ZSU-23-4 23mm Self-Propelled Anti-aircraft Gun
Gary's Combat Vehicle Reference Guide

Alternative DesignationsShilka
Country of OriginCIS (formerly USSR)
RoleLow-level air defense
Date Of Introduction1965
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, radar operator)
Combat Weight22.6 tons (20.5 mt)
Ground Pressure9.81 psi (0.69 kg/cm²)
Length, Overall 21.33 ft (6.5 m)
Width, Overall 10.17 ft (3.1 m)
Height, Radar Up 12.3 ft (3.75 m)
Height, Radar Down 8.53 ft (2.60 m)
EngineV6R-1 240 hp (179 kw) diesel
Range280 miles (450 km)
Fuel Capacity137 gal (520 l)
Road Speed31 mph (50 km/h)
Cross Country Speed?
Swim SpeedN/A
Fording Depth3.3 ft (1.0 m)
Trench Crossing8.2 ft (2.5 m)
Vertical Wall Climb3.3 ft (1.0 m)
ArmorHull: 0.37 in (9.4 mm). Turret front: 0.35 in (8.9 mm)
Applique ArmorN/A
Explosive Reactive ArmorN/A
Active Protective SystemN/A
NBC Protection SystemYes
Smoke EquipmentN/A
Type Mount Typical Ammo Load
Four 23mm 2A7/2A7M liquid-cooled automatic cannons Turret 2,000
Fire Control System?
Main Gun Stabilization?
Infrared SearchlightN/A
Radar1RL33M1 "GUN DISH" search and tracking.
Detection Range: 12 miles (20 km).  Tracking Range: 6 miles (10 km)
Frequency: 14.8 to 15.6 GHz.  Frequency Band: J


The ZSU-23-4 is a fully integrated, self-propelled anti-aircraft system with four liquid-cooled 23mm automatic cannons mounted on the front of a large, flat, armored turret. The chassis has many components borrowed from other Russian armored vehicles. The suspension system resembles that of the PT-76 and ASU-85; that is, it has six road wheels and no track support rollers. The driver sits in the left front of the hull; the rest of the crew (the commander, gunner, and radar operator) sit in the turret. The "Gun Dish" fire control radar mounted on the rear of the turret can fold down during travel.

The automatic 23mm cannons of the ZSU-23-4 pose a significant threat to aircraft and lightly armored ground vehicles. The ZSU-23-4 can fire on the move and is difficult to detect or evade. The Gun Dish radar provides excellent aircraft tracking. Electronic target acquisition, tracking, and ranging are automated. An onboard computer determines elevation and azimuth lead. The ZSU-23-4 can acquire, track, and engage low flying aircraft at an effective antiaircraft range of 2,500 meters. Aircraft can also be targeted using conventional optical sights (any detectable radar emissions are thereby reduced or completely eliminated).

The high-frequency operation of the Gun Dish radar emits a very narrow beam that provides excellent aircraft tracking while being difficult to detect or evade. However, such a frequency also dictates a limited range; linking the system to other long-range acquisition radars in the area can compensate for this.

The ZSU-23-4 is vulnerable to electronic countermeasures. Heavy machine gun fire, artillery fire, or high-explosive fragmentation ordnance or a combination of these can penetrate the armor, destroy the radar dish, or rupture the liquid coolant sleeves of the 23mm cannons. The ZSU-23-4 is not amphibious.

The four guns have a cyclic rate of fire of 800 to 1,000 rounds per minute each. However, the gunner normally fires them in bursts (2 to 3 rounds per barrel) to reduce ammunition expenditure and prolong barrel life.

The ZSU-23-4 can fire two types of ammunition. Its high-explosive incendiary (tracer) rounds can defeat aircraft by blast, fragmentation, or incendiary effect. Its armor-piercing incendiary (tracer) rounds can penetrate light armor on aircraft and vehicles. Ammunition is normally loaded with a ratio of three HE rounds to one AP round. Resupply vehicles carry an estimated additional 3,000 rounds for each of the four ZSUs in a typical battery.

The vehicle is NBC-protected and can be airlifted by An-22 or IL-76 transport aircraft.

Replaced the ZSU-57-2. It is being replaced by the 2S6 air defense vehicle.

GTA 17-2-8: ZSU-23-4

Recognition features: Comparable systems:


A number of different ZSU-23-4 models have been produced. These are distinguishable externally by the types of stowage boxes on the turret and minor modifications in the mounting of the guns.

October 1997 information details ZSU-23-4 updates/modernization being offered by the Ukrainians that include: a new radar system replacing the Gun Dish radar, plus a sensor pod believed to include day/night camera, and a laser rangefinder; and mounted above radar/sensor pod is a layer of six fire-and-forget SAMs, believed to be Russian SA-18/GROUSE.

More ZSU-23-4 Art

ZSU-23-4 Field Artillery Journal: ZSU-23-4

ZSU-23-4 Photos - Click on image sample to see full size image.

Defenselink website: ZSU-23-4
U.S. 1st Marine Division, 3rd Amphibious Armored Vehicle Battalion
Acting as the opposing force (OPFOR)
Exercise Kernel Blitz '97
Camp Pendleton, California
U.S. DoD Photo by Sgt. Ryan Ward
1024x755, 258K, JPEG
RSLC: ZSU-23-4
U.S. Army Photo
1164x648, 153K, JPEG