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Rank VII | Premium | Golden Eagles
Challenger DS Pack
GarageImage 2S38.jpg
ArtImage 2S38.png
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Originally designed as a technology demonstrator, the 2S38 was chosen as a possible replacement for the 2S6 Tunguska adopted in the 1980s. The vehicle was based on the BMP-3 platform, but fitted with the equipment and armament to lock and engage low-flying aircraft like helicopters, CAS, or even large calibre rockets/missiles. The vehicle is operated by 3 crewmembers, in a single compartment, since it uses a remote-controlled turret for its 57 mm cannon. As of 2020, the vehicle is still in very low numbers and slowly being adopted into the military.

It was introduced in Update "Fire and Ice". Built on the BMP-3 platform, the 2S38 was an attempt to transform the platform into a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun with a 57 mm autocannon and a tracking system capable of fighting low-flying aircraft. In the game, the rapid-firing 57 mm autocannon allows the 2S38 to engage a wide range of enemies from tanks to fighter jets while maintaining the same profile and mobility of the original BMP-3. The 57 mm autocannon of the 2S38, paired with both APFSDS and APHE ammunition, can prove extremely deadly in good flanking manoeuvres, even the APHE shells can penetrate lightly armoured targets from the front like the Leopard 1, and several IFVs. Also, its good fire rate and accuracy makes the 2S38 a very deadly light tank; however, as with all light tanks, the armour is not enough to stop high calibre projectiles, but it's still enough to stop up to 14.5 mm shots from all sides.

General info

Survivability and armour

Smoke grenades
Creation of a smoke screen in front of the vehicle
Creation of a smoke screen in the direction of movement of the vehicle
Notifies about the vehicle's exposure to laser emissions
Self-entrenching equipment
Creation of ramparts and trenches in soft ground
Armourfront / side / back
Hull60 / 43 / 13
Turret43 / 43 / 43
Crew3 people
Visibility79 %

The 2S38 armour is essentially non-existent for the rank it is in. While the front array may be resistant to some autocannons from a long-distance, it isn't really reliable.

The rearranged modules within the 2S38 does improve the vehicle's overall survivability compared to the BMP-3 however. Firstly, the ammunition is a lot smaller and harder to hit, and they are all stored in the center so can be harder to hit if not precisely targetted. There are more empty space within the 2S38 as well, increasing the chances of a shot penetrating the armour, but not causing any critical damages to the components.

The crew are all arranged in the front, three in a row. This improves crew survivability in hull-down position as there is no crew in the turret anymore. This also marginally improves survivability to shots from the front, as there is a small chance a shot from the front does not knock out two or all the crew members in one shot. Given both the gunner and commander can fire the main gun, enemies would need to knock out both of them at the same time to disable the 2S38's armaments.

Overall, the 2S38 is favored comparatively to the BMP-3 in terms of being able to survive the first shot while also retaining the ability to fire back at the offending opponent.

Armour type:

  • ABT-102 alloy - Hull and turret
  • Rolled homogeneous armour - Gun mask
  • Structural steel - Add-ons on the sides
Armour Front (Slope angle) Sides Rear Roof
Hull 18 mm (81°) Front glacis
60 mm (25°) + 12 mm + 10 mm Lower Glacis (Upper)
60 mm (45°) + 10 mm Lower Glacis (Lower)
60 mm Turret ring
60 mm + 4 mm Top Front
43 mm + 4 mm Top & Bottom
43 mm Upper Glacis
43 mm (22°) Lower Glacis
15 - 18 mm Hull
20 mm Turret ring
Turret 43 mm (0°-23°-43°) Front
20 mm (0°-45°) Gun mantlet
43 mm 43 mm 20 - 43 mm


  • Tracks are 15 mm thick, suspention and it's wheels are both 10 mm thick.
  • Hatches are 18 + 20 mm (81°) thick.
  • At the rear there is a 100 mm thick log.


