The DANA (the name being derived from "dělo automobilní nabíjené automaticky" (gun on truck loaded automatically)) is a wheeled self-propelled artillery piece. It is also known as the Samohybná Kanónová Húfnica vzor 77 (ShKH vz. 77) (self-propelled gun howitzer model 77); and was designed by Konštrukta Trenčín and built by ZTS Dubnica nad Váhom in the former Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). Introduced in the 1970s it was the first wheeled 152 mm self-propelled artillery gun to enter service. It is based on a modified 8x8 Tatra 813 chassis with excellent cross-country mobility. Currently it is in service with the Czech Republic, Libya, Poland, Georgia and Slovakia.
Wheeled vehicles have the advantage of being cheaper to build and easier to maintain with greater mobility. Tire pressure can be regulated to allow good mobility off-road and there is power-assisted steering on the front four wheels. It lowers 3 hydraulic stabilizers into the ground prior to firing, and has a roof mounted crane to assist with ammunition loading.
The crew of the DANA consists of the driver (operates the hydraulic stabilizers) and commander sitting in the front cabin, the gunner (aims the gun and opens fire) and loader operator (selects the appropriate amount of powder charges) are on the left side of the turret, the ammo handler (sets the shells' primers) is on the right side turret.
The DANA was designed in the late 1970s by Konštrukta Trenčín to provide the Czechoslovak People's Army with an indigenous self-propelled indirect fire support weapon without having to resort to purchasing the Soviet 2S3 Akatsiya SPG. Design work was completed in 1976 and the DANA project was handed off to production at ZTS Dubnica nad Váhom. It was accepted into service in 1981, and by 1994 over 750 units had been built. The DANA was also exported to Poland and Libya.
The DANA was a significant departure from contemporary self-propelled guns as it used a wheeled chassis and featured an innovative automated loading system which was the first of its kind at the time of its introduction to service. The vehicle has a driving cabin at the front, an open-topped fighting compartment at mid-length and the engine compartment in the rear. The front crew cabin seats both the driver/mechanic and vehicle commander. The armoured turret is installed on a traversable mount adapted to the Tatra 815 wheeled chassis (8x8) and is divided into two halves, divided by the howitzer's recoil mechanism and a pathway for the reciprocating action during firing. The left half of the turret is occupied by the gunner and first loader and houses the various fire control optics, electro-mechanical gun laying controls, the automatic propellant charge feeding device as well as an auxiliary ammunition magazine. The right side of the turret contains a mechanized projectile delivery system which is operated by a second loader at this position.
The DANA's primary weapon is a 152 mm howitzer with a monolithic barrel (with a fixed rifling pitch) equipped with a single expansion chamber. The howitzer has a semi-automatic, vertically-sliding wedge-type breech which opens to the left side. The recoil assembly consists of a hydraulic buffer, two pneumatic return cylinders and a controlling plunger which governs the displacement of the buffering system. The gun laying is carried out by an electro-hydraulic drive system or an emergency manual control.
DANA's unique feature is that its autoloader is able to load a shell and a cartridge in any elevation of the barrel.
As there is no gyroscopic or similar system for independent, automated and autonomous gun laying in the DANA, the gunner of howitzer uses a ZZ-73 panoramic telescope with a PG1-M-D collimator for indirect gun laying. This sight has a horizontal scale used to set the appropriate horizontal laying via aiming at reference points. This means that the DANA is not an autonomous system there needs to be an additional device to assist in gun laying (in fact, the firing positions of such artillery systems are usually prepared before the guns are positioned there). For direct fire engagements, the gunner uses an OP5-38-D telescopic sight.
As of 2014, there are three main shell types used by Czech Army:
Length: 10.5 metres (34 ft)
Width: 2.8 m (9 ft)
Height: 2.6 m (8.53 ft)
Weight: 23,000 kg (50,706 lbs)
Maximum Road Speed: 80 km/h (50 mph)
Range: 600 km (373 mi)
Rate of Fire: 3 rpm for 30 minutes
Maximum Gun Range: 28 km (17 mi)
Fording: 1.4 m (4.59 ft)
Vertical Obstacle: 1.5 m (5 ft)
Trench: 1.4 m (4.59 ft)
Crew: 4 to 5
Primary: 152 mm gun-howitzer, length: 5,580 mm (37 calibers)
Secondary: 12.7 mm MG DŠKM
Elevation: -4° to +70°
Powerplant: one V-12 air cooled diesel Tatra T2-939-34 engine delivering 345 horsepower (257.27 kW)
- 152-EOF, which means "high-explosive" with a maximum range of 18 kilometres (11 mi)
- 152-EOFd, which means "high-explosive long-range" with a maximum range of 20 kilometres (12 mi)
- 152-EPrSv, which means "high-explosive anti-tank" used for direct-fire at armored targets
The ShKH Ondava is a development step started during the late 1980s with a longer 152 mm barrel (47 calibers), new muzzle brake (2 chamber), new loading mechanism etc. Max range is 30 km. The Ondava project ended with the velvet revolution and dissolution of the Czechoslovakian state. Technical experience was carried over to the Zuzana project.
The ShKH MODAN is a Slovak upgrade of DANA with longer range, higher accuracy and rate of fire. The upgrade consists of a new on-board control system that enables higher combat efficiency and reduction of crew from 5 to 4 members.
The DANA-M1 CZ is a Czech upgrade of the DANA, developed by Excalibur Army from Prague. The upgrade package consists of a new fire control system, new navigation aids and a modified chassis with T3-930 engine.
The Slovak ShKH Zuzana has been modified with a 155 mm gun (45 calibers) to conform to NATO standards. First adopted by the Slovak Army in 1998, the Slovak Army currently possesses 16 such units with plans to adopt more. The M2000G is a version for the Cypriot National Guard with different signals equipment, 76mm smoke grenade launchers and an MG3 7.62mm machine gun instead of the NSVT of 12.7mm. It entered service in 2001.
The ShKH Himalaya is an adaptation of the system to a tracked chassis required by export customers. It is essentially a tracked variant of ShKH Zuzana with the same 155 mm turret mounted on a T-72 chassis with S1000 engine.
Initially known as Zuzana A1 and then Zuzana XA-1, this is the latest development of the Zuzana. It was unveiled for the first time in 2004. This model is fitted with a 155/52 ordnance and has other improvements such as a reworked turret and a different engine: the Tatra T3B-928.70 of 330 kW.
4-9 DANA's were thought to have been destroyed by a Russian air strike in South Ossetia. According to Russian sources 3 were captured.
Five Polish guns had been used in Afghanistan in Ghazni Province since 2008. Czech Republic - 164 M-77 (to 1 July 2008) of original 273
Libya - 120 M-77
Poland - 111 M-77
Slovakia - 135 M-77 and 16 M2000
Georgia - 47 M-77 delivered by the Czech Republic from 2004
Cyprus - 12 M2000G Zuzana via Greece
Czechoslovakia - 408, passed on to successor states.
Soviet Union - 108