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Artillery in the 21st Century

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bug2 - 10-4-2019 at 04:59 PM

Rheinmetall to Supply German Military with Tens of Thousands of Artillery Shells

(Source: Rheinmetall; issued April 08, 2019)

The German Bundeswehr has contracted with Rheinmetall to supply it with artillery ammunition. Worth around €109 million (including value added tax), the framework contract encompasses the supply of over 32,000 rounds, with an option for a further 11,000 worth around €37 million (including VAT).

Delivery is slated to begin in 2019. The contract runs for a period of five years. Rheinmetall Waffe Munition will produce the 155mm artillery ammunition in Unterlüß.

The ammunition ordered by the Bundeswehr is the 155mm DM121, which can attain ranges of up to 30 kilometres when fired from the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. Featuring insensitive characteristics, this high explosive round can also be used in training operations and field exercises. Annual consumption will therefore be in the region of several thousand rounds. Just awarded, the order follows a first batch of 30,000 procured by the Bundeswehr in 2009.

Developed by Rheinmetall, the DM121 features outstanding performance parameters. The shell, which contains several kilos of high-performance explosive, can reach targets up to 30 kilometres away. It is also highly accurate: at the maximum range, approximately 85% of all shells land within an area the size of a football pitch.

Owing to the interplay of high-quality components, the DM121 is capable of penetrating a several-centimetre-thick wall of reinforced concrete before detonating in controlled fashion on the opposite side. Designed to operate safely and reliably at temperatures ranging from -46°C to +63°C, the DM121 attains the same excellent degree of effectiveness in all climate zones worldwide.

The insensitive explosive not only produces a devastating effect on and in the target, but also protects friendly forces if the ammunition is hit by hostile fire or exposed to other forms of mechanical stress, etc.


bug2 - 13-4-2019 at 11:43 AM

Ukrainian 1L220UK counter-battery radar completes field tests

Matteo Natalucci, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

12 April 2019

The 1L220UK counter-battery radar has completed field trials. Source: Ukroboronprom

The Ukrainian armed forces have completed field tests of a new version of the domestically produced 1L220UK counter-battery artillery reconnaissance system, the country's state concern Ukroboronprom announced on 8 April.

The counter-battery radar was designed by the Zaporizhia-based Iskra research centre.

"Based on the test protocols, signed by members of the public commission, an act of state tests will be drawn up in which, according to available information, it will be recommended that the 1L220UK radar enters service with the armed forces of Ukraine," the company said in a press release.

The mobile weapon locating system is designed to detect and track the point of origin of incoming artillery shells and rockets to direct counter-battery fire. The system uses its radar to track the trajectory of a shell or rocket and calculates its point of origin and impact.

According to the company, the radar's digital active phased-array antenna allows operators to deploy the counter-battery radar dozens of kilometres from enemy positions, observing them in a 180° field of view.

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bug2 - 16-4-2019 at 08:32 PM

Elbit-Barhat Forge to supply Athos 2052 155mm howitzers to Indian Army


At the end of several rounds of tendering and trials since the beginning of the last decade, the Israeli company Elbit Systems has won the Indian Army’s 155 mm/52 calibre towed artillery gun competition, of which the import content alone is valued at over $ 1 Billion. Elbit’s Indian partner is Bharat Forge, Indian Defence News reports.

Elbit Systems Athos 2052 towed gun (Picture source: Elbit Systems)

“The Elbit-Bharat Forge bid for the Athos 2052 howitzer was found significantly lower than that of French Nexter, which offered the Trajan gun jointly with its Indian partner Larsen & Toubro”, sources told Indian Defence News. The Elbit-Bharat Forge is said to have pulled its price below even that of the Dhanush 155 mm/42 calibre artillery gun produced by the Ordnance Factory Board of which the first six were handed over to the Indian Army on April 8.

While the requirement is for 1,580 towed guns, reports have suggested the possibility of the order being pruned to 400 imported guns. For the acquisition of the remaining 1,180 guns which were meant to be made in India under transfer of technology, the Government may opt instead for the indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in partnership with Tata Power SED and Bharat Forge.

The Indian Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Programme (FARP) was approved in 1999 to equip 169 artillery regiments with over 3,000 155 mm guns by 2027. One artillery regiment is usually equipped with 18 guns. Cost estimates are in the $8 to 10 Billion bracket. The programme, involving the acquisition of 1,580 towed, 400 self-propelled, 814 mounted and 145 ultra-light howitzers, will take decades for fruition. The order for 114 Dhanush guns may also grow to 400.

Adrift for two decades, India’s artillery modernisation plan appears finally falling into place. In 2018, the Indian Army started inducting the M777A2 ultra-light howitzers and the K-9 Vajra tracked self-propelled guns. Both these guns are in the 155 mm/152 calibre class and the Indian Army’s first new artillery inductions since the infamous Bofors deal in 1986. The Dhanush, an upgrade of the Bofors FH-77B by the OFB, too has provided some cheer. The Army is buying 145 M777s, 100 K-9 Vajras, and has committed an order for 114 Dhanush guns after receiving the first six, Indian Defence News concludes.

bug2 - 19-4-2019 at 01:40 PM

Denmark introduces CAESAR 155 mm, Piranha 120 mm indirect fire systems

Christopher F Foss, London - Jane's International Defence Review

18 April 2019

The Danish Army indirect fire support capability is being refreshed with the introduction of two new systems: the French Nexter Systems CAESAR 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled (SP) artillery system and the General Dynamics European Land Systems MOWAG Piranha 5 modified to carry the latest generation Cardom 10 120 mm mortar system.

These two programmes are being run by the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization (DALO) and will replace legacy indirect fire assets.

Details of these new systems were provided at a recent Omega Future Indirect Fires and Mortar Systems conference held in Bristol, UK, by Major Michael Johnsson of the Danish Army.

bug2 - 19-4-2019 at 06:53 PM

Israel inks deal with Elbit for advanced ‘artillery of the future’

By: Seth J. Frantzman   16 hours ago

Some initial indications are that this may be a fully-enclosed turret munted on an armoured truck or 8x8 / 10x10 high mobility vehicle.........most think it unlikely to be a tracked vehicle BUT who knows, could be both?! The turret could make the switch between the two drive chassis relatively easy.......

JERUSALEM — Israel has signed a deal that will further its plans to deploy “artillery of the future,” the Ministry of Defense announced.

Israel’s future artillery effort could solve operational challenges the country faces in the north, potentially in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. It also represents a commitment to investing in its ground forces in future conflicts.

Retired Gen. Udi Adam, the director general of the MoD, signed a deal with Elbit Systems for the development and acquisition of “advanced artillery systems to replace the existing ones” fielded by the Israel Defense Forces, the ministry announced March 27.

“This is one of the largest and most complex procurement plans in the history of the ground forces,” the ministry added. The system is expected to be deployed over the next decade.

Israel has carried out initial tests of the technology and identified engineering challenges. “The next stage of development has begun: prototype production and preparations for serial production,” the ministry noted.

According to a high-ranking retired officer with knowledge of this technology, the decision is no small matter. After the Second Lebanon War, he said, the need to improve Israel’s artillery wasn’t a priority, but now “as big and strong as the Air Force is, the ground forces need close suppose in immediate time in all-weather conditions.”

The challenge is finding a system that is more accurate and efficient than the aging M109 155mm howitzers that are a backbone of the military.

Israel previously considered Elbit’s Atmos 155mm self-propelled howitzer for the gun. And according to local daily Globes, in 2017 Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel Military Industries, and German firms Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall jointly pitched a system to Israel’s MoD for a program worth about $800 million.

KMW and Rheinmetall make the Panzerhaubitze 2000 advanced artillery system that can fire 10 rounds a minute and has seen action in Afghanistan. However, Israel has shown a preference toward locally produced systems.

The IDF wants a cannon with a high rate of fire and a 155mm, 52-caliber barrel capable of firing at a range of about 40 kilometers. Israel experimented with a system called Sholef in the 1980s. The deal signed last month represents Israel’s next attempt to produce an indigenous system, building on the experience of South Korea’s K9 Thunder, Sweden’s Archer artillery system and the American-made XM2001 Crusader, which was never operational.

The high-ranking retired officer described the “artillery of the future” as a third-generation, fully automated system that incorporates the latest technology in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence.

“The advanced system will be capable of automatic charging and laying,” the ministry said in its announcement. “The system automatically selects, depending on the mission, the type of shell, detonator and required fuse, automatically loading.” In other words, such capability reduces the number of soldiers needed to operate the system.

The retired officer added that having an advanced automated system without soldiers in the turret of the vehicle would be unique.

Israel’s artillery corps is already making use of the newest technology, combining cannons with missiles, rockets and UAVs, and taking lessons learned from the 2014 Gaza War, such as the need for precision in urban combat. That tech includes systems such as IAI’s Top Gun, the Tammuz missile and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System.

bug2 - 1-5-2019 at 04:55 PM

IDEF 2019: Next Generation FIRTINA NG 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer


The Turkish-made T-155 FIRTINA 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer equipped with ASELSAN’s New Generation Fire Control System showcases for the first time in the demonstration area of the Ministry of National Defense, General Directorate of Military Factories at IDEF 2019, Defense Exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey.

New Firtina NG Next Generation 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer at IDEF 2019, defense exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey. April 30, 2019. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Howitzers are one of two primary types of field artillery and probably the most powerful one. ASELSAN has signed a new contract with Turkish procurement authority, Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries for “New Generation Fire Control System for T-155 FIRTINA Self Propelled Howitzers”.

In fact, this contract is not an entry point for ASELSAN on Fire Control Systems domain. In contrary, ASELSAN has been providing artillery fire control systems for nearly two decades. Among the portfolio of the company, Main Battle Tank Modernization, Self Propelled and Towed Howitzer Modernization, Multiple Launch Rocket Fire Control Systems as well as Fire Support Command Control Systems are the most significant examples of field-proven artillery modernization capabilities.

The T-155 FIRTINA Howitzers are in the inventory of the Turkish Army since the early 2000s and the Fire Control System was already developed and supplied by ASELSAN. The New Generation Fire Control System for T-155 Self Propelled Howitzers has been developed according to the feedback from the battlefield, taking into account the recent technological developments as well as the emerging requirements that showed up in parallel to new concepts in the battlefield.

The most important aspect of Turkish T-155 FIRTINA Howitzers is that they have been actively used in border security and cross-border operations of Turkey in the scope of counter-terrorism and increased the technology-based power of modern Turkish artillery.

From the date it was first used till today, FIRTINA Howitzer has shown that it is one of the most important weapon systems of Turkish Armed Forces and has greatly increased the firepower of Turkish Artillery.

bug2 - 5-5-2019 at 06:41 PM

IDEF 2019: Turkish-made Electromagnetic Rail Gun unveiled by Yeteknoloji


Turkish Company Yeteknoloji unveils its project of Electromagnetic Rail Gun technology dubbed SAHI 209 during IDEF 2019, the International Defense Exhibition in Turkey. Yeteknoloji A.Ş. which was started to find national solutions and original designs on Electromagnetic Rail Gun Technology works on electromagnetic rail gun, electromagnetic catapult and high technology systems.

SAHI 2019 Electromagnetic Rail Gun developed by Turkish Company Yeteknoloji at IDEF 2019, defense exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey. May 1, 2019. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In Turkey, works in the technological field started with pulse power supply production activities in 1972 and continued with the development of the first electronically controlled switching high current control system in 1985 since the first conceptual model in 2008 until today.

With this gamechanger technology, the rail gun has the potential to be an effective alternative in defense and attack against hypersonic weapons which are a source of concern in the world. The system, rather than replacing existing systems, as a support element for them; It has the ability to perform operations with maximum security, be very advantageous in terms of logistics, and to execute operations with cheaper and faster hits on the target than other systems.

The working principle of the electromagnetic rail gun system called as future defense technology game changer which does not need gunpowder; The magnetic field generated by the high current is based on the propulsion of ammunition or projectile at very high speeds, such as 6 times the speed of sound.

Made official acceptance by the Presidency of Defense Industries in July 2018 Turkey’s first and the world’s third fieldable RAIL GUN system which field-tested “directed energy weapon” and completely developed with national resources ŞAHİ-209 Block1, 1-megajoule pulsed power supply, with 300 gram weight ammunition has a range of 10 kilometers. It can be effective in 50 km range with maximum 10-megajoule pulse power supply which is a new version of ŞAHİ-209 Block2. ŞAHİ 209 Block 2, which has a hypersonic muzzle velocity has a barrel length of 7 meters, started field tests and successfully performed the first shots.

Using electricity instead of an explosive propellant for launch provides ease of logistics, ease of use, operation – storage security. It can shoot at hypersonic velocities at and above MACH 6 with a very low cost compared to conventional gunpowder systems. RAIL GUN, which has a very low radar cross-sectional area which is faster at hit to the target, which is very difficult to detect. It has a much higher and more destructive power.

Mupp - 6-5-2019 at 04:24 AM

I can appreciate the Warhammer 40K etc aesthetic they were aiming for.....

unicorn - 6-5-2019 at 12:13 PM

Funny, exactly the same thought occurred to me...

bug2 - 18-5-2019 at 01:04 PM

FMV Supported Dutch Tests

(Source: Swedish Defence Matériel Agency, FMV; issued May 17, 2019)

(Unofficial translation by

FMV supported the Dutch test shoots with the Excalibur munition at Älvdalen's firing range.

When the Netherlands performed firing with the Excalibur artillery projectile at Älvdalen's firing range, the FMV team documented the process with high-speed cameras, drones and doppler radar. FMV Test & Evaluation carries out assignments for other countries' defense forces and industries, to make it possible to maintain the Swedish test and trial ability.

