Syrian opposition activists released a photo showing the remains of a unique artillery shell, which hit a militant position in the northern Hama countryside on March 11.
The shell was identified as the Russian-made 2K25 Krasnopol artillery weapon system. Several Russian and Soviet-made 152mm artillery guns can launch the advanced shell, which is guided by semi-active laser. Krasnopol has a range of 20km and can hit its targets with a pin-point accuracy.
According to the available information, Russian forces in Syria are employing the Krasnopol with the 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzer. This type of howitzers was seen in the Homs desert in late 2017.
Like any other laser-guided weapon, the Krasnopol’s target should be illuminated with laser. The Malakhit portable automated artillery fire control system, which was developed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau, is usually used to illuminate targets. However, experts believe that Russia has several types of drones, which are capable of illumining targets for the Krasnopol.
Russian forces used the Krasnopol to eliminated a group of militants, which conducted the drone attack on Hmeimim airbase on December 31, 2017. The guided shell was able to hit its targets with great accuracy.
The use of precision-guided weapons, such as the Krasnopol, allows Russian forces and its allies to inflict heavy losses to militants, while minimizing the risk to nearby civilians.