The Soviet 2S3 relied on the United States’ M109 self propelled howitzer as a reference blueprint to customize the towed D-20 howitzer.

The front chassis of the Soviet 2S3 houses the main engine, while the rear part contains both the battle room and the rotating turret. The whole vehicle is constructed by welded armor. For communication the 2S3 is a R-123 radio, and a R-124 intercom, including a NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) three-proof system.

The 2S3 has an independent mechanized digging blade that can complete a combat bunker in 20-40 minutes. The crew consists of 4 to 6 people, including a driver, gunner, correspondent, captain and two loaders, with access through the body and the door on the side of the turret.