FMV Test & Evaluation, T&E, are experts in the testing of military equipment in all forms. The missions come primarily from the Swedish Armed Forces, but the occupancy rate is not high enough to keep the business fully operational.

“We need some assignments for other countries' defense forces and industry to be able to maintain the broad and deep expertise and technical equipment needed to be able to have the capacity for all types of tests and trials,” says Fredrik Bergman, head of FMV T&E.

When a Dutch team from their Fire Support Command came to Älvdalen's training and shooting field with personnel and equipment, the purpose was to verify the artillery control chain when firing with the Excalibur artillery round.

FMV T&E documented the Excalibur shots with high-speed cameras and drones at the target. The projectile tracks were recorded with Doppler radar. T&E also filmed around and during the exercise to compile material from the entire process and the effect of the projectile on different targets, from ammunition loading of the artillery piece to detonation in the target.


Excalibur is a 155 mm artillery grenade that has been named after the sword in the legend of King Arthur. The grenade was developed by Raytheon and Swedish-based BAE Systems Bofors. Raytheon was responsible for the navigational part, while Bofors was responsible for the fuselage, the part and the base as well as the ballistic ability.

The grenade is precision-controlled and is guided towards its target using GPS. It is fired at a high angle and flies to a maximum altitude of up to 15,000 meters, where its wings are un-folded the grenade begins to fly toward the target.

During the final part of its trajectory, the munition drops almost vertically, which optimizes explosive action and precision. Excalibur can carry several types of warheads and has a range of about 50 km.


bug2 - 23-5-2019 at 09:26 PM

KMW’s Remote Controlled Howitzer 155 moves ahead

Christopher F Foss, London - Jane's International Defence Review

22 May 2019

Hallo my pretty! :cool: :smilegrin:

Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) is continuing to invest in developing its private venture remote-controlled Artillery Gun Module (AGM) that, when integrated onto the rear of the Boxer 8×8 Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV), is now being referred to as the Remote Controlled Howitzer 155 (RCH 155).

The AGM was originally mounted on a modified multiple-launch rocket system tracked platform, followed by a new tracked platform developed by General Dynamics European Land Systems - Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS).

Firing trials with the RCH 155 were carried out at the German WTD 41 proving ground with the AGM traversed front, left, and right without the use of stabilisers, according to KMW.

The KMW RCH 155 mates the Boxer 8x8 MRAV platform with the KMW Artillery Gun Module mounted on the rear. (Christopher F Foss)

Trials demonstrated that it can come into action, carry out an eight-round fire mission, and then redeploy in less than 90 seconds. In addition, it can carry out multi-round simultaneous impact (MRSI) fire missions.

The German Army has a requirement for a wheeled 155 mm self-propelled (SP) artillery system that is expected to be met by the RCH 155. When deployed this would supplement, not replace, the legacy KMW PzH 2000 155 mm/52 calibre SPH.

KMW will complete an additional RCH 155 in about 18-24 months, which will have improvements including a lower profile by about 30 cm to enable the compete RCH 155 to be transported by rail.

A remote weapon station (RWS) armed with a .50 calibre machine gun will be fitted on the left side of the roof, and this could be used as a sight for use in the direct-fire role. When not required, this RWS would be folded forwards to reduce the overall height of the system.

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unicorn - 25-5-2019 at 03:01 PM

The Australian Army will take 36 please.

Ah who am I kidding, they will fuck this up as well.

ADMK2 - 25-5-2019 at 05:12 PM

Quote: Originally posted by unicorn  
The Australian Army will take 36 please.

Ah who am I kidding, they will fuck this up as well.

A few more would be better. Offset the cost by mothballing the entire M777A2 fleet...

bug2 - 28-5-2019 at 03:22 PM

India conducts firing trials of ATAGS howitzer in Rajasthan

POSTED ON MONDAY, 27 MAY 2019 13:33

Final firing tests of the indigenously developed Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) have begun from Friday at Pokhran field firing range of Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district. Defence Research and Defence Organisation (DRDO) and senior army officers were present at the trials, LatestLY reports.

155mm/52 cal. Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) displayed at DefExpo India 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The ATAGS is a 155 mm/52 calibre gun with a theoretical firing range of 40 km. The gun currently weighs about 18 tonnes, while the ideal weight for the army would be 14-15 tonnes. The Indian Army has begun finalising the preliminary specifications qualitative requirements (PSQR) which should be completed by July 2019, reported The Times of India. In the earlier trials which were conducted in December 2018, the gun had fired on targets distant of 47.2 km.

According to the report, on Friday, May 24, the gun had fired 48 rounds. On Saturday, 12 rounds were fired. The trials are going on for four more days. The Defence ministry has already approved the in-principle purchase of 150 of these guns. However, so far, the DRDO has sanctioned funds for the production of 10 guns only.

The guns will be produced by the DRDO in two separate contracts – one with Tata Power and another with Kaveri Group (Bharat Forge). According to the report, the lowest bidder will get a larger order.

155mm/52 cal. Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) displayed at DefExpo India 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

bug2 - 31-5-2019 at 08:54 AM

India to conclude user trials of first locally developed howitzer

Rahul Bedi, New Delhi - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 May 2019

The Indian Army (IA) is expected to successfully complete user trials of the 155 mm/52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) within the next two months: a move that would pave the way to start series production of India's first locally designed howitzer.

Industry sources told Jane's that two different prototypes of the ATAGS, which was jointly developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and private-sector companies Tata Power SED, Bharat Forge and Kalyani Strategic Systems, have been undergoing trials with the IA since 24 May at Pokhran in India's north-western desert region.

India's locally built 155 mm/52 calibre ATAGS was displayed at the 11-14 April Defexpo 2018 exhibition in Chennai. The IA is expected to soon complete user trails, thus paving the way for series production of the weapon. (IHS Markit/Guruprasad Gangaramaiah)

They said that once these trials are completed around July, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will issue a request for proposals to both Tata Power, which provided the 'G1' prototype, and Bharat Forge, which provided the 'G2' prototype, for the supply of 150 guns for the IA for an estimated INR36.65 billion (USD524 million). The MoD's Defence Acquisition Council had approved the ATAGS procurement in August 2018.

Thereafter, one of two howitzer prototypes, either Tata Power's G1 or Bharat Forge's G2, is expected to be shortlisted for procurement based on performance and commercial bids.

Officials said the lowest bidder, or L1, will be awarded a contract to build 100 of the 150 ATAGSs while the runner-up will be allowed to manufacture the remaining 50 guns (of the same model) in what will be India's first-ever public-private partnership (PPP) project in the defence sector.

The ATAGS programme was launched in 2013 by the DRDO's Armament Research & Development Establishment to boost the IA's depreciated artillery profile. In September 2017 the gun set a local record by firing three shells, reportedly undisclosed model high-explosive base bleed (HE-BB) projectiles, to a distance of 47.2 km at Pokhran.

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bug2 - 1-6-2019 at 12:57 PM

More on this...………….

Israel invests in new artillery with ATMOS automatic howitzer guns by Elbit Systems

Posted On Friday, 31 May 2019 12:51

Elbit officially announced that it has been awarded a $125 million (NIS 460 million) contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to supply fully automatic self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Israeli Defense Forces.

The 8×8 and 6×6 variants of Elbit’s ATMOS self-propelled 155 mm howitzer (Picture source: Elbit Systems)

The contract, which also includes the supply of training simulators, will be performed over a 12-year period. The ATMOS automatic howitzer guns will replace the aging M-109 artillery guns that have been serving the IDF for the past 40 years.

About half the work will be done by Elbit’s subsidiaries and partners in the United States, a sign of how Israeli defense spending has shifted since Washington restricted its ally’s ability to spend US aid on non-US products.

Elbit Systems’ ATMOS is a 155mm/52 caliber truck-mounted howitzer that offers the advantages of superior fire power, enhanced mobility and rapid response time. Highly adaptable, the modular ATMOS system is compatible with any 6x6 or 8x8 high-mobility tactical truck.

ATMOS supplies fire support for all types of missions and can be easily interfaced with customers’ existing C4I systems.Part of Elbit Systems’ line of fully integrated, modular artillery solutions, ATMOS incorporates an embedded electronic suite, automatic laying system and automatic loading system. The advanced electronic suite effectively enables accurate navigation and autonomous operation, reduced crew size, increased fire power and high precision accuracy.

bug2 - 1-6-2019 at 02:58 PM

Israelis Invest In New Artillery: ATMOS Mobile Howitzer

The IDF plans to replace hundreds of aging American M109s with Elbit's ATMOS, which is 50 percent made in the US.

By Arie Egozi

on May 31, 2019 at 7:15 AM

The 8×8 and 6×6 variants of Elbit’s ATMOS self-propelled 155 mm howitzer.

TEL AVIV: The Israeli government just awarded the initial, $125 million contract of a planned 12-year, $280 million program to replace its tank-like M109 howitzers with Elbit’s wheeled ATMOS. About half the work will be done by Elbit’s subsidiaries and partners in the United States, a sign of how Israeli defense spending has shifted since Washington restricted its ally’s ability to spend US aid on non-US products.

The investment also shows how good old-fashioned 155 mm shells still play a vital role in a Mideast roiled by Hezbollah rockets and Iranian missile tests. Even in an age of smart weapons, when you need to bombard a target, it turns out that quantity still has a quality of its own.

“Smart rockets and missiles are an excellent way of hitting enemy targets, but when the infantry has to force the enemy to retreat from a site, it needs the firepower of the artillery — which is relatively cheap compared with the new smart weapons,” one former commander of the IDF artillery corps told Breaking Defense. “Artillery is the best way of creating a smoke curtain around an enemy stronghold and keeping the enemy in the trenches by constant fire. Using smart weapons for these missions would cost huge sums of money.”

The US Army, facing off against the massive Russian artillery force, is also investing heavily in cannon as well as missiles. In fact, one of the Army’s most ambitious programs is a hybrid: a Strategic Long-Range Cannon that uses gunpowder to launch rocket-propelled projectiles with an intended range of over 1,000 miles.

More mundanely, the Americans are modernizing their venerable M109 Paladin howitzers in two stages. First, the Paladin Improvement Program (PIM) is currently rebuilding the hull with an all-new engine, transmission, and suspension. Next, the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) effort will upgrade the gun with an automatic loader and longer barrel. While the first M109s entered service in 1963 and fought in Vietnam, there’s very little of the original vehicle left after seven generations of upgrades.

RAP: Rocket Assisted Projectile (current M549A1 or future XM1113). ERCA: Extended Range Cannon Artillery. GMLRS-ER: Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System – Extended-Range. ATACMS: Army Tactical Missile System. PRSM: Precision Strike Missile.
SOURCE: US Army. SLRC and Hypersonic Missile ranges as reported in Army Times.

So why aren’t the Israelis just upgrading their M109s again, which they’ve already repeatedly modernized since they first saw action in the 1973 Yom Kippur War? First of all, compared to America’s, the Israeli machines are older and increasingly worn out: Many entered IDF service second-hand after long, hard service in the US. Second, the M109 is tracked, like a tank, and while that allows it to carry more armor than a wheeled vehicle and move over rougher terrain, it also makes it more labor-intensive and expensive to maintain. Wheeled vehicles, while generally less well protected and less mobile off-road, are also cheaper.

Nations implementing the global Cluster Munitions Convention.

From German Guns To Israeli Ones

Now, the Israelis had originally considered a German system, the Artillery Gun Module, which Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) offers in both tracked and wheeled versions. But the Israeli government is increasingly concerned that foreign governments will either forbid sales to Israel or, arguably worse, allow the initial sale only to cut off technical support in protest against some operation that caused civilian casualties. Germany in particular has been so quick to halt arms deals, notably with Saudi Arabia, that it’s aggravated their frequent partners on defense programs, the French.

The potential for sanctions is especially acute when it comes to artillery, because Germany is one of 120 nations to have signed a global ban on cluster munitions, while Israel has not. Israel used these wide-area weapons extensively in the 2006 war in Lebanon, reportedly leaving behind enough unexploded bomblets to kill roughly 40 people after hostilities ceased. While Israel has developed new cluster munitions with a lower dud rate, senior officials feared that would not satisfy the scrupulous Germans.

So Israel turned to a domestically built alternative, Elbit’s ATMOS, a contrived acronym for Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System. (Like the KMW gun and the M109, ATMOS uses NATO-standard 155 mm shells). Now, to comply with new US rules requiring most Foreign Military Financing aid to be spent on US companies, half the work is done in the United States. The US had signed the Cluster Munitions Convention and even started destroying its cluster stockpiles, to the dismay of military analysts worried about Russia — but the Trump Administration stopped that process and kept the weapons in service. That decision and the close US-Israeli relationship apparently gave Tel Aviv the confidence to buy a system 50 percent built in the US.

The sole-source contract is a big deal for Elbit, which has exported variants of ATMOS to multiple countries — most recently Thailand — but had not originally targeted the domestic market in Israel. The IDF has requested some classified modifications. What we can say with confidence is that the wheeled ATMOS will be easier to maintain than the aging tracked M109s and will feature much more automation, including a mechanical loader, that reduces the gun crew from 10 on the M109 to just four. Meanwhile the range will increase to 41 kilometers (over 25 miles), almost identical to the American ERCA — making good old-fashioned cannon more competitive with missiles.

Sydney Freedberg also contributed to this story.

bug2 - 3-6-2019 at 07:20 PM

Some comments from Sturgeon House gentleman who seem to know what he is talking about. It appears the new Israeli SPH is going to be a two-phase program, possibly with the first half being HEMTT truck-mounted, Automatic Howitzer turret-mounted. The second half pf the program is thought to be Tracked vehicle mounted with the same/updated unmanned turret for a 155mm howitzer. Anyways read on:


The first tranche is expected to be truck-based, but not the 2nd one. The 2nd is still undecided.

