The war in Ukraine shows no signs of letting up.
In fact, Kyiv could very well begin a decisive offensive in the coming days.
How will Putin respond?
In fact, in the 33-second-long clip, the weapon on display wasn’t even shown being fired.
Yet, this may be an especially noteworthy video for what it did offer.
“The Ukrainian army received a new type of 152mm howitzer – Romanian M1981, a derivative of the Soviet D-20. Deliveries of these howitzers were not announced previously, but recently Ukraine also received APR-40 MRLS in a configuration exclusive to Romania,” wrote the open-source military intelligence account.
The M1981 in the Crosshairs
The 152mm towed gun-howitzer M1981 is based on the Soviet M1955, also known as the D-20.
Both are manually loaded howitzers. The M1981 was designed by the Romanian Arsenalul Armatei (Army Arsenal) and was first manufactured under license at the Romanian Reșita plant.
It weighs 5.7 tons, features a longer rifled barrel (34 calibers long), but can use the same ordnance as the Soviet-developed weapon.
The M1981 has a target range of 17 km (10.5 miles) and a maximum range of 24 km (15 miles). It has a crew of eight.
A modernized version of the howitzer – the M1985 – was introduced in 1990, which featured integrated pneumatic seating for the weapon’s projectiles.
This was powered by a compressed air cylinder located on the protective shield to the right side of the gun, which allowed for an increased rate of fire.
A trained crew can fire about eight to ten rounds per minute – which greatly exceeds the five to six rounds per minute of the Soviet D-20.
Romania Supporting Its Neighbor
It was last June that Romania’s support for Ukraine first received international recognition. The Eastern European nation had been providing ammunition, body armor and helmets, as well as fuel, medical equipment, and other humanitarian aid on a regular basis.
In addition, following Russia’s unprovoked invasion in February 2022, Romania accepted more than 800,000 Ukrainian refugees who are free to enter the country through any official border crossing points. In February of this year, U.S. lawmakers also praised Bucharest’s efforts and recognized Romania’s strategic role in the region.
Since last summer, Romania has continued to provide military assistance to Ukraine. Beyond the M1981 gun-howitzers, the Romanian military has also sent Kyiv’s forces a number of 122mm APR-40 multiple rocket launchers, a domestically-produced version of the Soviet BM-21 Grad MRL. Developed in the late 1970s by Aerostar S.A., the launcher is mounted on the chassis of a DAC 665T 6×6 truck.
The APR-40 can fire with both single shots and volley fire, with full volley time taking 30 seconds.
The crew of three can operate the launcher from the truck’s cab as well as remotely. It has a maximum firing range of 20.5 km (12.7 miles).
#Ukraine: The Ukrainian army received a new type of 152mm howitzer- ???????? Romanian M1981, a derivative of the Soviet D-20.
Deliveries of these howitzers were not announced previously, but recently Ukraine also received APR-40 MRLS in a configuration exclusive to Romania. pic.twitter.com/qpsRKyC5Ij
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) May 16, 2023
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Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.