effective in reducing muzzle flash. The hydro-pneumatic recoil system comprises a buffer below and the recuperator is above the barrel. The long barrel enables a substantial propelling charge by providing more length in which to achieve ‘all-burnt’ and hence projectile acceleration space and thus achieve its 930 m/s muzzle velocity.

The barrel is mounted on a split-trail carriage, with deep box section trails and foam filled road wheels on the ground when firing and 50° of top traverse. The small shield protects little more than the sights, possible including from the effects of muzzle blast, and some protection from machine gun fire in anti-tank engagements. The gun has long and robust trails to provide stability when firing, a large detachable spade is fitted to the end of each when the gun is brought into action.

Non-reciprocating sights are standard Soviet pattern, designed for one-man laying. Included are a direct fire anti-tank telescope, a panoramic periscopic indirect-fire sight (a dial sight) in a reciprocating mounting, an angle of sight scale, and a range drum engraved with the range (distance) scale, coupled to a mounted elevation levelling bubble. The range drum enables the standard Soviet technique of semi-direct fire when the piece is laid visually on the target and the range set on the range drum. An APN-3 was later provided for direct fire at night in place of the day telescope.

For travel, the gun is towed via a two-wheeled limber fitted to the end of the closed trails, with the spades removed and carried on each trail. Simple jacks on the trails just behind the main wheels are used to lift and support the closed trails so that the limber can be connected. The barrel and recuperator are pulled back between the closed trails and locked in a travelling position. There is a large bicycle chain arrangement on the right trail for this, and a compressed air cylinder, charged by the gun firing, is used to bring the barrel forward when the gun is brought back into action. It takes about four minutes to bring the gun into action, the normal detachment is eight strong.

Propelling charges are in metal cartridge cases and loaded separately from the projectile. Projectiles originally included HE fragmentation, Armour Piercing solid shot, smoke, illuminating and chemical. HE shells weigh some 33 kg. Illuminating shells have a substantially lower muzzle velocity. APHE and extended range shells were introduced later. Maximum rate of fire is probably 6-7 rounds/minute, and about 70 rounds/hour. The standard Soviet unit of fire was 80 rounds.[2][3][4]

Operational history

The M-46 was first seen openly at the 1954 May Day Parade in Moscow. It initially replaced the 100 mm BS-3 field and anti-tank gun. However, its long range made it well suited for counter-battery actions, some western troops on its receiving end have reported poor fragmentation, and large fragments would be consistent with the counter-battery purpose. Its Soviet use with an integrated fire control system including SNAR-2 radars has also been reported. In Soviet service M-46 battalions were in Army and Front artillery brigades.

It is or has been in service with at least 25 countries and has been license manufactured in China as the Type 59. It was replaced in Soviet/Russian inventory by the 2A36 Giatsint-B and the self-propelled 2S5 Giatsint-S. Several companies, like Soltam and RDM Technology BV have presented upgrade packages for the gun. These include for instance a barrel upgrade to 155 mm with a length caliber of 45.

The M-46 saw extensive use by the NVA in Vietnam War, especially at the siege of Khe Sanh. It was regarded by both sides as the best all-round field artillery of the Vietnam War.[5]

A version of this artillery, possibly the Chinese-manufactured Type 59-1, is suspected to have been used by North Korea for shelling of South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in the Yellow Sea on November 23, 2010.


former Soviet Union

  • M-47 - This is a 152 mm field gun (Russian: 152-мм пушка M-47 обр. 1953 г.) that was developed alongside the M-46. The M-47 had a range of 20,470 m and was far less successful than its 130 mm counterpart. Only a small number was built between 1954 and 1957. Externally, the M-46 and M-47 are virtually identical, except for the calibre.

People's Republic of China

  • Type 59 - This is a licensed version of the M-46.[6]
  • Type 59-1 - This is a combination of the 130mm ordnance of the Type 59 with the carriage of the Type 60 (D-74 copy). The result is a gun with the same range as the M-46 but with a much lower weight of 6.3 t. The M59-1M is the Egyptian licence version. For the export market, a version with APU and redesigned carriage was developed. Also for the export market, a self-propelled variant, based on the Type 83 SPH was designed.[7]
  • Type GM-45 - For the export market, NORINCO (China North Industries Corporation) developed this upgrade package where the original barrel of the Type 59 is replaced by the 155/45 mm ordnance of the WA 021. The Type GM-45 has a maximum range of 39 km when ERFB-BB ammunition is used.[8]


  • The Cuban army operates two different, locally designed self-propelled versions of the M-46. One is based on the tracked chassis of the T-34-85 tank while the other model is based on a heavily modified KrAZ 6x6 truck. These and other modifications were shown for the first time during the 2006 military parade.[9]



  • SP-130 "Catapult" - Indian-designed self-propelled version, mounted on the hull of the Vijayanta tank.[11]
  • Metamorphosis IOB M46 FG - Another 155 mm upgrade of the M-46, this one designed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The upgraded M-46 has a range of 39 km[12]


  • M-46S - This is an upgrade of an existing M-46 or Type 59, carried out by Soltam Systems Ltd. The original barrel is replaced by a new model of 155/45mm for a range of 25.8 (HE) till 39 km (ERFB-BB). A 39-cal barrel is optional. In March 2000, Soltam won a contract worth $47,524,137 for upgrading 180 M-46s to M-46S standard (Indian designator: 155/45mm (E1) Soltam). A follow-on deal for 250 retrofit kits was optioned for. In 2005, after only 40 howitzers were modified, the M-46S programme was terminated due to a fatal barrel explosion.[13]