Main problem is that the IDF does not have a proper tracked platform for an SPH. And cannot take the time to develop a new one to serve only the new howitzer.

The Merkava is not only too heavy but too fuel guzzling and difficult to maintain compared with a truck. And it requires HETs, while a truck could drive on its own.

It's why they went with the Eitan. They say its sustainment cost is only 10% of the Namer's.

Both Gaza and Lebanon+Syria are complex environments. The IDF knows they will face a multi fronted war next time, so they will have to dedicate multiple spearheading divisions to each theater, and it's quite difficult to impose an overwhelming force with such a split. So shifting forces quickly between fronts is necessary.

A proper tracked platform will come to existence only in a few years for the Kaliyah project (what is wrongly known as the Carmel). The IDF does NOT have that time.

The M109 should have been replaced over a decade ago.


With Rafael's Fire Weaver, Match Guide, and BNET, plus IAI's autonomous driving tech, it's technically possible to make this howitzer completely unmanned. Unfortunately, no such cooperation is known yet between Elbit and these companies. Only the Fire Weaver might go through, because Elbit will have to conform to the IDF's network demands, but Elbit is in control of the BMS market in the IDF, and the Fire Weaver is still only a proposal. Nothing from the IDF yet on its acquisition.

I'm inclined to believe Elbit will have a rival product to the Fire Weaver, but it's nowhere near as transparent as Rafael on the subject. With Rafael, you can expect some new video showcasing their recent developments every few days. With Elbit, you can wait months on end and still get nothing.

What I think will definitely go through is an Elbit-Rafael cooperation on Match Guide, because Rafael dominates the image processing market. For those who don't know, Match Guide is a technology to assign coordinates to a target based on visual data instead of GPS. Some initial reference is always required, so GPS is needed to a certain extent, but beyond that all calculations can be done independently of GPS. For example an AFV deploys from a staging point with GPS signal, but is cut off halfway through the mission. It can complete the mission with Match Guide instead, with the location reference point being the initial GPS signal it worked with.

Anyway, a Donar-like concept is not going to work because the Bradley chassis is aging within the IDF. It's not a new one, and is in limited use only.

The current direction is a first tranche based on HEMTT trucks.

A 2nd tranche will be subject to a thorough examination of the pros and cons of the different platforms available at that time. A new 30-50 ton tracked platform is to be introduced by then, entering service in at least 1 variant by 2027, which means testing of a howitzer variant can begin as early as 2024/2025.

This is perfect for the 2nd tranche.

redcoat - 4-6-2019 at 05:54 AM

So let me get this straight every country we are every likely to fight is prepared to use cluster munitions and every country which is likely to be on the side of goodness and niceness has decided to place themselves at a disdvantage
Seems like bollocks to me

bug2 - 4-6-2019 at 01:46 PM

Firing of Japanese Howitzer on Australian Soil Strengthens Bilateral Ties

(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued June 01, 2019)

The Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) fired its FH-70 Howitzers out to 25 kilometres for the first time in history while on exercise with the Australian Army at Shoalwater Bay Training Area on 22 May 2019. (AUS DoD photo)

Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) personnel have successfully fired two FH-70 howitzers out to 25 kilometres while in Australia.

This marks a historic first for the JGSDF, as there is no military range large enough in Japan to conduct such a long-range firing activity.

Japan’s firing of its howitzers took place at the ADF’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area during Exercise Southern Jackaroo, a two-week trilateral ground exercise involving Australia, Japan and the United States, which finishes on 4 June 2019.

The firing of FH-70 howitzers out to 25 kilometres is part of a suite of initiatives agreed to during the Australia-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting in October 2018 which explored opportunities to increase the complexity and sophistication of our combined military exercises.

Captain Yutu Goto, a Fire Direction Officer for the JGSDF, said he was grateful to be able to use the Shoalwater Bay Training Area for their first ever long-range howitzer firing activity.

“The opportunity to be able to conduct this firing activity in Australia’s large training area has been very beneficial for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force,” Captain Goto said.

Commander of the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade, Brigadier Andrew Hocking, said Japan’s first ever 25-kilometre howitzer firing activity was a success for the JGSDF and the exercise.

“The Japan Ground Self Defense Force should be proud of the achievements it has made during this exercise and we were proud to be a part of it,” Brigadier Hocking said.

“The capability is complex, so to prove that their munitions and guns are effective at that range is a real accomplishment.

“This not only gives the Japan Ground Self Defense Force confidence, but it also gives us even more confidence to work closely with each other in support of peace and security,” he said.

Exercise Southern Jackaroo is just one example of the continued growth in Australia and Japan’s Defence relationship and the benefits of bilateral and trilateral defence training and exercising.

This exercise involved over 150 JGSDF troops along with around 300 United States Marine Rotational Force – Darwin members and over 260 soldiers from the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade.

Australia, Japan and the United States have shared interests in peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Exercise Southern Jackeroo demonstrates the close defence relationship between the countries, shared commitment to increasing interoperability and deepening the sophistication of trilateral exercises.


bug2 - 17-6-2019 at 10:30 PM

Nexter LG1 105mm Light Howitzer tested in Poland

Posted On Monday, 17 June 2019 12:04

French manufacturer Nexter demonstrated the capabilities of its 105 mm 105 LG1 Mk III light howitzer at the Central Air Force Training Range located in Ustka, Poland, Defence 24 reports.

The gun fired salvos of six rounds in less than 15 seconds at ranges p 17 kilometers with good accuracy, despite the strong wind.

Nexter LG1 Light Weight Howitzer as in service in the Belgian army (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The French howitzer system was tested for many days in Ustka last 29 May, in a variety of weather conditions present on the Polish coast during that period. In Poland, Nexter is represented by a company called Works 11, which organizes activities and presentations for the representatives of the Polish military branches that could be potentially interested in the product.

The demonstration performed on 29 May involved representatives of the General Command of the Armed Forces and of the 18th Mechanized Division that includes the 21st Highland Brigade, the 6th Airborne Brigade and certain Special Operations units.

As noted by Lt. Col. (res.) Marek Fordon who was managing the host of the demonstration on behalf of Works 11, the towed howitzers were withdrawn from the Polish army’s inventory two decades ago. Even though formally no necessity to acquire equipment as such has been expressed in the operational requirements, in some situations a light, mobile towed howitzer is still an optimal solution. This pertains to the highly-mobile elements in particular, namely during airborne operations.

Hence an interest for Nexter’s 105 LG1 Mk.III howitzer.

The LG1 howitzer itself has been operated since the 1990s. The Mark III is the latest digitized variant, benefiting from a firing solutions computer and an INS/GPS positioning system. The Topaz system used by the Polish artillery units may be integrated on Nexter’s LG1.

The manufacturer suggests that the design can withstand more than 20 years of service and its endurance, without failure, is defined as 1,500 shots. Meanwhile, the barrel offers EFC life of up to 7,000 shots. Legacy models of the gun are operated by the French, Belgian and Canadian armies and five non-NATO states all around the world. They are used by air-mobile units primarily, or by light infantry units that are forced to work in rough terrain conditions.

bug2 - 20-6-2019 at 08:50 PM

Germany plans expanded artillery capabilities

Christopher F Foss, London - Jane's International Defence Review

19 June 2019

The Krauss-Maffei Wegmann PzH 2000 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled system is the only conventional tube artillery used by the German Army. Source: Krauss-Maffei Wegman

The German Army plans to expand its indirect fire capability and is emphasising its joint fires capability, according to Lieutenant Colonel Uwe Kraft, head of artillery and joint fires branch at the Germany Army's Concepts and Capabilities Development Centre.

The only conventional tube artillery used by the German Army is the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) tracked Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery system, of which a total of 185 were delivered by 2002 from the Kassel production line, but some of these have since been sold to Croatia and Lithuania.

The PzH 2000 has a high rate of fire as it has a semi-automatic handing system that automatically loads the fuzed 155 mm projectile, with the Rheinmetall Modular Charge System (MCS) loaded manually. The self-propelled artillery system carries a total of 60 155 mm artillery projectiles, but it weighs just over 55 tonnes and this limits deployability.

According to the German Army, current plans would take the 108 PzH 2000 through a mid-life upgrade, although the details of this have yet to be finalised.

New 155 mm munitions are to be procured to engage targets at longer ranges. This will include the Diehl Defence/Leonardo Vulcano 155 mm semi-active laser (SAL) guided projectile, which would enable engagements out to 70 km.

Today the German Army's only 155 mm precision artillery projectile is the GIWS SMArt 155, which carries to two top attack munitions. GIWS is a joint venture company formed by Diehl and Rheinmetall. The legacy rounds are running out of shelf life, and production is slated to start again with 'Phase 4' running from 2024 through 2027.

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bug2 - 23-6-2019 at 08:16 PM

Following their unsuccessful programme with the Swedish and the ARCHER ultra high mobility truck mounted 155mm SPG, the Norwegians went the route of the Korean K-9 THUNDER, now known as the K-9 VIDOR. Norse God of Vengeance...………this is the first vehicle going through Norwegian Army inspection prior to via Laser Shark at Sturgeon House Forums:

Meanwhile we wander in the wilderness..............

ADMK2 - 23-6-2019 at 11:22 PM

Quote: Originally posted by redcoat  
So let me get this straight every country we are every likely to fight is prepared to use cluster munitions and every country which is likely to be on the side of goodness and niceness has decided to place themselves at a disdvantage
Seems like bollocks to me

Yup. We also choose NOT to acquire very long range strike weapons, air to air refuellers and AEW&C aircraft, UNLESS our neighbours say they are cool with it...

You know, cause it might kick off an arms race and they might acquire 12 Flankers, instead of 11... That sort of thing...

bug2 - 3-7-2019 at 09:14 AM

Serbia’s 105 mm M56 howitzer back in production

Christopher F Foss, Belgrade, Serbia - Jane's International Defence Review

02 July 2019

Production of the upgraded Serbian 105 mm M56 towed howitzer fitted with a 33-calibre barrel has commenced for an undisclosed export customer, which signed a contract for 36 weapons (two battalions, each with 18 weapons).

The contract, which was placed with Yugoimport SDPR in 2017, covers new M56s, and this is the first time that new M56/33 calibre howitzers have been built in Serbia. The first weapons will be sent in July.

The original M56 was developed for the former Yugoslavia and was exported to countries including Cyprus, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, and Myanmar, but production was completed.

The M56 was fitted with a 105 mm, 27.8-calibre barrel with a triple baffle muzzle brake.

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bug2 - 5-7-2019 at 08:14 PM

China refurbishes old 152mm howitzers with modern add-ons

Posted On Friday, 05 July 2019 08:16

China has revitalized a type of howitzer that has been utilized by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) arsenal for more than 50 years by upgrading it with modern equipment, Liu Xuanzun reports in Global Times.

A Type-66 cannon-howitzer system attached to a brigade under the PLA 77th Group Army fires its 152mm shells during a live-fire training exercise on southwest China's Western Sichuan Plateau from August 8 to 11, 2018 ( by Hu Jing, Li Chengde and Sun Zhenqi)

The 152mm Type 66 cannon-howitzer is one of the most widely used pieces of artillery in the Chinese army, and the PLA has developed new tactics and equipment to let this old weapon efficiently serve even after 50 years of practical deployment, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday, June 3.

Fully manually operated, the 152 millimeter Type 66 howitzer is inexpensive compared to the 155 millimeter PLZ-05 self-propelled howitzer, which has a similar caliber but is highly automated, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Thursday, noting this enabled the PLA to mass produce the Type 66.

The aging howitzer can now not only shoot normal explosive shells but also advanced laser terminal guidance shells, CCTV reported, noting that these shells can track targets after they are fired, making them as accurate as missiles. Electromagnetic jamming shells and flare shells are also included in theType 66's arsenal. Reconnaissance drones and aiming assistance radars are also deployed together with the 152mm howitzers, "which gives the artillery wings and eyes," Jin Shuaishuai, an officer at the PLA 73rd Group Army artillery force, told CCTV.

Unlike a self-propelled howitzer, the 152mm howitzer needs a truck to tow it around, and because it is fully manual, it is slower than the automatic ones, said the CCTV report. But in modern warfare, these characteristics also give it a unique advantage over more advanced technologies: electromagnetic jamming will not work against the weapon, the state broadcaster quoted Zhong Puxing, another PLA artillery officer, as saying.

bug2 - 9-7-2019 at 10:44 AM

Indian army to buy Excalibur rounds for its new M-777A2 155mm howitzers

Posted On Monday, 08 July 2019 14:48

The Indian army intends to buy Excalibur guided long-range artillery shells compatible with the 145 M-777A2 howitzers it purchased in November 2016 from BAE Systems three years ago, the first batch of which was inducted into the artillery in November 2018 after extensive field trials.

Excalibur guided munition for 155mm howitzers (Picture source: Raytheon)

"The Indian Army is planning to acquire the Excalibur artillery ammunition from the Americans under the emergency procurement procedures," government sources were quoted as saying by ANI. The Excalibur precision-guided projectile is co-developed by Raytheon Company and BAE Systems Bofors. It is a GPS and inertial-guided munition capable of being used in close support situations within 75–150 meters of friendly troops or in situations where targets might be prohibitively close to civilians to attack with conventional unguided artillery fire. The shells have a multi-function fuze that can be programmed to explode in the air, once it hits a hard surface, or after it penetrates inside a target.

The delivery rate of the M-777A2s is five guns per month till the complete consignment is received by mid-2021.

bug2 - 10-7-2019 at 09:42 PM

The Paladin’s howitzer barrel just got a whole lot longer

By: Todd South   1 day ago

An M109A6 Paladin howitzer

The head of the Army’s effort to extend ranges of everything from howitzers to strategic missiles said that recent testing showed adding six feet to the howitzer cannon didn’t affect mobility and the piece can still operate in dense urban terrain.

