Sometimes you find equipment is donated although the receiving country may have to pay for the overhaul or that Russia gets a commodity or resource in return. Then of course you have the geo political aspect keeping them under Ur wing
Important that the donated stuff is still actually useful obviously.
Another factor is that for many countries buying weapons is just buying weapons... they might not want to get under anybodies wing.
During the 1990s there were the problems of eastern europe getting rid of a lot of ex soviet stuff... they wanted rid of it so it was bargain basement prices, so many countries around the world took advantage of that and got some very cheap gear... sometimes they sold excess aircraft but kept what was useful for themselves so they also obviously wanted to keep their own entire spare parts pool so you get a cheap airframe but no spare parts but you get it way cheaper than the maker could ever afford to sell it to you for so you buy it... but now you need spare parts and you know how you refused to buy their planes and now you want contracts for spare parts.
Shock and horror those spare parts will not be cheap.
If you had spent a bit more and gotten the planes from the maker you could have gotten a great deal on the spare parts and support which is where most of the money is made in aircraft and vehicles and vessels.
There are plenty of companies around the world that make good money servicing and supporting ex soviet kit...
The issue with ammo is interesting because the Russians and Soviets kept stocks of old equipment and also obviously kept stocks of old ammo so they could be used if needed. As older equipment is scrapped or given away the stocks of those ammo types can be given away too to a point where their age makes them unsafe to sell or use and they have to be disposed of. Depending on how widely such weapons are used you might continue to make new ammo for those weapons or you just might stop production and let third party companies deal with that issue.
You will have x number of munitions factories so you want the majority to be making new material in case you need enormous volumes quickly so old factories making old ammo can be put into use making newer ammo for periods of need and can go back to older ammo types when you have refilled your storage of new ammo.
Most of the time it would make sense to just upgrade your customers weapons to take newer ammo so you can end production of the old ammo and focus on the newer stuff.
Being able to spend your money on fewer types of ammo is a good thing in terms of production and storage and also upgrading and innovation.
The customers who can't afford Pantsir or TOR should be able to afford Sosna... it has capable optics but essentially is a cheap simple laser beam riding missile that should be able to be mass produced in enormous numbers and used in a number of roles... its potential as a missile for aircraft is enormous because its speed makes it very easy to use.
Making affordable weapons for poorer countries makes sense for Russia because Russia does not want super expensive weapons that it can't afford to buy and use in enormous numbers itself.
Quite often an RPG-7 will get the job done in the third world, and the upgraded SPG-9 will be quite potent and portable too.
Not sure if you remember eehnie on the forum that annoying pest. I proved him wrong a while ago that he stated Zu-23-2 was no longer in production. He still maintained this despite me showing him a current catalog saying that the ammo, barrels, and complete system was still available to buy new. New upgrades improve the system the ZOM series of upgrades adds a host of radar guidance etc and the options of adding MANPADS or strela 10. I suspect in the future there may even be an option to add 2-4 SOSNA R.
I think his main problem was that he believed in evolution and upgrades so in his eyes a towed ZU-23-2 is what you used before you got a Shilka which was superior in every way... except that is not true.
To start with ZU-23s were very very handy to position near bases because it is small and light and relatively cheap but also very very powerful.
Footage from Syria of HMG on the back of light civilian trucks shows mobility and fire power are always useful. Horribly vulnerable to return fire of course, but a Shilka is not that well protected either... any HMG and it is in trouble.
The point he didn't understand was that towed guns of all types are useful in specific situations and when towed are very mobile too... but for instance the chances of putting a Shilka on the top of a building or a few floors up is zero, or up the side of a mountain etc etc.
Towed guns have a place and are very very useful and may never be totally replaced because they have several niche roles.