The design allows you to swim and control movement in the water
Speedforward / back
AB78 / 23 km/h
RB and SB71 / 21 km/h
Number of gears8 forward
4 back
Weight21.5 t
Engine power
AB954 hp
RB and SB500 hp
Power-to-weight ratio
AB44.4 hp/t
RB and SB23.3 hp/t

The 2S38 drives like the BMP-3. Namely, it is fast and accelerates well even in cross-country terrain. Travelling on long-distance maps will not be an issue for the 2S38. The only significant difference is that the 2S38 weights about 2.8 t more than the BMP-3, and so the small weight difference may affect the fine acceleration and forward momentum, but not by much.

Game Mode Max Speed (km/h) Weight (tons) Engine power (horsepower) Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Forward Reverse Stock Upgraded Stock Upgraded
Arcade 78 23 21.5 775 954 36.05 44.37
Realistic 71 21 442 500 20.56 23.26

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
AB2 992 Sl icon.png
RB2 797 Sl icon.png
SB3 683 Sl icon.png
Crew training10 000 Sl icon.png
Experts1 160 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 100 Ge icon.png
Research Aces2 150 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
Talisman.png 2 × 140 / 170 / 220 % Sl icon.png
Talisman.png 2 × 232 / 232 / 232 % Rp icon.png
Mobility Protection Firepower
Mods new tank traks.png
Mods new tank suspension.png
Mods new tank break.png
Brake System
Mods new tank filter.png
Mods new tank transmission.png
Mods new tank engine.png
Mods tank tool kit.png
Improved Parts
Mods extinguisher.png
Improved FPE
Mods tank reinforcement ussr.png
Crew Replenishment
Mods engine smoke screen system.png
Mods new tank horizontal aiming.png
Horizontal Drive
Mods dozer blade.png
Dozer Blade
Mods tank cannon.png
Adjustment of Fire
Mods airstrike.png
Mods counterMeasures.png
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods new tank vertical aiming.png
Elevation Mechanism
Mods smoke screen.png
Smoke grenade
Mods scout streak.png
Scout UAV
Mods art support.png
Artillery Support
Mods thermal sight.png
Mods scouting.png
Improved optics
Mods tank ammo.png


Laser rangefinder
Reduces the error and increases the maximum measurable distance of the rangefinder
Night vision device
Improves visibility by enhancing natural light or active illumination.
Thermal imager
Allows to see thermal radiation in the infrared range day and night

Main armament

57 mm 2A90 cannon
Two-plane stabilizer
Reduces the swing of the gun in two planes while moving
Automatically feeds projectiles into the breech. The speed does not depend on the skills of the loader
Ammunition148 rounds
Reload0.5 s
Vertical guidance-5° / 75°
Main article: 2A90 (57 mm)

The 57 mm 2A90 is a dual-purpose autocannon and can allow players to use it in both an anti-tank and anti-aircraft gun. While its top penetration for the anti-tank role is not ideal, with a point-blank penetration of 225 mm with the 3UBM22 APFSDS rounds, the rapid fire nature of the 57 mm gun means that quick follow-up shot from the first successful penetration can cripple, if not destroy, the enemy tank.

If firing at a tank's side armour, firing the BR-281 APCBC round with explosive filler can be considered to absolutely devastate the enemy interior with fewer shots. It would trade maximum penetration of the round, so it is up to player preference on which ammunition to useif aiming at tank side armour.

57 mm 2A90 Turret rotation speed (°/s) Reloading rate (seconds)
Mode Capacity Fire rate Vertical Horizontal Stabilizer Stock Upgraded Full Expert Aced Autoloader
Arcade 148 120 -5°/+75° ±180° Two-plane 57.1 79.1 96.0 106.2 113.0 0.50
Realistic 35.7 42.0 51.0 56.4 60.0


Penetration statistics
Ammunition Type of
Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
BR-281U APCBC 151 147 132 114 100 87
OR-281U HE* 17 17 15 13 11 10
3UBM22 APFSDS 225 221 209 193 177 161
3UO8 HE-VT* 17 17 15 13 11 10
Shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
BR-281U APCBC 1,000 2.8 1.2 9 20.02 48° 63° 71°
OR-281U HE* 1,000 2.8 0.4 0.1 235.62 79° 80° 81°
3UBM22 APFSDS 1,500 0.95 - - - 78° 80° 81°
Proximity-fused shell details
Ammunition Type of
mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
distance (m)
radius (m)
Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
0% 50% 100%
3UO8 HE-VT* 1,000 2.8 0.1 0.1 500 6 231 79° 80° 81°