Col. John Rafferty shared that item along with other updates on the Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team’s efforts at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Armament Systems Forum in June.

The current barrel length of the M109 howitzer is about 29 feet. The new 58-caliber barrel that the Army Test and Evaluation Command ran through the urban paces this spring is six feet longer.

“It actually can do just fine in dense urban terrain,” Rafferty said.

He did admit that engineers are still working out transmission questions for the Paladin Improvement Program, which is how the Army is making self-propelled howitzers ready for the modern battlefield.

A longer barrel means that the explosion can have contact with the projectile for more time, increasing the pressure and then velocity of the round, which equals greater distances.

Two videos shown at the event demonstrated 155mm firings at both the 70-kilometer and 62-km range with different munitions. Rafferty called those “great for morale” for the team but noted that they’re still trying to resolve the “precision” part of LRPF.

That’s because it’s more about defining accuracy at those ranges, which is still being worked out, he said.

To that end, the Extended Range Cannon Artillery program has work being done on multiple munitions. One is the XM1113, a rocket assisted projectile, and updated requirements for the M5409, the RAP currently in the Army’s inventory.

And to make those rounds hit on target, they’re also working on the Precision Guidance Kit and autoloader upgrades. The PGK has to work at double the distances it did in the past and the autoloaders, while part of past projects, never had to address fuzing projectiles or fuze settings, Rafferty said.

The team is pressing for a technology demonstration of that improved autoloader by late 2021.

But those artillery pieces, while challenging to develop, are only a small piece of the LRPF’s larger portfolio. And all of it is being driven by the Army’s target of having multi-domain operations a realistic way of warfighting ready by 2028.

Much of that is being driven by what’s being seen on multiple fronts. A 2018 RAND report noted that Russian cannons have 50 to 100 percent greater range than current U.S. cannons.

Those objectives include doubling range to beyond 70km for artillery, double rate of fire to six to 10 rounds per minute for those systems and engaging moving targets with those munitions in GPS-denied environments.

They also plan to have an advanced lightweight armament system with a technology demonstration planned for the end of this year.

To get ahead of that deadline, Rafferty said that his team is expected to deliver many of the capabilities by 2023.
“For us, there isn’t a moment to lose,” he said.

At the strategic level, the long-range hypersonic weapon and the strategic long-range cannon complement each other in fires planning.

The hypersonic weapon is expected to travel great distances at high speeds to defeat enemy defenses and hit a mix of hard or strategic targets such as radars, communication vehicles or even area targets with an “exquisite munition” that delivers “tremendous kinetic energy,” the colonel said.

In the fires commander’s back pocket, though, will be the strategic cannon with 1,600-km range. That cannon is being built to fire a “volume of more affordable munitions,” Rafferty said.

By using the two together, the Army expects to penetrate and disintegrate the anti-access, area-denial systems in use by China and Russia.

And it’s not just for the Army.

“We’re not entering strategic fires for the first time since the Pershing (missile) for ourselves,” Rafferty said.

The plan is for the Army to have those arrows in their quiver to open entry for the joint force to then get into the fight.

The colonel declined to discuss recent developments with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty, which limited those missile ranges for Russia and the United States.

He said only that the Precision Strike Missile is being engineered to reach the 499-km range and that is planned for fielding in 2023, also.

Once fielded there are three “spirals” or developments that the Army will quickly seek — cross-domain fires, meaning the PSM can hit maritime or land-based targets; enhanced lethality, which would make the missile able to hit multiple targets with one missile; and range, the potential to reach farther distances if needed.

ARH - 10-7-2019 at 10:10 PM

The two things I really want to see in ADF service sooner rather than later is the LRASM and Precision Strike Missile, particularly if the anti-shipping capability holds up, and it can be ship launched.

bug2 - 11-7-2019 at 07:24 PM

Saab continues to invest in ARTHUR

Christopher F Foss, London - Jane's International Defence Review

10 July 2019

Artist’s impression of Saab ARTHUR WLR integrated into an ARTEC Boxer 8x8 platform, with the antenna in raised position. Source: Saab

Saab Surveillance is continuing to self-fund development of its ARTHUR (ARTtillery HUnting Radar) Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) to meet emerging requirements, a company official revealed at the IQPC Future Artillery conference held in London in May.

Bard Frostad, Saab Surveillance's senior military advisor, said 80 ARTHUR WLR systems have been exported to at least 12 countries (one not being disclosed), including Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom with operational use seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those deployed by Canada and Denmark in Afghanistan have since been returned to Sweden.

ARTHUR is designed to detect incoming conventional tube artillery and fire, artillery rockets, and mortar bombs, providing friendly forces with a warning of incoming fire. According to Saab, the system has had 95% availability in operations.

During a typical operating sequence, ARTHUR detects threats, filters, and prioritises them, then transmits this information to the artillery command and control system (ACCS), which allocates an artillery battery to engage the threat. It can also be used to adjust for variables during artillery fire.

Since its introduction to service with Norway and Sweden more than 20 years ago, the ARTHUR WLR has been upgraded to improve its detection range and target tracking capacity.

The current ARTHUR Mod C WLR has an instrumented range of 60 km, operates over an arc of 120°, and can track more than 100 targets per minute.

Frostad said Saab is developing the ARTHUR WLR Mod D, which will feature several improvements, including an instrumented range of up to 100 km, an accuracy of 0.15% of range, and will cover an arc of 120°.

According to Saab, the Mod D leverages a combination of technologies fielded in other systems to reduce development cost and risk, and spiral development would be used for further growth via upgrades or new parts as necessary.

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bug2 - 16-7-2019 at 11:23 AM

BAE Systems to design ERCA prototype for US Army

Ashley Roque, Washington, DC - Jane's Defence Weekly

15 July 2019

In the US Army’s bid to develop a Strategic Long-Range Cannon programme, BAE Systems has been tapped to design an Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) prototype.

The company announced on 15 July that it had received a USD45 million contract to design an ERCA Increment 1 prototype that will increase the range and rate of fire on current, as well as future, M109A7 self-propelled howitzers. To achieve this increase, ERCA will be integrated onto the M109A7 and the M109A7’s current 39-calibre turret will be replaced with a 58-calibre, 30 ft long gun barrel, the company said.

“ERCA is a significant technological step forward for the army’s artillery portfolio,” Scott Davis, the vice-president of programmes for BAE Systems’ Combat Vehicles business, said in a statement.

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bug2 - 16-7-2019 at 12:35 PM

BAE gets green light to build extended-range cannon prototype for US Army

By: Jen Judson   7 hours ago

The M109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzer along with the M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle provides the primary indirect-fire support to armored brigade combat teams. (U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — BAE Systems has been given the go-ahead to build the U.S. Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery prototype through a $45 million contract award, according to a July 15 company statement.

Under the Army’s program, BAE will increase the range and the rate of fire on the current and future M109A7 self-propelled howitzers — otherwise known as Paladin Integrated Management.

The ERCA program is one of the Army’s near-term efforts within its No. 1 modernization priority — long-range precision fires — as adversaries have developed their own cannon artillery that out-ranges American capability.

The service stood up Army Futures Command roughly a year ago with cross-functional teams assigned to carry out the service’s top six modernization priorities as a means to break free from historically sluggish procurement habits. The Long-Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team has focused heavily on extending the range of cannon artillery.

BAE’s M109A7 howitzers will, in part, convert to ERCA cannons through the development of "power distribution software and hardware integration solutions,” according to the company statement.

The current 38-caliber turret will be replaced with a 58-caliber version to accommodate a 30-foot gun barrel from which the ERCA projectile will be fired.

The program aims to extend the range of artillery “while maintaining the weight found in current systems to minimize performance impacts to the chassis,” the company statement notes.

BAE is also under contract to develop precision guidance kits with anti-jamming capabilities, which is compatible with existing and new long-range rounds to include the M109 howitzer.

The company will work on the prototype at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, and BAE’s facilities in York, Pennsylvania; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Other efforts within the ERCA program include developing an improved projectile that can reach beyond 40 kilometers in range. The Army is developing the XM113 rocket-assisted projectile to answer that call, which could end up in soldiers’ hands in less than a few years.

The Army also has its eye on an autoloader for the cannon, which would dramatically increase its volume of fire.

The service tested a modified M109 Paladin at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in December 2018 designed to carry more propellant with a roughly 30-foot-long cannon.

The ERCA cannon is a step ahead of a bigger program to develop a strategic, long-range cannon that could shoot 1,000 nautical miles, or 1,852 kilometers.

bug2 - 17-7-2019 at 11:07 PM

This is the only illustration of this new Israeli, under development, gun system that I've ever been able to find...……….fully automatic, unmanned turret, most people think? What it eventually turns out to be, may be something completely different.....early days yet!

bug2 - 19-7-2019 at 02:01 PM

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Army Looks to Add Autoloader to Extended Range Cannon


By Connie Lee

An M109A6 Paladin howitzer self-propelled gun
Photo: Army

The Army is examining options to add an autoloader to the extended-range cannon artillery system, according to the director of the long-range precision fires cross-functional team.

The extended long-range cannon, or ERCA, is designed to extend the range of the Paladin self-propelled howitzers to 70 kilometers, which is double its current capability. The move is part of the Army’s effort to improve its fires capabilities to counter adversaries that can outgun current systems. The first ERCA prototype will begin testing from October to January at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, Col. John Rafferty told reporters July 17 during a media day at Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

The service has an “incremental strategy” for the system and plans to field it in a battalion in 2023. A second battalion will be fielded in 2024 with an autoloader, he noted.

“We're working on ... ‘How much do we need to know before you make the decision? Whether we want to produce prototypes of each one of these ... autoloaders or is there a way that we can make a smart decision earlier and then move faster to deliver the autoloader?” he said.

Adding the device would help the artillery system shoot up to 10 rounds per minute and reduce the crew needed to operate it, Rafferty noted.

“In large-scale ground combat operations, we need to be able to mass and deliver a volume of projectiles,” he said.

The Army is looking at two potential options for the autoloader, Rafferty said. One is provided by a vendor and one is designed by the government, he noted, declining to name the vendor.

There are multiple potential designs that can fill the role of an autoloader, Rafferty noted. For example, one resembles as “Coke can dispenser” that has a belt feeding into a magazine. Others have proposed designs that resemble a “robotic arm grabbing a projectile,” he said.

Additionally, the Army awarded BAE Systems a $45 million contract this week for the ERCA increment one prototype, according to a company announcement. Under the contract, BAE will integrate the extended-range cannon artillery system onto an M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management, replacing the 39-caliber turret with a 58-caliber, 30-foot long gun barrel. This will “improve the rate and range of fire with the development of power distribution software and hardware integration solutions,” the announcement stated.

Rafferty said the service is performing developmental testing on new projectiles as well.

“One of the big things to emphasize is ... it requires new projectiles to go that far,” he noted. “It takes new propellant … a new cannon and new fuse to get the accuracy we want … at 70 kilometers.”

bug2 - 23-7-2019 at 07:40 PM

U.S. Army designates new 155mm self-propelled howitzer as M1299

Posted On Monday, 22 July 2019 14:34

The U.S. Army officially confirmed that it will designate the newest 155mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) as M1299. The Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA gun) program evolved in the XM1299 prototype, now standardized as M1299.

XM1299 self-propelled howitzer firing test (Picture source: U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground)

The U.S. Army’s extended-range artillery system has been designed to increase the range and rate of fire on current and future M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzers. Compared to its predecessors, an M1299 system is receiving two leading-edge technologies: new XM1113 rocket-boosted shell and a longer 58 caliber tube, which increases the range from 38km to 70km+, and 100 km within the forthcoming four years.

In addition, the M1299 will have a fully automated ammunition loading system which increases the rate of fire from 3 rpm to 10 rpm. Removing the crew from the gun radically opens up the design space. The M1299 also receives a communications system that can work in GPS-denied environments.

Many elements of the howitzer can be automatically modeled to support design decisions: gunfire shock response, electrical power draw, internal ballistics, etc.

Building on mobility upgrades, the M1299 will also increase the lethality of self-propelled howitzers: new SPHs provides a “10x” capability through a combination of an increased range, increased rate of fire, increased lethality, increased reliability and greater survivability.

bug2 - 27-7-2019 at 12:25 AM

U.S. National Guard has tested Hawkeye 105mm mobile artillery system

Posted On Thursday, 25 July 2019 14:48

On July 23, 2019, U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 122 Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard, tested the Hawkeye 105mm mobile artillery system, as part of Exercise Northern Strike 19, one of the largest reserve component exercises. This event is hosted annually at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and Aleena Combat Readiness Training Center, as well as over the skies of northern Michigan and Lake Huron.

Sgt. Joshua Bourbonnais of Test Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 122 Field Artillery, Illinois Army National Guard sights in the Hawkeye 105mm Mobile Weapon System during a simulated drill on Camp Grayling, Mich. 23 July, 2019. (Picture source Maj. W. Chris ClyneU.S. DoD )

The goal of Exercise Northern Strike 19, is to maximize the full-spectrum combat readiness of National Guard units through realistic, cost-effective joint fires training in an adaptable environment, with an emphasis on cooperation between joint and coalition forces.

The Hawkeye is a mobile artillery system based on the high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (Humvee) fitted with a U.S. Army standard M20 105mm cannon mounted at the rear of the vehicle. This artillery vehicle is called 105mm Mobile Weapon System (MWS) and HAWKEYE by the manufacturer, AM General.