I suspect part of the issue is that until about the early 1970s the Soviets didn't really use self propelled guns like the west did... except of course they obviously did but their self propelled guns were more like assault guns like the SU-76 and ISU-152 types... the latter would follow armoured forces but operate about 5km behind their lines and open fire on targets ahead of the friendly tanks that needed more fire power than the tanks could provide... heavy building structures or heavy tanks or pillboxes etc. In the 1970s the 2S1 and 2S3 started to appear, but ironically most of the rest of the Soviet forces were more mechanised than the west... BTRs used where the west would be using two ton trucks...
As for MT-12 anti tank gun I do find this one a bit odd. Russia still has it in service mostly I believe in eastern units. Although now mostly used as artillery gun, it's a bit of a jack of all trades, anti tank gun, artillery and able to use Bastion ATGW round. Although it's a jack of all trades it doesn't Excel at either role.
It is the sort of thing you can use to defend a base or attack tanks that is much smaller and lighter and easier to hide than a T-55 tank.
It would also be cheaper too. When you say artillery of course direct fire artillery... it has a range of just over 8km because its elevation is from about +7 degrees to about minus 6 degrees and about 50 degrees traverse...
It is a smooth bore gun firing useful ammo... small enough to hide very very well... you could dig them in in a postion where tanks can't attack directly and have to go around... say a minefield, or the flanks of an ATGM team. A powerful combination... MT-12, Kornet, RPG-29, and land mines.
And Russia has enough 122mm and 152mm artillery systems in storage that they could replace these. There must be a reason as to why they still use it.
They don't use it as artillery, direct fire artillery is not the same.
I remember reading some years back some island in the Kurils was still using 100 mm BS-3 anti tank guns as a coastal gun. Most likely it was cheaper using what was already there than shipping in something else.
High velocity flat trajectory, and armour piercing rounds hitting just on or just below the water line on landing ships would be devastating.
Another thing I have seen is the use of T-34-85, T-54/55, PT-76 turrets being used on coast guard ships in Russia. PT-76 turrets were used on patrol boats. And I guess for this role these turrets are useful.
For third world countries if they already have these vehicles in use then taking older turrets and mounting them at borders to overlook check points or crossing points with under ground facilities with concrete around them to protect them from artillery and they are actually quite sensible. The vehicle chassis could be used for parts or as a different type of vehicle like a troop transport or cargo or well armoured jeep replacement.
For patrol boats I would think a few new remote weapon stations being developed for armoured vehicles and also for unmanned ground vehicles would be interesting too as it would contain all the optics and stabilisation equipment and being unmanned would be more suitable for a boat too.
The AT-2 ATGW missiles at one point we're mounted on BRDM-1 most likely only really useful against light armour and buildings. If I remember I think they had 2.5km range. I would say it has more use as ground system that being mounted on a Heli these days. Most missiles will getting towards end of life.
Most ATGM would be useful if you replace the warhead with a HE frag warhead and just use them for hitting firing positions like most RPGs are used for these days out to greater ranges of course.
Some sort of unified launcher that accepts or is compatible with all types of ATGMs would be useful where you could load up old missiles and hit targets but if an armoured threat pops up you can stick a Metis or Bulat or Kornet on and smoke that too.
I seem to remember us talking about a towed mount with seats for two that was designed to allow all sorts of weapons to be mounted and used on it from rifle calibre machine guns to HMG and grenade launchers and cannon with a sighting system and all weather optics etc... perhaps even recoilless rifle type weapons and straight out rocket launchers too.
Even old Luna-M (frog), the older luna rocket systems chassis could be used replacing the rockets with something else, TOS, Polonez, kalibur, Bal, or use the Luna's rocket shells/casings and convert it into a thermobaric rocket or HE-frag with GPS guidance. In fact I reckon you could mount two racks of BM-21 on a Frog-7 chassis, giving u the ability to launch 80 grads within seconds, then drive off. The combinations are endless.
It really comes down to what they have in storage and who or how it could be used... assuming it is still usable.
I would think they will have a few FROGs in storage too, but then a lot of things they can use during exercises and tests where the old munitions are used for targets.