Ammo racks

Ammo racks of the 2S38
rack empty
rack empty
rack empty
148 79 (+69) 21 (+127) (+147) No


  • As they are modeled by sets of 2 or 3, shells disappear from the rack only after you've fired all shells in the set.
  • Rack 3 (autoloader magazine) is a first stage ammo rack. It totals 20 shells.
    • This rack gets filled first when loading up the tank and is also emptied first.
    • As the 2S38 is equipped with an autoloader, manual reloading of the gun is not possible.
    • Once the autoloader magazine has been depleted, you can't shoot until the loader has restocked the autoloader with at least 1 shell.
    • The restocking time is longer than the normal reload time of the gun. Take this into account when playing.
    • Simply not firing when the gun is loaded will move ammo from racks 1 and 2 into rack 3. Firing will interrupt the restocking of the ready racks.

Machine guns

7.62 mm PKTM machine gun (coaxial)
Ammunition750 rounds
Belt capacity250 rounds
Reload8.0 s
Fire rate700 shots/min
Main article: PKTM (7.62 mm)
7.62 mm PKTM
Mount Capacity (Belt) Fire rate Vertical Horizontal
Coaxial 750 (250) 700 - -

Usage in battles

The 2S38 is played like a standard light tank: use your mobility and speed to flank enemies, and your gun is powerful enough to penetrate most tank's side and back armour. The gun has a very short reload time, at an astounding 0.5 s. The 2S38 has proximity-fused HE shells, allowing it to fire at helicopters and other aircraft to some effect.

Pros and cons


  • Extremely fast reload
  • High mobility
  • IRST target tracking system and HE-VT round allow for good anti-air capability
  • Unmanned turret means it can get hit and not suffer crew losses
  • APCBC is great for other IFVs, SPAAs, MBT sides, and APFSDS is good for almost all frontal armour for MBTs


  • Weak armour
  • High rate of fire depletes ammo rather quickly
  • All crew in the front so knock-outs are common
  • Fuel tank explodes very easily


In the mid 2010s, the Central Scientific Research Institute Burevestnik in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, developed an artillery turret with a 57mm cannon, designed for ships and armored vehicles. A little later, the module was upgraded for installation on the 2S38 platform (a modified version of the BMP-3 AFV chassis). The first prototype was demonstrated to the public in 2018, in 2020 2S38s took part in the Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow. At the moment, the vehicle is being commissioned for service with the Russian army.

- From Devblog



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the vehicles;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

USSR light tanks
T-26  T-26 · T-26 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-26-4 · T-26E
BT  BT-5 · RBT-5 · BT-7 · BT-7 TD · BT-7M · BT-7A (F-32)
T-50  T-126 · T-50
T-70  T-70 · T-80
PT-76  PT-76B · PT-76-57 · Object 906
BMP  BMP-1 · BMP-2 · BMP-2M · BMP-3
2S25  2S25 · 2S25M
Wheeled  BA-11 · BTR-80A
Other  T-60 · Object 685 · 2S38
China  ▂Type 62

USSR premium ground vehicles
Light tanks  BA-11 · RBT-5 · BT-7A (F-32) · T-26 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-26E · T-126 · PT-76-57 · 2S38
Medium tanks  T-34 (Prototype) · T-34 (1st Gv.T.Br.) · T-34E · T-34-57 (1943) · T-34-85E · T-34-100 · T-44-122 · TO-55 · T-55AM-1 · T-72AV (TURMS-T) · T-80UD · Т-80U-Е1
  ▂M3 Medium · ▂M4A2 · ▂T-III · ▂T-V · ▂МК-IX "Valentine"
Heavy tanks  SMK · T-35 · ▂MK-II "Matilda" · KV-1E · KV-2 (1940) · KV-2 (ZiS-6) · KV-122 · KV-220 · IS-2 "Revenge" · Object 248 · IS-6 · T-10A
Tank destroyers  BM-8-24 · BM-13N · BM-31-12
  SU-57 · SU-76D · SU-76M (5th Gv.Kav.Corps) · SU-85A · SU-100Y · SU-122P · Object 120
SPAA  ▂Phòng không T-34 · ZUT-37