The AM General Hawkeye is based on a M1152A1 Humvee with a crew cab at the front and cargo platform at the rear fitted the 105 mm howitzer. The 105 mm cannon uses a hybrid soft recoil technology allows weapon to be paired with AM General HMMWV. The vehicle was unveiled by AM General during the Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting and exhibition in October 2016.

The 105 MWS battery is organized to suppress, neutralize, and destroy both ground forces and structures in an indirect and direct fire mode. The system allows the weapon to move, shoot, and move again without relying on heavy equipment or large number of troops/logistic support. The HMMWV platform provides unparalleled off-road mobility over all types of terrain to support this mission.

The AM General Hawkeye uses the MG 9000 digital fire control system which incorporates Northrop Grumman’s LN-270 Inertial Navigation System, Weibel Scientific’s MVR-700C Muzzle Velocity Radar System, Sekai Electronics’ DFS-02 Direct Fire Camera System, Sensor Systems’ S67- 1575-76 Global Positioning System antenna and Mandus’ DK 10 Gunner’s Display Unit.

In firing position two hydraulic jacks are lowered on the ground at the front of the vehicle and two large spades at the rear. A total of 4 to 6 ammunitions can be carried on the vehicle. To increase the number of ammunition another Humvee in cargo variant can be used to carry additional ammunition.

The HMMWV/Hawkeye Howitzer 105mm howitzer can be ready to fire in less than 2 minutes with a total crew of 4 soldiers. It can fire standard NATO 105 mm ammunition with a maximum range of 11.5 km with conventional projectile and 15.1 km with rocket assisted projectile.

bug2 - 31-7-2019 at 08:04 PM

New American Brutus 155mm 6x6 self-propelled howitzer shown at Northern Strike 2019

Posted On Wednesday, 31 July 2019 07:38

During the U.S. military exercise Northern Strike 2019, a Joint National Training Center accredited exercise, sponsored by the National Guard Bureau, the experimental Brutus 155mm self-propelled mobile gun was presented on July 25, 2019, on Camp Grayling, Michigan, United States.

A static display of the experimental Brutus 155mm Self-propelled gun at Northern Strike 19 on Camp Grayling, Mich. 25 July. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The Brutus 155mm self-propelled mobile gun is jointly developed by the companies AM General and The Mandus Group. The Brutus mounts the same cannon as the M777 to a hydro-pneumatic, soft Recoil system for mounting on FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles truck).

In February 2018, the U.S. Army announced it was again interested in exploring available options for a new mobile howitzer to replace its existing 105mm and 155mm towed types. The need soon appeared to develop a new 155mm system that would be available in both short- and long-barrel variants and come in a package better suit the demands of different types of Army artillery units.

In November 2018, the U.S. Army has tested the truck-mounted artillery system, low-recoil 155mm howitzer Brutus at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as reported by Joseph Trevithick on The Drive. The new somehow self-propelled howitzer would meet the service’s requirements for a lighter weight mobile option to replace existing howitzers in its Stryker armored vehicle-equipped, light infantry, and airborne units.

The 155mm Brutus uses the same technology as the Hawkeye, a soft-recoil howitzer developed by the American Companies Mandus Group and AM General, which allows a cannon to fire from a lighter platform.

The Brutus 155mm mobile self-propelled howitzer is mounted on a 6x6 modified chassis of M1083 five-ton FMTV type with outriggers to help stabilize it when firing. The FMTV truck series is the standard tactical truck throughout the U.S. Army.

In December 2018, the U.S. Army has released video footage showed a test firing with the Brutus.

VIDEO: Fort Sill MFIX 2019 Brutus:

bug2 - 2-8-2019 at 09:42 AM

Jordan receives M119 howitzers

Mohammed Najib, Ramallah - Jane's Defence Weekly

01 August 2019

The United States has donated 12 howitzers and 24 Humvees to the Jordan Armed forces (JAF), the US embassy in Jordan announced on 31 July.

“Recently, the Jordan Armed Forces concluded a live-fire training with howitzers received from the US,” the embassy said in a video posted on its Facebook account that showed JAF personnel firing 105 mm M119 light howitzers. “The howitzers provide the JAF with a system that can be rapidly deployed in Jordan’s defence and are another example of the critical Jordanian-US military partnership.”

It added that the howitzers would be used by the Quick Reaction Force, have a maximum range of 19.5 km, and can fire up to six rounds a minute for two minutes or three rounds a minute for 30 minutes.

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bug2 - 16-8-2019 at 08:53 PM

American ERCA Extended Range Cannon Artillery autoloader for self-propelled howitzer

Posted On Friday, 16 August 2019 08:48

American ERCA (Extended Range Cannon Artillery) autoloader for self-propelled howitzer is being tested for the first time at Yuma Proving Ground. The ERCA will provide faster and safer firing capabilities.

The ERCA Extended Range Cannon Artillery autoloader was tested from a prototype of M109A7. (Picture source US DoD)

The ERCA (Extended Range Cannon Artillery) itself is a massive undertaking in that everything is under development at the same time and it’s a platform that needs to be compatible with multiple howitzer configurations, multiple projectiles and multiple missions.

The ERCA program has been testing various components of its system for about four years. The newest component undergoing testing is a five-round limited capacity autoloader. It holds five projectiles and five propellant charges.

In the past ERCA Howitzer Test Bed (HTB) systems have been built on modified M109A6 Self Propelled Howitzers. Testing of the limited capacity autoloader is being conducted from a prototype M109A7 which has been modified and integrated with the ERCA Armament System.

The Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) has been instrumental in everything for ERCA development for the last three and a half years. The ERCA program was started on October in 2015 and since 100 test events on the ERCA program across multiple platforms were performed.

YPG Munitions and Weapons, ERCA Test Officer, Gilbert Moreno, has been a part of about 90 of those test events—he’s seen ERCA is all of its stages, “It started off with the propellant, projectile and gun tube and it evolved from that into a full weapon.”

Another part of the team are the gunners, who if this was a war zone, their position would be manned by soldiers. Artillery Gunner, Michael Gomez, has worked on the ERCA project about a year. His team consists of four gunners, they offload the ammunition, prepare it and then load it into the magazine, “The customer shows us their procedures and the steps to do, and our part is figuring how we can make it safe for us.”

Once the gunners insert the propellant into the autoloader magazine, the ERCA Autoloader Team takes over operations.

The ERCA Autoloader Team monitors and controls the autoloader system from the safety of a remotely located connex box. “It’s doing everything by itself, all we are doing is monitoring the health of it, checking that it is updating us with what it’s currently doing, and making sure that it’s saying that everything is okay,” responds Dave Gatter, a Control Systems Engineer and member of the ERCA Autoloader Team.

bug2 - 23-8-2019 at 09:57 AM

Aselsan developing 155 mm Course Correction System

Christopher F Foss, London - Jane's International Defence Review

22 August 2019

Turkey’s Aselsan is developing the Atom 155 mm Course Correction System (CCS) to meet potential artillery requirements for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC).

This would be a direct replacement for the existing 155 mm nose-mounted artillery fuze and would provide the weapon with an increase in accuracy that, according to Aselsan, “gives a circular error of probability (CEP) of less than 50 m, independent of range, as it reduces the dispersion”.

The CCS can be fitted to any 155 mm artillery projectile with a standard NATO two-inch deep well fuze, and it is activated at a distance of about 60 m from the muzzle of the weapon.

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bug2 - 25-8-2019 at 08:35 PM

Japanese army unveils its new Type 19 155mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer

Posted On Saturday, 24 August 2019 10:21

During the edition 2019 of its Firepower event which takes place every year at the end of August in the East Fuji Maneuver Area, the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF) has unveiled the Type 19, a new 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer based on a MAN military truck chassis.

New Japanese-made Type 19 155mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer in a live demonstration at the Firepower event of the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces. August 2019. (Picture source Internet)

The new Japanese Type 19 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer seems very similar to the French-made CAESAR manufactured by the French Company Nexter Systems. The main advantages of that type of artillery system are that it has similar firepower to existing towed and self-propelled artillery systems with greater strategic mobility and quicker in/out of action times.

The Type 19 is based on a MAN Military 8x8 military truck chassis with the crew cabin at the front and one 155mm howitzer mounted at the rear. According to our first analysis, the crew cab seems to be fitted with armor to provide protection against firing of small arms 7.62mm calibers and artillery shell splinters.

The Type 19 has a crew of five with three soldiers seated in the crew cab and two additional seats in a cabin located in the middle of the truck chassis.

As for the French CAESAR, the Type 19 seems to be equipped with a main fire-control computer located in the crew cab but at the rear on the left is the gun display unit for the crew when the system is deployed in the firing position. When the system is deployed in the firing position a large spade is hydraulically lowered at the rear to provide a more stable firing platform. The rear four wheels are raised clear of the ground so that the large spade absorbs all the firing stresses.

bug2 - 25-8-2019 at 08:39 PM

More pics via LoooSeR on Sturgeon House forums...……….

CaptainCleanoff - 25-8-2019 at 10:49 PM

Could this be a potential upgrade path for Army's M777A2? A way to keep the towed guns relevant, and more mobile? What are the downsides to something like this over a traditional towed system like Army have now? It seems like a logical upgrade path to take some risk out of the unprotected towed artillery role. Then again, why not just ditch the towed guns and go all SPH...

bug2 - 26-8-2019 at 11:30 AM

I would have thought that there are a number of points to consider:

- The development push for both tracked and truck-mounted artillery is to go for automatic/semi-automatic systems usually turret-mounted. It also appears that the turrets may be unmanned?

- These new systems may be some years away (Israeli truck system circa 2030 or so? The USA system possibly a lot sooner, i.e. 2025 or so?)

- You then have a choice....wait for the best, auto systems OR go with what is available now?

- On top of this is the hoary question of whether one goes for the super ranges being talked about in the USA in particular. Obviously there is a cost impact for the Long Gun versions allied to the automatic systems, married to ultra-long-range shells of one kind or another. M-109-A7 or the Korean equivalent may not be good enough...……….? 100kms range anyone......?

- Whatever we choose, we won`t have large numbers with current manning levels, especially if we also go for long-range rockets (for which there is a good business case in my opinion) ….circa 350-500kms range possibly?

- Does the need for both rockets and artillery cause one to only consider the highest number of automatic systems (for arty in particular) due to limited manning available? Max the weapon systems with the least manning...…

- Do we have any Reserves that could possibly use the M-777`s as a force back-up OR,
- Do we just stick them into store as War Reserve, OR,
- Do we sell them off?

CaptainCleanoff - 26-8-2019 at 06:05 PM

I was just doing some reading about US Army efforts in this area, and it looks like their experimental system (Brutus) is using a manual loading soft recoil system rather than a auto/semi-auto reload turreted solution. A lot less technically impressive than CAESAr or other comparable solutions. It looks like it is the same barrel as the M777, 39 cal (at the moment), but everything else is replaced. It's not a particularly impressive system in a technical sense, but would certainly get the job done, and done quickly and cheaply.

From the looks of it, the JSDF solution is semi-auto? Maybe that kind of solution or similar could be fitted to the M777? More of an engineering issue than anything, I'm sure it's possible. Honestly, I'm not really worried about the method of reload, more so the ability of the gun to get into and out of action and displaced as quickly as possible, with as cheap a solution as possible. As long as the crew are as well protected as is technically feasible, given the chassis (an up-armoured MAN solution would fit the bill well enough) then it would be a significantly better solution than what the Army has now.

With the manning issues, it looks like this kind of system in particular has a lower requirement compared to a towed gun. Aren't M777A2's operated by at least 7-11 personnel? If this kind of setup only requires the mentioned 5, there is already a decent saving there across the fleet, meaning either more gun systems could be purchased to increase the artillery capability, or personnel positions placed into other needed areas - rocket artillery, support etc.

As far as the Reserves go, use them. US Army National Guard are expected to be able to operate more complex equipment and get less training days per year than Army Reserve. I think Reserves are under utilised, under invested and under appreciated, if they need more training, give it to them. If they need more money, then give it too them. Reality is, the ADF as a whole needs more bodies and more money the less stable the region gets, and the Reserves are going to have to be a part of that system and be as deployable and as capable in specific roles as their regular counterparts. Give them back their artillery guns, give them more training time and more focused purpose and they could be just as capable.

I dunno, I'm just brainstorming. I'd have to have a better sense of budgets, program costs, R&D costs etc to establish whether something like this would be worth it for the ADF. There is nothing stopping the Army and BAE from developing a localised version, I mean, more jobs, local defence industry growth etc, the only barrier would be money.

bug2 - 3-9-2019 at 09:21 AM

Japan displays new SPH prototype, more elements of road-mobile EW system

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - Jane's Defence Weekly

02 September 2019

The JGSDF displayed a prototype of the Type 19 155 mm/52-calibre wheeled SPH at the ‘Fuji Firepower 2019’ exercise. Source: JGSDF

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) unveiled a prototype of the Type 19 155 mm/52-calibre wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH) at this year's edition of the 'Fuji Firepower' exercise conducted from 22-25 August, a JGSDF spokesperson told Jane's on 2 September.

The long-range howitzer, which is integrated into an 8×8 MAN tactical military truck, is expected to replace the JGSDF's ageing fleet of FH-70 towed artillery systems, said the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD)'s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA), adding that the new system will be operated by five personnel.

The JGSDF spokesperson said that the service will take delivery of the first seven Type 19 SPHs from domestic manufacturer Japan Steel Works, which has already delivered five Type 19 prototypes to the ATLA, by the end of fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) ending on 31 March 2020.

The designation 'Type 19' means that the system is expected to be delivered to the JGSDF during FY 2019.

The JGSDF has already requested JPY4.7 billion (USD44.3 million) from the government to procure a second batch of seven Type 19 SPHs for FY 2020, following the acquisition of the first batch for JPY5.1 billion.

