M53/59 Praga, self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of Serbian Army
|Type||Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun|
|Place of origin||Czechoslovakia|
|Number built||More than 330|
|Length||6.92 m (22 ft 8 in)|
|Width||2.35 m (7 ft 9 in)|
|Height||2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)|
|Crew||4 (driver, commander and two gun operators)|
|30 mm twin AA autocannon (900 rounds)|
|Engine||Tatra T 912-2 6-cylinder inline air-cooled diesel|
110 hp (82 kW) at 2,200 rpm
|Power/weight||10.7 hp/tonne (8 kW/tonne)|
|500 km (310 mi)|
|Speed||60 km/h (37 mph)|
The M53/59 Praga is a Czechoslovak self-propelled anti-aircraft gun developed in the late 1950s. It consists of a heavily modified Praga V3S six-wheel drive truck chassis, armed with a twin 30 mm AA autocannon mounted on the rear for which the vehicle typically carries 900 rounds of ammunition, each gun being gravity fed from distinctive 50 round magazines. The vehicle has an armoured cabin. In Czechoslovakia it was known as Praga PLDvK vz. 53/59 - "Ještěrka" (PLDvK Model 53/59 - "Lizard"). PLDvK stands for Protiletadlový dvojkanón = Anti-aircraft twin-gun.
The system is optically aimed, and can only be used effectively during the day with good weather conditions. The gun can be dismounted and used independently of the vehicle.
The vehicle is now obsolete, but it can be used effectively as ground support weapon against unarmored or lightly armoured targets (as it was shown during Yugoslav wars). It remains in service with armies of Czech Republic, Egypt, Libya, Slovakia and the Former Yugoslavia.
Operators[edit | edit source]
- Democratic Republic of the Congo - (March 23 Movement) 1 seen operated by M23 rebels entering the city of Goma
- Croatia -  2 were given to a local army museum.
- Egypt -
- Libya - 110 ordered in 1970 from Czechoslovakia and delivered between 1970 and 1973.
- Slovakia -
Former Operators[edit | edit source]
- Czechoslovakia - Passed on to the successor states.
- Czech Republic - Last vehicle retired from service on 31 December 2003.
- Cuba - Retired
- Bosnia and Herzegovina - Delivered
- Serbia - Scrapped
- Slovenia - Scrapped 
- Yugoslavia - 220 ordered in 1965 from Czechoslovakia and delivered between 1965 and 1968. By 1991 their quantity grew to 789. Passed on to the successor states.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- SIPRI Arms Transfers Database
- Translation of "Ještěrka"
- Militaria Jowitka
- Mandrake. "M23 Rebel Group (Democratic Republic of Congo) M53/59 Praga". Esoteric Armor. http://esotericarmour.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/m23-rebel-group-democratic-republic-of.html. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Air Defence weapons of Croatian Army
- Ještěrka šířila hrůzu a uprchlíci s ní proráželi železnou oponu (article in Czech)
- Air Defence weapons of Slovenian Army
- Air Defence weapons of Yugoslav People's Army
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