Equally every year there are often ice dams that have to be destroyed to prevent flooding and other problems so the warheads from old ordinance would be a good source for those sorts of roles.
Other times it might just not be safe and the propellent and warheads might just need to be chemically reduced or burned to make them safe and then perhaps turned into fertiliser...
What I would do with any Zu-23-2s; whether truck-mounted, or used in the VDV mounted on BTR-Ds, or towed - is just add a couple of MANPADs to it and a new digital sight. Just a very cheap upgrade. It's main job would still be fire support, but it would be ready to engage any aircraft that did enter its range at least.
There was also a four wheel vehicle with a rear flatbed with a ZU-23-2 mounted on the rear that could be remote fired from the cabin... not so much air defence and more fire support... or even mobile base or convoy protection type roles.
It's just a matter of what you have, what you need, and figuring out the most optimal option. If you have Iskander-level technology, you really don't need Luna-Ms in any capacity - yes they can kill people, but they're inaccurate, will kill civilians, and you'll waste personnel on manning them, servicing them, etc.. instead train your manpower on something else; preferably something that you already have in service and that you have trained specialists for
Most of them had payloads of about 500kgs so perhaps the idea of replacing their warheads with actual KAB-500S satellite guided bombs... make the warheads detachable in flight and then once released it is just a guided bomb... for use in locations with heavy air defence capacity... you could use the coordinates of the enemy S-300s for the bombs... launch a dozen at a time... not expensive or complex... modify Iskander launchers to carry them till you run out of stock.
Russia has three options. 1) leave them to rot and rust. 2) scrap them with takes time and costs money. 3) sell, upgrade and sell, or donate.
Funny you list three options and missed the actual reason... resources to arm newly formed up forces in a full scale war... newly called up forces will likely have trained on the older stuff so will be at home on that equipment and also familiar with it.
As for the zsu-23-2, why would u use the system simple because u already have a d don't have the money to buy Panstir but you have the money to upgrade.
Think of it as a HMG that outranges enemy HMGs and also enemy grenade launchers. For base defence or fire power support they are still excellent.
Against transport helicopters and transport aircraft they are devastating... in fact they will devastate most helicopters that get near it and spotting it before it opens fire is not that easy.
As for the MT-12 I no longer see this as an anti tank gun but more of an anti armour/ anti material gun. It wont take out tanks but can Destroy IFV and APC.
But that is OK because it wont be used on its own... it will likely be used with Kornet and also Konkurs and RPG and other types of weapons... it is small and easy to hide.
A possible reason for keeping them and not replacing with D-30 for example could be that the D-30 in storage are more attractive to foreign countries to buy than the MT-12, so this would give Russia a large pool of Surplus D-30 to sell while MT-12 sales will only be for customers who already use it and want to replace worn out systems.
D-30 is a totally different type of weapon... it is proper towed artillery.... ironically the MT-12 could do with its towed mount.
Anyway I guess Russia needs to make decisions on what it has laying around, scrap/Destroy, or just leave it to rot and rust or sell upgrade or donate, I do prefer the latter lol.
They have a lot of old stuff and they seem to have gotten rid of a lot of it... they recently had to buy T-34s for parades which suggests they are out of operational stocks, and I suspect later tanks are all being used up of scrapped, which gets rid of a lot of useless calibres, and presumably stocks of those old calibre ammo types as well.
Rather than flogging off ancient stuff to poor countries I would like to see Russia trading with these countries and helping them get out of their poverty so they can start looking at more capable equipment... obviously in some situations they wont need 203mm artillery and 152mm tank calibre guns, but imagine a high pressure 100mm smoothbore gun based on the BMP-3 gun where the huge HE shell is supplimented with an APFSDS round with a metal dart an small front mounted SABOT and all the rest propellent... able to penetrate light tanks and IFVs for third world countries that don't need any better.
The 125mm gun from the Sprut for anything else.