Meanwhile, the 'Fuji Firepower 2019' exercise, which was held at the East Fuji Maneuver Area (EFMA) near Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, saw the JGSDF displaying more elements of its road-mobile Network Electronic Warfare System (NEWS), which has been developed for analysing electronic waves and conducting electronic warfare (EW).

The NEWS system is made up of several, specially equipped EW vehicles designed to perform electronic reconnaissance while degrading the command, control, and communications networks of adversaries.

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bug2 - 11-9-2019 at 11:43 AM

Image via BAE Systems.

DSEI 2019: BAE unveils new ‘Archer’ mobile Howitzer

By George Allison - September 10, 20196

BAE Systems have unveiled a new ‘Archer’ Mobile Howitzer at DSEI today that it says is highly adaptable to diverse terrains and battlefield conditions.

The firm say that the key is a modular design that allows it to be integrated onto different truck chassis and then seamlessly introduced into existing vehicle fleets.

“The ARCHER’s modularity makes it a cost-effective solution that provides critical battlefield capabilities. The ARCHER system displayed at DSEI 2019 is mounted on a Rheinmetall RMMV HX2 8×8 truck – meaning it could be common to systems already in service with the British Army.”

The original ARCHER, first delivered to the Swedish Armed Forces in 2013, is mounted on a Volvo A30 6X6 articulated hauler.

“This new international version of the ARCHER can be easily integrated onto a variety of different chassis, allowing the customer to specify the vehicle best suited to their needs,” said Ulf Einefors, director of marketing and sales at BAE Systems Weapon Systems business in Sweden.

“We’re pleased to display this new version at DSEI to demonstrate the versatility that ARCHER could add to any allied military force.”

In a release, BAE say that the long-range, self-propelled ARCHER brings speed, mobility, and high rates of fire to support ground troops.

“From the safety of ARCHER’s armored cabin, a three-person crew needs less than 30 seconds to deploy or displace the system, making ARCHER the ultimate shoot-and-scoot artillery system. As the most advanced wheeled 155mm, 52-calibre system in operation today, ARCHER features a 21-round auto-loader and onboard ballistic calculation.”

The system can fire up to eight rounds per minute at ranges approaching 40 kilometres with conventional 155mm ammunition and 60 kilometres with precision guided munitions such as Excalibur.

bug2 - 11-9-2019 at 11:22 PM

Low-cost launcher [DSEI19D1]

10 September 2019

Arnold Defense is launching a new version of its Fletcher weapon system at DSEI − the Multiple Launch Hydra System (MLHS) − which is being shown installed on the Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG LTTV platform on Jankel's Stand N6-350. A Fletcher rocket launcher is also being shown on the BAE Systems Stand S4-200/S4-240 mounted on the Level Peaks M205 tripod with a Capco mount plate.

This new version has a total of 23 launcher tubes for 2.75in/70mm solid propellant laser-guided rockets such as the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), which is already in quantity production. According to Arnold Defense, the MLHS is set to transform the surface defence world by delivering low-cost, high-capacity surgical strike capability.

The latest Fletcher MLHS includes the platform, a pod of 23 2.75in/70mm laser-guided rockets, and a laser designator. The latter could either be mounted on the platform, or the targets could be designated by another land-based designator, or even an air-based laser designator integrated into a helicopter, an unmanned aerial vehicle or an aircraft.

Arnold Defense has manufactured more than 1.25 million 2.75in rocket launchers since 1961 for the US market and many overseas customers. These include the M260 (7-round) and M261 (19-round) launchers deployed on US Army helicopters, thermal coated LAU-68 (7-round) and LAU-61 (7-round) digital rocket launchers used by the US Navy, plus the LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispensers. Recent developments include the ultralight LWL-12 that weighs just over 27kg empty, and a new four-round launcher.

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bug2 - 12-9-2019 at 06:56 PM

More pics of the ARCHER on MAN 8x8.....from BAE

Small this SPH is NOT...….

bug2 - 13-9-2019 at 11:37 AM

From DSEI 2019...…………

bug2 - 18-9-2019 at 09:43 AM

Closing the Range Gap

(Source: NAMMO; issued Sept 16, 2019)

Nammo expects to hold live firing tests next years for its ramjet-powered, guided artillery shell with a range of up to 150 km, now the subject of a development partnership with Boeing’s Phantom Works. (Nammo image)

For years, NATO artillery and missile systems have been at a range disadvantage compared to its future potential adversaries. New ramjet technology, however, has the potential to completely reverse the situation by closing the range gap.

In the summer of 2016, Russia rolled out the latest version of the 9A52-4 Tornado rocket launcher. The "S"-variant now has the ability to fire shells at an enemy 120 kilometers away, a remarkable improvement on the previous version. But even the previous version could reach targets 70 km away.

At the same time, the country appears to be investing in other, more untraditional long-range missile systems. The recent accident near Severodvinsk - in what appears to have been a test of a new nuclear powered cruise missile - is just one indication of this investment, as is the use of conventional cruise missiles in Syria.

NATO has favored a different approach: For decades, the alliance relied on air superiority. That situation is however changing rapidly. As air defense systems like the S-400 proliferate, Russian planners apparently hope to deny their opponents free use of the skies.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, is one of many experts who now believe the situation has changed fundamentally - and put NATO forces at a disadvantage. When he appeared before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2016, Milley was asked whether the army was "outranged".

“We don’t like it, we don’t want it, but yes, technically [we are] outranged, outgunned on the ground," Milley said.

The importance of range

Range - and especially the ability to hit at a distance where an opponent cannot retaliate - has been a prime concern on the battlefield since the days of the Romans. Sometimes, such an advantage has proven to be a deciding factor.

Roman triumvir Crassus is one who certainly would attest to that. When facing Parthian horse archers at the battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, his legions were wiped out when they could not counter their opponents' range and mobility advantage.

Later, the English would inflict enormous damage on French forces in the Hundred Years' war. At Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, English longbowmen significantly outranged their opponents. The great English victories here would effectively end the primacy of heavily armored knights, as well as adding decades to a conflict where the French held a great advantage in both resources and manpower.

Range also played a part in the U.S. War of Independence. Morgan's Riflemen (famous for their long-range rifles) played their part in securing victory at important battles like Saratoga.

"There's a race going on"

Longbows are however a thing of the past. But Nammo artillery and munitions expert Thomas Danbolt believes range is still of great importance to contemporary weapons, like artillery.

“Range is important. If you can shoot much farther than your opponent, counter-battery fire can simply be disregarded. Your own artillery will be safe, while at the same time you can strike enemy positions with impunity. I think we should not underestimate the consequences of having a range advantage,” says Thomas Danbolt, Nammo’s Vice President Large Caliber Ammunition.

Danbolt thinks major nation-states have seen the importance of this, and are now scrambling to improve their defenses. His colleague, Frank Møller, has been part of designing rocket motors for missiles for decades. He sees a big change in that field as well.

“I think there’s a race going on internationally. Propulsion technology has improved. Cruise missiles are getting longer ranges, better sensors, improved accuracy, and the cost has gone down. But a reaction is coming: armed forces everywhere are scrambling to improve their missile defenses”, says Frank Møller, Nammo's VP of Strategy and Business Development (Aerospace Propulsion).

150km artillery range

As demand for longer range options increases, ramjet technology has been advancing steadily. It has now come to a point where it can has several new potential applications - both in missiles and artillery.

Nammo already has a long history of producing high-performing artillery ammunition. Now, it once again wants to be at the forefront, developing a new generation of shells covering all range requirements.

Nammo’s most ambitious project to date has been a Ramjet-powered, guided artillery shell with a range of up to 150 km, now the subject of a development partnership with Boeing’s Phantom Works. The new design is expected to see its first live-fire tests in 2020.

“In practice, this is a mix of a missile and an artillery shell. We are talking about a range that is five to eight times greater than conventional artillery. With the guidance system, we believe we can consistently hit an area as small as the center of a football field. And even though the payload is somewhat smaller, the destructive force will likely be greater because of the accuracy,” Danbolt says.

The Ramjet shell can be fired from every modern 155 mm L52 artillery gun – a trait it shares with all of Nammo’s other long-range shells.

The Ramjet revolution

Ramjets are also very well suited for missiles. In a conventional rocket motor, oxygen accounts for 80 percent of the fuel weight. But a Ramjet instead uses oxygen from the outside air. As a consequence, oxygen can be replaced with fuel, increasing the capacity four or five times. Erland Ørbekk, Nammo’s VP of Technology for Aerospace Propulsion, explains that the advantages are great if a missile can reach high enough speeds.

“In a traditional air breathing motor, you need a compressor, a combustion chamber and a turbine. But in a Ramjet, the oxygen pressure and temperature will be high enough just from reaching a high enough speed (roughly Mach 2.5). A Ramjet missile can have a burn time of up to 300 seconds (5 minutes), and can be throttled up and down, or even turned on and off,” Ørbekk says.

What operational advantages can we expect?

“A Ramjet-powered missile will be superior to a conventional missile in all possible ways. Ground-based Ramjet missiles will be able to take out high-altitude targets. And if fired from aircraft, they will be effective against high-speed and highly maneuverable fighter jets at much greater distances than today. We believe they could even be effective against some of the new high-speed missiles being introduced outside NATO. If you have a good enough sensor system on the ground, it will be possible for Ramjet-powered missiles to intercept them.”

Ready in a few years

Ramjet-powered artillery and missiles could be ready sooner than you think. Nammo has already completed more than 150 successful tests of its ramjet engines. While artillery ramjets could reach up to 150km, some air-to-air missiles could hit targets from an even more impressive 500km distance.

Frank Møller is sure we will see products on the market within a few years.

“Long-range Ramjet artillery will likely be on the market within two to four years. For missiles, it will take a bit longer, but we are confident that the technology is ready. What we are working on now is more focused on the practical applications and technical solutions.”

Are you sure of that? Are you sure the technology will work?

“Absolutely. And it will be a momentous change.”


bug2 - 20-9-2019 at 11:15 PM

Norway receives its first K9 self-propelled howitzer

Samuel Cranny-Evans, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

20 September 2019

Norway’s Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) announced on its website on 19 September that it had received its first K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) from Hanwha Defense during a ceremony in South Korea.

The first system, comprising the K9 155/L52 SPH and K10 ammunition handling vehicle it operates with, will be delivered to Norway in December for testing, the NDMA said.

The formal handover to the Norwegian Army is scheduled for autumn 2020, and a total of 24 K9 howitzers with six supporting K10s will be delivered to Norway upon completion of the contract, which was placed in 2017, according to the NDMA.

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bug2 - 24-9-2019 at 07:39 PM

Norwegian army has taken delivery of K9 155mm howitzers and K10 ARVs

Posted On Tuesday, 24 September 2019 08:23

Last week, the Norwegian army has taken delivery of the first K9 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer and K10 ARV Armored Resupply Vehicle. On December 2017, Norway’s defense ministry has announced the purchase of the K9 155 artillery self-propelled howitzers designed and manufactured by the South Korean Company Hanwha Land Systems.

New Norwegian army K9 155 mm self-propelled howitzer on tracked armored chassis. (Picture source Twitter account Forsvarsdepartement)

The contract also includes the artillery howitzer K9, ammunition and K10 resupply armored vehicles will reach an amount of $383 million. A total of 24 K9 155mm howitzers and six K10 ammunition resupply vehicles were ordered by Norway.

This is the second Scandinav country after Finland that has purchased the South Korean K9 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. In February 2017, the Finnish defense minister Jussi Niinistö has announced the purchase of 48 South Korean K9s artillery howitzers for a total amount of €146 million ($155 million).

The K9 155mm tracked self-propelled in now in service with South Korea, India, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Norway and Egypt has performed evaluation test of the K9.

The K9 nicknamed Thunder is a South Korean 155mm self-propelled howitzer based on tracked armored chassis developed by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and now manufactured by Hanwha Land Systems.

The main armament of the K9 Thunder consists of a 155 mm/52 caliber ordnance with a maximum firing range of 40 km. A total of 48 projectiles and their associated charges are carried for ready use. Internally an automatic loading system takes projectiles from the storage position and places them onto the ammunition tray ready for ramming.

This self-propelled howitzer has a crew of five, consisting of commander, driver, gunner, assistant gunner, and loader.

The K10 ARV is an ammunition resupply armored vehicle responsible for re-arming the K9 Thunder. It is built upon the K9's chassis. Maximum transfer rate of shells is 12 rounds per minute, and the maximum load of shells is 104 rounds.

The reloading process is fully automated. The reloading is done through a munition bridge on the K10 that extends out to lock itself into a reception hole located at the rear of the K9. This allows the unit to rearm itself under harsh combat conditions without the crew having to expose themselves to the combat environment.

New Norwegian army K10 ARV 155 mm Armored Resupply Vehicle. (Picture source Twitter account Forsvarsdepartement)

bug2 - 24-9-2019 at 07:59 PM

Vulcano Precision Guided Munition – Qualified and Ready for Fielding

(Source: Diehl Defence; issued Sept 20, 2019)

Under the umbrella of the Italian and German governments, Leonardo and Diehl Defence developed and qualified the precision-guided munition family Vulcano 127mm and 155mm.

The STANAG-conforming joint qualification controlled by the Italian and German authorities has been successfully completed. The qualification performed is compatible with all Joint Ballistic MoU gun systems, such as the land-based platforms PzH 2000 and FH-70 as well as 127mm/5inch naval platforms.

The Vulcano ammunition is designed to achieve extended ranges of 70 km for Vulcano 155 and 80 km for Vulcano 127 in conjunction with unique accuracy against stationary and moving targets.

