ASU-85 & 2S9 Nona-S Briefing

Intel Brief - ASU-85 & 2S9 Nona-S

Intel Brief - ASU-85 & 2S9 Nona-S
With Scott McCorley

(OPSO) Good evening ladies and gentlemen please be seated in the ops room, I understand that this is a trying time and that rumours are circulating in regards to the invasion of the US, which I can NOW CONFIRM ARE TRUE. As of 0600 this morning an invasion force consisting of specialist airborne troops and with help from Cuban allies has launched an invasion of the mainland of the USA but also of part of Canada too. I understand that this may be disturbing news to some of you but to shed some more light on the current situation as well as some of the new equipment which we are now faced with I will pass you over to our S2( Intelligence Officer).

(S2) Good evening everyone. Before I start I must inform you that ALL the following brief is classified as SECRET 5 EYES (NATO). I must ask for all non-essential personnel to exit the room as this will now be declared a Zone 3 under our security measures. As such all electronic devices which can either transmit or receive must remain outside or powered off. I also ask for all those with the rank of CAPT and below to exit as this is intended for regimental and battlegroup commanders only. 

I will now start the brief. The invasion was done in two parts; one that was landed from British Columbia and the other from Cuba landing near Huston. We will focus on the northern part of the invasion as this is where these AFVs will be most likely concentrated. The main focus of this brief will be on the new soviet VDV force vehicles which we have yet to encounter, it seems the rumours were true that the soviets were planning something big when they did not use their elite VDV troops for the initial invasion of Europe. For more information on this invasion, a brief has been written up, code-named RED DAWN. More specifics can be found on pages 2 through 5. I will now move on to what you are all here for; the information on the two new threats we face in the form of the ASU-85 – airborne self-propelled mount and the 2S9 NONA.


ASU-85 specs

The ASU-85 serves generally with the VDV. Each Airborne Division had one assault gun battalion with 31 ASU-85. Its primary role is light infantry support or assault, with anti-tank capabilities. Deployment is possible with Mi-6 and Mi-10 helicopters. It can be also para-dropped from any carrier, with high-capacity multi-chute, retro-rocket systems.

This is what we can expect of the ASU-85. Its design is no different to usual Soviet designs, with three compartments - the driver at the front, combat in the centre, and the engine at the rear. It can hold up to 45 rounds. It has sloped steel Armour which is between 40 to 45 mm on the front which offers substantial protection against light AT weaponry such as the 66 (however more heavy equipment like the Charlie Gustav should prove a threat to this AFV) and light AFVs (such as the Marder 1). It is equipped with a YaMZ-206V V-6 inline water-cooled diesel, producing 210hp (154 kW), with a mechanical transmission. It has torsion bar suspension and the fuel capacity is 400L.


Production was supposed to start in 1958, under the designation SU-85, but the Ministry of Defence ordered the vehicle to have an armoured roof. This took another three years to add, leading to serious production only being possible by 1961. As a result of its near ten-year design process, it was seen as largely obsolete, something which seems to be a common theme with Astrov's designs, such as with the T-60/70/80 tanks during WWII.

Its main armament is the D-70 gun 85mm, a variant of the D-48 85mm anti-tank gun which can fire ammunition like 3BK-7 HEAT, BR-372 HVAP-T and OF-372 HE (same as the D-48 designed by F.F. Petrov). These can penetrate 192mm steel armour from an angle of 60° at a maximum distance of 1,000m (being its effective range). This L/67 ordnance gun has a total weight of 1,865 kg and an elevation range from -4.50° to +15°.


Threat assessment:

It is likely we will see these taken as support elements as they are rather cheap, a unit of 5 is 6 pts. Expect to see larger numbers if required as it has the potential to pose a significant threat to our lightly armed transports like the M113 and Marder 1. Also, note that it’s one of few Soviet AFVs that have a stationary ROF of 2. When combined with their cheap numbers it can effectively fire a possible 20 shots. While its gun is only AT 14 it can still hurt Gen 3 MBTs such as the Leopard 1 and AMX 30. Newer Gen 4 tanks like the Challenger 1 should be used to deal with this threat as it will prove to be no threat to them due to having HEAT ammunition. It is possible these may also be utilised in an ambush role to support counterattacks against nearby infantry.

