Schilka system

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has delivered the first modernised ZSU-23-4 Schilka air defence weapon system to the Indian Army at its facility in Bengaluru, India.

In March 2011, the state-owned company received a contract to upgrade approximately 90 of the army’s ageing Schilka systems, which were acquired from Russia in the early 1980s, as reported by Indo Asian News Service.

BEL said in a statement: "Schilka is an all-weather, self-propelled, tracked, low-level air defence weapon system and its upgraded version has search-cum-track digital radar, with [an] electro-optical fire control system.

"The army has given clearance for bulk production of the enhanced weapon system, whose main engine, auxiliary engine, integrated fire detection, suppression system, nuclear, biological and chemical filter and communication system have also been upgraded."

Under the first phase of the contract, the company upgraded a total of 48 tanks, with the remaining units set be modernised in the second phase.

As part of the upgrade, the radar, analogy computer and engine were replaced with advanced systems, and an air conditioning system was added for crew comfort.

"Schilka is an all-weather, self-propelled, tracked, low-level air defence weapon system."

The addition of an electro-optical system that can operate in parallel with the radar enables accurate identification, acquisition and tracking of targets while operating in an electronic countermeasure environment.

According to BEL, the upgraded Schilkas can fire aerial targets while on move and can engage enemy attack aircraft and helicopters during day or night and in all weather conditions.

In addition, the system can accept cueing from external surveillance radar and is expected to provide improvements in operational performance, accuracy, power consumption and mean-time between failures.

Manufactured by Mytishchi Engineering Works (MMZ), the Schilka is a lightly armoured, self-propelled, radar-guided anti-aircraft weapon system, armed with 23mm guns featuring four barrels for a high rate of fire.

Image: The Indian Army acquired nearly 90 Schilka air defence systems from Russia in the early 1980s. Photo: courtesy of Vitaly V. Kuzmin.

Defence Technology