The ammunition family reaches highest target accuracy through the unique combination of satellite-based navigation with laser- or infrared-sensors for terminal homing. This makes the Vulcano family the most accurate artillery ammunition for land and naval applications worldwide.

The powerful multi-role, insensitive high-explosive (IHE) warhead with pre-fragmented tungsten splinters is most effective against soft targets, vehicles, semi-armored vehicles, infrastructures and all typical infantry command posts.

Vulcano programming kits enable artillery platforms to fire Vulcano ammunition in an easy way. The kits allow either fully integrated or standalone operations. The embedded fire command computation program, NABK-18+, has been officially released.


unicorn - 25-9-2019 at 03:01 PM

Yes, because they can survive and operate in the bitterly harsh climate of Norway, but were 'unsuitable' for the Australian Army.

bug2 - 3-10-2019 at 11:36 PM

Cyprus parades new Serbian-made artillery and armoured vehicles

Igor Bozinovski, Skopje - Jane's Defence Weekly

02 October 2019

A military parade held in Nicosia on 1 October to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Cyprus’ independence has demonstrated that the Cypriot National Guard’s rapid modernisation is ongoing with the acquisition of Serbian-made Nora-B52 155 mm/52-calibre 8x8 self-propelled gun-howitzers and BOV M16 Miloš 4x4 armoured multi-purpose combat vehicles.

A single turret-equipped Miloš followed by four Nora-B52s (which were labelled as ‘Alexander TGS’ systems) were displayed in public for the first time.

One of the Serbian-made Nora-B52 155 mm/52-calibre 8x8 self-propelled gun-howitzers bought by Cyprus on parade in Nicosia on 1 October. (Serbian MoD)

Speaking after the parade, Cypriot Defence Minister Savvas Angelides noted that the Cypriot National Guard is being upgraded and thanked a number of his guests, including his Greek counterpart, Defence Minister Nikos Papagiotopoulos, for Athens’ constant support, as well as Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin for his country’s practical co-operation.

While few details of Nicosia’s acquisition of Serbian-made weapons exist, Belgrade-based media have reported that Serbia has sold to Cyprus 24 Nora-B52s and eight Miloš artillery reconnaissance and battery command vehicles to equip four artillery batteries in a deal worth almost EUR50 million (USD54.8 million). According to the reports, the first battery of six Nora-B52s for Cyprus would be completed in August.

More pics...…………

bug2 - 9-10-2019 at 09:34 AM

Indian Army to deploy M777A2 light howitzers in eastern sector

Posted On Tuesday, 08 October 2019 10:12

The tactical mobility will enable quick insertion of the howitzers in areas close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, which can move weapons, equipment and troops at a swifter pace because of better infrastructure. Rahul Singh reports in The Hindustan Times.

The M777A2 light howitzer can be airlifted by CH-47 Chinook (Picture source: U.S. Army / 1st Lt. Ellen Brabo, 2d Cavalry Regiment)

The Indian Army is preparing to deploy its new M777A2 howitzers in eastern Arunachal Pradesh for accurate artillery fire support in the mountainous terrain that could prove to be a “game-changer” in the sector. The 155 mm/39-caliber howitzers, which can be sling-loaded to helicopters and swiftly deployed to high-altitude areas, are likely to be inducted by the year-end, the first officer said. India ordered 145 howitzers from the United States for $750 million in November 2016.

“The M777s will be a game-changer in the eastern sector. The highly portable guns can be swiftly deployed and redeployed for missions using the Boeing CH-47F(I) Chinook helicopters. The howitzers will be part of light artillery regiments,” an officer said. The tactical mobility will enable quick insertion of the howitzers in areas close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, which can move weapons, equipment and troops at a swifter pace because of better infrastructure, he said. "It’s certainly a much-needed capability upgrade. Moving heavier guns around is not easy. Even soldiers take two days to reach the forward posts from Tezu (headquarters of the 82 Mountain Brigade),” he added. Tezu is located 250 km south of Kibithu, which is along the LAC and accounts for the army’s eastern-most deployments.

The M777A2s are a key component of the army’s field artillery rationalisation plan (FARP), cleared in 1999. The FARP lays down the road map for inducting new 155mm weaponry, including tracked self-propelled guns, truck-mounted gun systems, towed artillery pieces and wheeled self-propelled guns.

The plan seeks to equip 169 artillery regiments with a mix of nearly 3,000 guns over the next decade.

The army will raise seven new regiments with the 145 howitzers deployed in the northern and eastern sectors. M777A2 manufacturer BAE Systems is supplying 25 ready-built howitzers and the remaining 120 guns will be built locally in collaboration with Mahindra Defence under the Modi government’s Make in India initiative. The army is likely to get all the howitzers by 2021-end. These howitzers have superior tactical mobility as they are made from titanium alloy and weigh only 4,218kg, which is half the weight of conventional artillery guns deployed in the northern and eastern sectors.

The CH-47F(I) Chinook and the M777A2 howitzer are a deadly combination, said former Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Major (retd). “The load-carrying capacity of the Chinook and the capabilities that the M777 brings will certainly be a game-changer for the forces deployed along the eastern borders,” he said. India ordered 15 Chinook helicopters from the US for $1.18 billion in September 2015. Six of them have already been delivered.

The army’s artillery arsenal in eastern Arunachal Pradesh includes the Bofors guns and the 105mm field gun. “Transporting these guns is quite tricky due to terrain and the infrastructure that is still a work in progress. It requires a lot of horse power and willpower,” said the first officer cited above.

bug2 - 9-10-2019 at 09:38 AM

Russian coastal troops in Crimea armed with Tornado-G MLRS

Posted On Tuesday, 08 October 2019 12:27

The Russian Defense Ministry radically increases the firepower of the coastal troops in Crimea. They are receiving Tornado-G multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) which replace Grad in artillery regiments and battalions of the peninsula. Tornado-G is fully automatic and can independently guide missiles at targets, the Izvestia daily writes.

Tornado-G MLRS (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Tornado-G MLRS have been supplied to the 8th artillery regiment of the coastal forces and the 126th coastal defense brigade of the Black Sea fleet, Defense Ministry sources said.

The rearmament with the new MLRS is to be completed in 2019.

Tornado-G 9K51M is an upgraded option of Grad 9K51. It is distinguished by improved fire control with satellite navigation and a computer to calculate ballistic parameters. Tornado-G is fully automatic. Upon receiving target coordinates, the weapon makes calculations, deploys the launchers to the necessary angle and elevation, and fires by command. The operators have only to deliver the MLRS to the assigned point, deploy it and order fire.

Fire is controlled without human interference. It is even not always necessary to boot the data, as the system can independently receive and process information from reconnaissance vehicles and drones. Full automatic operation accelerates fire missions. The vehicle crew has been cut from three to two men. The deployment time on an unequipped combat position has been decreased to six minutes and comprises from 0 to one minute on an equipped one. The weapon fires the whole round of munitions in several minutes and needs one minute to prepare for a march and abandon the position.

Tornado-G has much better characteristics against predecessors, such as the range, accuracy and density of fire. It can quickly and effectively destroy various targets, expert Sergey Suvorov said. The integration with the automatic control system considerably cuts the deployment and engagement time, he added.

The modern weapon increases the combat potential of Crimea, expert Viktor Murakhovsky said. "Tornado-G can be engaged together with the automatic control system which provides for centralized fire control. MLRS automatically receive coordinates and other firing data. They can immediately occupy the positions and fire by a single vehicle or in a group. They can rapidly withdraw after fire to new positions and continue the mission. Thus, they avoid the risk of retaliation fire," he said.

Tornado-G has a maximum range of 40 km which can be increased in future. The combat capabilities were expanded due to new rocket-propelled projectiles. They include cluster munitions with separable warheads and homing cumulative charges for the destruction of armor.

Tornado-G belongs to a MLRS family which includes various calibers. Besides 122mm Tornado-G, there is 300mm Tornado-S. The latter was created for major artillery formations engaged in important fire missions. The first Tornado-S were supplied to the Southern Military District in 2019.

Tornado-S is also fully automatic and can independently guide missiles. The rearmament with the weapons will robotize the Russian artillery. All artillery formations of the district and central subordination will be rearmed with Tornado-S in the coming years, the Izvestia said.

© Copyright 2019 TASS / Army Recognition Group SPRL.

bug2 - 12-10-2019 at 01:18 PM

Analysis: Russia reforms missile and artillery troops

Posted On Friday, 11 October 2019 13:13

The Russian Defense Ministry launched an experiment to increase the effectiveness of missile troops and artillery. Besides the design of new weapons and the upgrade of available ones, a new staff matrix for battalions, regiments and brigades is drafted. The latest Center-2019 exercise tested the new artillery concept, the Military-Industrial Courier writes.

2S35 Koaitsyia-SV (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The artillery reform is mostly closed for the public. The developments may look as chaos to an amateur. For example, the Ground Forces have to receive the latest 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery guns in the near future. At the same time, the Defense Ministry is returning Cold War legacy of Pion 2S7 long-range self-propelled guns and super heavy 2S4 Tyulpan mortars. Besides, Krasnopol guided projectiles have returned although their production stopped in the mid-1990s.

Experts want to understand how missile troops and artillery will look like in the near future and why old weapons are returning.

They also assessed the effectiveness of innovations at maneuvers. The main guideline of artillery development is its maximum integration into the so-called single information space. In other words, missiles and artillery have to obtain target information in real-time and destroy them.

The first stage has been accomplished by now. Artillery receives information directly from drones and frontline units. The latter transmits all the necessary information by Strelets reconnaissance and communication system. Artillery and missile troops successfully engaged Strelets in Syria. The military now face a more difficult task.

The troops began to introduce the concept of reconnaissance-strike forces (RUK). They operate as follows: a battery or battalion operates with drones or personnel equipped with Strelets. The interaction goes directly between drones or Strelets with artillerymen. However, the military leadership now believes the reconnaissance-strike force is outdated and no longer meets modern requirements. It is replaced by a reconnaissance-fire force (ROK) built on netcentric principle of modern wars and conflicts.

ROK operation is simple. All units on the battlefield are armed with automatic control systems and report the detected targets. Information also comes from drones and electronic reconnaissance. The data are transmitted to the superior command. The headquarters use the information and distribute targets between artillery units. They take into account numerous factors, starting from the tactical and operational situation on the battlefield up to the available round of artillery munitions and the weather. Artillery in positions receives target coordinates and the necessary round of munitions to destroy it.

It remains for the men to accomplish the mission and engage in the next one.

ROK can be effective to the maximum if missile and artillery units are integrated into a single information space. The Defense Ministry has been working since 2015 to arm artillery and missile troops with modern radio stations and automatic control terminals.

The latest Koalitsia-SV, Msta-S 2S19M2 152mm self-propelled artillery guns, Tornado-S and Uragan-M1 MLRS were created for the integration into single information space. Older Acacia 2S1, Gvozdika 2S3, Uragan and Grad MLRS have to be upgraded for that. Active work is ongoing and the program to upgrade Grad was launched in 2019.

The upgraded weapons have some restrictions against the new ones. For example, Koalitsia, Tornado and Uragan-M1 independently make all the calculations after receiving the combat mission. Their control systems place the launchers or guns to the necessary angle. The operator has only to press the button. Older weapons do not have such a level of automation.

Upon obtaining the firing data, the operators have to do everything themselves - raise the weapon to the necessary angle, calculate ammunition consumption, etc.

The delivery of new artillery guns made it necessary to revise the matrix of artillery units. In particular, artillery regiments of motorized rifle and tank divisions began to get heavy Uragan batteries.

Until recently, only artillery brigades were armed with the MLRS. The latest Uragan-M1 with an arsenal of precision munitions will soon replace them in artillery brigades. The freed Uragan will reinforce the firepower of motorized infantry and tank divisions.

One such MLRS battery is an impressive force capable of creating major difficulties for the adversary.

Koalitsia-SV and 2S19M2 Msta-S will gradually replace old but upgraded Msta-S 2S19 in artillery brigades. The latter will not be scrapped but sent to artillery battalions and regiments of combined arms brigades, as well as artillery battalions of motorized infantry and tank brigades.

The Syrian combat experience confirmed the high effectiveness of towed artillery. Batteries and battalions of D-30 and Msta-B 2A65 howitzers can march hundreds of kilometers. However, tracked guns do not boast such mobility. It was initially expected that towed guns would be replaced by automobile-mounted Koalitsia-SV (the turret with 152mm gun is mounted on an 8x8 truck). However, the Syrian experience showed that ordinary prime movers with trailed howitzers present major advantages against wheeled guns. Therefore, the Ground Forces will keep artillery brigades armed with towed howitzers Msta-B 2A65. It is unclear whether the towed Koalitsia-SV will replace them. The Defense Ministry voiced such plans, but so far the work to create a towed Koalitsia has not begun.

Syria gave the second breath to towed 122mm D-30 howitzers which have been gradually decommissioned since early 2000s. The artillery guns remained in the Airborne Forces, but will likely return to the Ground Forces in the near future, the Military-Industrial Courier said.

© Copyright 2019 TASS / Army Recognition Group SPRL.

bug2 - 19-10-2019 at 05:08 PM

Russian Military Pursues ‘Artillery Reform’ (excerpt)

(Source: Eurasia Daily Monitor; posted October 16, 2019)

By Roger McDermott

Two Russian Army 2S19 MSTA-S self-propelled howitzers on maneuvers. Russian MoD photo)

Russia’s Armed Forces have undergone a prolonged transformation over the past decade as part of reform and modernization of Russian military capability. This has covered many facets involving numerous experiments and corrections.

However, the political-military leadership has not forgotten the key role traditionally assigned to artillery in Russian combat operations. In 1944, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin asserted in a speech that “artillery is the god of war.”