2S9 Nona-S

2S9 NONA-S specs

Entering service with the Soviet Army in 1981, this self-propelled mortar system was developed for use by the Soviet air assault divisions of the time. The 2S9 Nona-S first come across our exploitation analysts when it was seen in public in 1985 (most likely as part of a Moscow victory parade). It is estimated that around 1000 of these systems were built. It was successfully used during the Soviet war in Afghanistan and both Chechen wars, this proved to be effective in mountainous terrain during both conflicts as it could engage targets that were not accessible to ordinary guns and howitzers, because of its elevation range.

The 2S9 Nona-S is armed with a 2A51 120 mm breach-loaded mortar. It is well-matched with rifled rounds, specially developed for this artillery system, and any 120 mm mortar mines. This mortar system can be used as mortar or howitzer, delivering direct or indirect fire. Its maximum effective range of fire is 8.85 km with ordinary projectiles, 12.8 km with rocket-assisted projectiles and 7.1 km with mines. Minimum firing range is 1.7 km with rifled rounds and 400 m with mines. The Nona-S can engage armoured vehicles. Its armour-piercing round penetrates 600-650 mm steel plate at a range of 1000 m. It is also compatible with the Kitolov-2 precision-guided munitions. The Kitolov-2 laser-guided round has a maximum range of 9 km and a hit probability of 80-90%.

2S9 Nona-S

The Nona-S artillery system proved to be effective in mountainous terrain during the Soviet War in Afghanistan and both Chechen Wars. It could engage targets that were not accessible to ordinary guns and howitzers, because of elevation range.

The thin aluminium armour of the 2S9 Nona-S provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The 2S9 Nona-S uses a modified chassis of the BTR-D air assault transporter and is powered by a 5D20 diesel engine, developing 240 hp. This artillery system is fitted with hydropneumatic suspension and has adjustable ground clearance from 110 to 450 mm. The 2S9 Nona-S is fully amphibious. On water, it is propelled by two waterjets. This artillery system can be airlifted by AN-12, AN-22 or II-76 military cargo aircraft. It can also be airdropped, using a parachute system.

2S9 Nona-S

Threat assessment:

It is highly likely we will see these as the main indirect fire support for VDV elements in the TAOR, these are highly capable artillery support systems and are manned by well-trained crews when compared directly with other soviet indirect fire support elements such as the 2S1. It can be anticipated that the use of a VDV BMD forward observer will be mandatory to make these much more effective in the battlespace. It should be noted that commanders should be prepared to receive more coordinated and effective incoming indirect fire, especially to well-entrenched defensive infantry positions. Also be mindful of its direct-fire capability as it is still AT 20 with 2+ FP which can hurt even Gen 4 MBTs from the side, so be wary of assaulting infantry with these close by. Among its arsenal, it also has smoke munitions which may be used to support ground assaults. 

I suggest the use of recon units or counter-fire batteries to deal with these effective artillery systems.


Overall assessment:

It is Highly Likely that a battlegroup similar to this one will be used to great effect to diminish the capability of our US partners. It still remains possible the VDV forces will be now unleashed in the European TAOR. We can expect an increase in Soviet aggression over the next few months as these units are deployed. This force is highly capable and skilled and is comparable to our own units. It will be a tough battlegroup to face as it will try to gain the tactical initiative and has some impressive support elements in the T80 shock unit. It is possible that a battlegroup or something similar to it will become a common occurrence in the battlespace in the future. It will most likely be a field tactical decision by the commander in the field on how one faces these units in the battlespace depending on assets available in the field.

This concludes our brief on the ASU-85 and the 2S9-Nona-s. This a reminder that this brief is classified as SECRET 5 EYES (NATO).  I REPEAT, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS THIS TO LEAVE THIS ROOM.  

The room is yours OPSO.

~ Forewarned and Forearmed
Scott McCorley