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The US Defense Intelligence Agency has reported the existence of a number of locally designed self-propelled artillery systems, including the SPG 130mm M1975, the SPG 130mm M1981 and the SPG 130mm M1991. Details are not available but they appear to be M-46/Type 59s mounted on a tracked chassis “Tokchon”.[14]

former Yugoslavia

  • M46/84 - This is a conversion that involved replacing the original 130 mm barrel with a new 155 mm barrel, 45 calibres long. With ERFB-BB ammunition, this version has a range of 38,600 m.[15]

the Netherlands

  • RDM Technology BV is yet another company that offers an upgrade of the M-46/Type 59 that involves fitting a new 155/45mm barrel.[16]


  • A412 - License-built Chinese Type 59-1 with D-20 carriage.[17] In Romanian Army service, the A412 is known as the 130 mm towed gun M1982 (Romanian language: Tun calibrul 130-mm tractat M1982

). The A412 was also exported.[18]


  • Frag-HE, OF-43 - range: 27,490 meters
  • Frag-HE, OF-44 - range: 22,490 meters
  • Frag-HE, ERFB-BB - Extended Range Full Bore - Base Bleed, range: 38,000 meters
  • APCBC-HE-T, BR-482 and BR-482B - range: 1,140 meters
  • Smoke
  • Chemical
  • Illumination


M-46 130 mm gun in Batey ha-Osef Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Unless stated figures are sourced from Jane's Armour and Artillery [19]

M-46 in an Israeli museum. Note that the carriage is fitted with an extra axle and wheels to give a 'walking' suspension, and a sole plate has been added.

  •  Algeria - 10 M-46
  •  Angola - 48 M-46
  •  Azerbaijan - 36 [20]
  •  Bangladesh - 62+ Type 59-1
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina - 61 M-46, Type 59-1 and A412
  •  Cambodia - Type 59-1
  •  Cameroon - 112 Type 59-1
  •  Ivory Coast
  •  Cuba
  •  Democratic Republic of the Congo - 8 Type 59
  •  Egypt - 420 M-46 locally produced under license, 150 Chinese copy Type 59-1
  •  Eritrea - 9 M-46 (via Bulgaria)
  •  Guyana - 6 M-46
  •  India - 550 M-46 including self-propelled guns Catapult
  •  Iran - 1,100 units M-46 and Type 59-1
  •  Libya - 330 M-46
  •  Laos - 10 M-46
  •  Lebanon - 25 M-46
  •  Mongolia - unknown number M-46
  •  Morocco - 18 M-46
  •  Mozambique - 20 M-46
  •  Burma - 80 from DPRK
  •  Nigeria - 7 M-46
  •  Oman - 12 M-46 and 12 Type 59-1
  •  North Korea - M-46, Type 59 and Type 59-1, some self-propelled
  •  Pakistan - 410 Type 59-1 in service with the Pakistan Army.[21]
  •  People's Republic of China - Type 59-1
  •  Peru - 30 M-46
  •  Republic of the Congo - 5 Type 59
  •  Serbia - two battalions [22]
  •  Sri Lanka - 12 Type 59-1
  •  Sudan - M-46
  •  Syria - 800 M-46 and Type 59-1
  •  Tanzania - 30 M-46
  •  Thailand - 18 Type 59-1
  •  Vietnam - M-46 and Type 59-1
  •  Yemen - 70 M-46
  •  Zambia - 30 M-46

Former Operators

M-46 guns of Bosnian Serb army.

  •  Afghanistan - Status unknown
  •  Albania - 100 Type 59 (known as M59) and Type 59-1 (known as M59/1)
  •  Bulgaria Phased out
  •  Croatia - 35 A412 known as Top 130mm M46H1 (phased out)
  •  Czechoslovakia - Phased out in early 1990s
  •  Ethiopia - Status unknown
  •  Finland - Army: 72 units, Navy: 72 units, known as 130 K 54. Now being phased out of service. The gun was used for coastal defence
  •  Iraq - Status unknown of its M-46 and Type 59-1
  •  Israel - 100 war spoils
  •  Romania - 75 M1982 in reserve
  •  Russia - reserve
  •  Somalia - Status unknown
  •  United Arab Emirates - Reserve
  •  Soviet Union - Passed on to successor states
  •  Yugoslavia - passed on to successor states


  2. Red God of War – Soviet Artillery and Rocket Forces, Chris Bellamy, Brasseys, 1986. ISBN 0-08-031200-4
  3. Artillery of the World, ed. Shelford Bidwell, Brasseys, 1977. ISBN 0-904609-04-9
  4. The Encyclopedia of World Military Weapons 1988. ISBN 0-517-65341-9
  5. TV series
  6. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  7. Janes Armour and Artillery 1993-1994 ISBN 0-7106-1074-2
  8. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  11. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  13. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  14. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  15. Janes Armour and Artillery 1993-1994 ISBN 0-7106-1074-2
  16. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  17. Stroea, Adrian; Băjenaru, Gheorghe (2010) - Artileria română în date și imagini - Editura Centrului Tehnic-Editorial al Armatei - ISBN 978-606-524-080-3
  18. Janes Armour and Artillery 2003-2004
  19. Jane's Armour and Artillery 1997-98 ISBN 0-7106-1542-6
  21. John Pike. "Pakistan Army Equipment". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  22. M-46 130mm Gun, Serbian Armed Forces (Serbian)

External links

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