As the current modernization process continues, it appears that artillery systems are now playing an increasingly important role in efforts to boost the accuracy of fires. Artillery reform involves an experiment to increase the effectiveness of the Missile and Artillery Troops (Raketnyye Voyska i Artilleriya—RV&A) by developing new artillery models or modernizing existing systems as well as restructuring units and integrating these into the unified information space.

Some of this process draws on lessons learned from artillery use in Syria and recent tests in last month’s (September 16–21) strategic-operational exercise Tsentr 2019 (see EDM, October 9; VPK, October 8).

During Tsentr 2019, a number of test elements were included, involving widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), new communications systems, command-and-control (C2) systems, electronic warfare (EW) assets, large-scale airborne assault forces, strategic mobility, and further examination of advances in the integration of artillery into the Reconnaissance-Fire System (Razvedivatel’nfaya-Ognovaya Sistema—ROS).

Moreover, military operations in Syria confirmed the advantage in terms of mobility of artillery units equipped with D-30 and 2A65 Msta-B howitzers as examples of towed artillery over the systems mounted on tracked chassis (see EDM, September 25).

The common theme in these modernization efforts is to unite systems in the information space, in order that artillery and precision missiles receive accurate targeting in real time and then execute high-precision fires. Artillery personnel receive target information from forward-spotters and UAVs, with all this transmitted in real time using the Strelets intelligence management and communications complex (Kompleks Razvedki Upravleniya i Svyazi—KRUS).

This was tried and tested in Syria. ROS, the Russian variant of network-centric warfare, aims to unite all units and subunits operating on the battlefield with automated C2 reporting identified targets; the information is gathered from UAVs and electronic intelligence equipment. The data is also transmitted to higher commands (VPK, October 8). (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Jamestown website.


bug2 - 24-10-2019 at 10:43 AM

Vulcano Precision Guided Munition – Qualification, Ready for Fielding

(Source: Diehl Defence; issued Oct 22, 2019)

Under contract to the Italian and German governments, Leonardo and Diehl Defence developed the precision-guided munition family VULCANO 127 mm and 155 mm and successfully carried out the 127 mm qualification program agreed between Germany and Italy.

Qualification tests for VULCANO 155 mm according to the agreed program are close to completion. Compatibility with all 127 mm and 155 mm weapon systems is ensured.

The VULCANO 127/155 mm ammunition family is already being tested for operational use by the Italian Navy and artillery. Thus, the "vulcanization" of their 127 mm weapon systems, including fire command and ammunition programming, is completed. The fire command unit "pFCU" with the embedded fire command computation program "NABK" was successfully tested by the artillery for the Army ammunition V155mm and is used with its weapon systems FH70 and PzH2000.

The operational suitability test for VULCANO 127 mm on the German Navy's frigate F 125 is being planned. Integration of VULCANO 155 mm into the PzH2000 weapon system and another ammunition program for the German Army is currently being carried out for the German Army.

The VULCANO ammunition is designed to achieve extended ranges of 70 km for VULCANO 155 and 80 km for VULCANO 127 in conjunction with unique accuracy against stationary and moving targets.

The ammunition family reaches highest target accuracy through the unique combination of satellite-based navigation with laser- or infrared-sensors for terminal homing. This makes the VULCANO family the most accurate artillery ammunition for land and naval applications worldwide.

The powerful multi-role, insensitive high-explosive (IHE) warhead with pre-fragmented tungsten splinters is most effective against soft targets, vehicles, semi-armored vehicles, infrastructures and all typical infantry command posts.

VULCANO programming kits enable artillery platforms to fire VULCANO ammunition in an easy way. The kits allow either fully integrated or standalone operations. The embedded fire command computation program, NABK-M+, has been officially released.


bug2 - 29-10-2019 at 08:40 PM

Denmark purchases 4 additional Nexter CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled howitzer

Posted On Tuesday, 29 October 2019 09:02

Nexter, a KNDS company, European leader in land defense, announces the signing by the Danish Ministry of Defence Procurement and Logistics Organisation (DALO) of a contract for the delivery of 4 additional CAESAR 8x8.

The CAESAR 8x8 was showcased at Eurosatory 2018

The CAESAR 8x8 self-propelled artillery system, a heavy, protected and high payload capacity variant, completes the Nexter Group's self-propelled artillery range. It is equipped with the 155mm artillery gun, which is combat proven in French armed forces on CAESAR 6x6. Highly modular, the CAESAR 8x8 can carry up to 36 complete ammunition as well as a wide range of equipment according to operational needs (secondary weapons, electronic countermeasures, smoke, etc.). Its shielding offers a high level of ballistic and anti-mine protection (level 2A and 2B STANAG 4569) and anti-IED protection.

Finally, it has an automatic shell reloading system, whose speed can be configured according to the user's operating modes (semi-automatic to automatic).

Denmark had already signed a contract with Nexter on 22 May 2017 for the delivery of 15 CAESAR 8x8 systems, which will be delivered mid-2020 to the Danish forces. The strength of Nexter's offer lies both in the participation in the program of local players such as HYDREMA, WEIBEL or TEN CATE, and in the exceptional performance of CAESAR 8x8, selected on the basis of rigorous evaluations conducted in February 2017.

Nexter's artillery system thus perfectly meets Danish requirements for firepower, crew protection and high mobility.

On October 11, DALO signed a contract with Nexter to acquire 4 additional CAESAR 8x8. It is the result of two years of constant and fruitful exchanges between Danish and Nexter teams. In 2018, DALO had sent three officers to the Nexter stand at the Eurosatory exhibition to present its future equipment to visitors.

Nexter is delighted with this privileged relationship with Denmark, which is a testimony of the group's ability to establish constant and productive links with its customers and to best meet the needs and specifications requested.

CAESAR 8x8 is the ideal solution to meet the needs of armed forces interested in a mobile, reliable, combat proven and modular artillery system and is the subject of considerable interest in several European countries, Asia and the Middle East.

bug2 - 5-11-2019 at 09:54 AM

Indian Amy to get first Dhanush artillery regiment by March 2020

Posted On Monday, 04 November 2019 09:55

The Indian Army, which began inducting the indigenously upgraded 155mm Dhanush howitzers, will have the first regiment in place by March 2020 and will get all 114 guns by 2022, Army sources said. Dhanush is the indigenously upgraded variant of the Swedish Bofors gun imported in the 1980s. Dinakar Peri reports on The Hindu.

Dhanush 155mm howitzer (Picture source: Army Recognition)

“The first regiment of 18 guns will be in place by March 2020. We will get another 36 guns by March 2021 and another 40 by March 2022. The entire order for 114 guns will be completed by 2022,” an Army source said, reported by Dinakar Peri.

In April, the Ordnance Factory Board had handed over the first batch of six Dhanush guns. The Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur, received the Bulk Production Clearance to manufacture 114 guns from the Army on February 18, 2019. The Defence Ministry had stated earlier that indigenisation to the extent of about 81%, has “already been achieved” and, by the end of 2019, the level of indigenisation in the manufacture of the gun “will go up to 91%.”

Dhanush is a 155 mm/45-calibre towed artillery gun with a range of 36km. It has demonstrated a range of 38 km with specialised ammunition. It is an upgrade of the existing 155m/39 caliber Bofors FH 77 gun. The Army recently procured 155mm Excalibur precision-guided ammunition from Raytheon and BAE Systems able to perform artillery strikes at extended ranges. The ammunition can be used with all 155-mm artillery guns in the inventory.

The first phase of trials of Dhanush were conducted between July to September 2016 at Pokhran and Babina ranges. The second phase was conducted between October to December 2016 at Siachen base camp with three guns. The last round of user exploitation trials was completed with six guns in June 2018.

The gun is fitted with an inertial navigation system having GPS-based gun recording and auto-laying, an enhanced tactical computer for on-board ballistic computations, an on-board muzzle velocity recording, an automated gun sighting system equipped with camera, thermal imaging, and laser range finder.

After close to three decades, the Army inducted its first modern artillery guns system in November last year. These include M-777A2 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled howitzers.

bug2 - 14-11-2019 at 09:37 AM

Denel Artillery Reaches New Milestone

(Source: Denel; issued Nov 12, 2019)

Denel’s global leadership in long-range artillery was on display last week when record distances and unmatched accuracy were achieved during testing in the Northern Cape.

Long-range guns manufactured by Denel Land Systems (DLS) used ammunition produced by Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) to reach targets at an average range of 76.2km. The tests were conducted at the Alkantpan Test Range and witnessed by local and international military representatives, government agencies and defence industry observers.

Danie du Toit the Group CEO of Denel says this is a new milestone in long range artillery capability. The test results exceeded expectations, both in distances achieved and accuracy. It underscores Denel’s reputation in the design and manufacturing of world-class artillery and the manufacturing of ammunition which enables it to reach long-range targets with unrivalled precision.

The main artillery systems used during the testing were the G6-52 self-propelled and a German PZH2000 mounted gun. The ballistic system is based on the technology developed in the late 1990s and has been consistently improved over the past two decades.

“The artillery produced by Denel Land Systems is still considered to be the yardstick against which all other long-range systems are measured,” says du Toit. “With the latest tests we have raised the bar even further and I have no doubt that defence forces and potential customers will take note of our achievements.”

The projectiles used for the tests were V-LAP ammunition designed and manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel Munition for high-firing pressures and muzzle velocities.

Du Toit says the achievement demonstrates the ability of various divisions within the Denel group to produce a world leading ballistic system which is able to compete in the global defence industry.


bug2 - 19-11-2019 at 03:18 PM

D&S 2019: Thailand successfully indigenises artillery

18th November 2019 - 23:59 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Bangkok

Indigenously assembled Thai artillery pieces featured in a dynamic opening ceremony at the Defense & Security 2019 expo in Bangkok, underscoring ongoing success in Thai efforts to become more self-sufficient in terms of military equipment.

The two main indigenous products on display in the ceremony were both supported by technical expertise from Elbit Systems, with the Israeli company transferring technology that allows the 120mm Autonomous Truck-Mounted Mortar (ATMM) and 155mm Autonomous Truck-Mounted Gun (ATMG) to be built in Thailand.

LtCol Wichian Nawieng, project manager for Chankasem International, a Thai partner to Elbit Systems, said that 18 ATGMs have already been deployed by the Royal Thai Army (RTA). The partners are now assembling six additional ATGMs for the Royal Thai Marine Corps.

In 2020 production should commence on 18 ATGMs to equip a second RTA artillery battalion.

Tom Millin, programme manager for fire support systems at Elbit Systems, confirmed that the ATGM is based on his company’s Soltam ATMOS artillery solution. Elbit supplies the barrels and the armoured cabs for the Tatra trucks.

The ATGM employs a crew of six and 18 ammunition rounds are carried on board. Its maximum rate of fire is two rounds per minute. The RTA is looking at obtaining resupply vehicles with similar cross-country mobility as the Tatra 6x6 trucks used for the semiautomatic howitzers.

The Thai military expressed concerns that six Nexter CAESAR 155mm truck howitzers ordered in 2009 have suffered from difficulties in obtaining spare parts. Thus, when they break down, they can remain out of action for some time. The move to indigenise production should help alleviate the same thing happening with the ATGM and ATMM.

The ATMM employs Elbit Systems’ Spear recoil mortar, and Millin said the technology reduces the recoil from 120t to just 12t. This means the Tata LPTA 715C 4x4 truck chassis upon which they are carried is not strained by firing the Soltam mortar.

The ATMM is served by a four-man crew, and the mortar has a 6.5km range and ten rounds-per-minute rate of fire.

Ten ATMMs have been produced so far, with eight issued to a single mortar company. However, Nawieng predicted that more orders will follow. The 120mm system, which employs INS and GPS as well as back-up systems, does away with the need for survey teams and thus greatly speeds up deployment and firing.
The MoD’s Weapon Production Centre also plans to install 105mm gun barrels from M101 towed artillery howitzers onto 6x6 trucks.

bug2 - 28-11-2019 at 12:26 PM

Rheinmetall sets three new distance records for indirect fire in South Africa

Posted On Wednesday, 27 November 2019 14:30

At a test fire event on 6 November at the Alkantpan Test Range in South Africa, Rheinmetall demonstrated its extensive expertise in the world of indirect fire. In the presence of international partners and customers, the Düsseldorf, Germany-based defense contractor proved how new technologies can be used to boost the performance of systems that are already in extensive use around the world – those which meet the NATO standards set out in the Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU) as well as non-JBMoU systems.

Rheinmetall's live-fire tests in South Africa set three new distance records (Picture source: Rheinmetall)

During the event, three new maximum effective range records were set using various guns. A G6 howitzer with a 52-caliber gun achieved the longest range ever attained with a conventional 155mm artillery round: 76 kilometers, while the 52-caliber gun of PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer lobbed a shell 67 kilometers. Finally, a field howitzer with a 39-caliber gun attained a range of 54 kilometers.

Rheinmetall Waffe and Munition, Rheinmetall's center of excellence for cannon technology, showcased the self-propelled howitzer PzH 2000's main armament in action. Over the past decade, this 155mm weapons system has proven to be one of the world's most effective conventional artillery systems, capable of attaining the high rates of fire specified in the JBMoU.

Developed and manufactured by Denel Land Systems, the G6 used at the live-fire event was a new version designed to attain greater ranges in line with non-JBMoU standards.

Using the celebrated Assegai V-LAP shell is an example, modular upgrades of the artillery ammunition were on show at the event. The delegations could see for themselves the marked improvement in its performance with respect both to propulsion and range when fired from 39- and 52-caliber guns. Coupled with technologies from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition and Nitrochemie, Rheinmetall Denel Munition artillery shells exceed previous maximum effective ranges when fired from any conventional 155mm artillery system currently in use.

The maximum range of over 76 km was achieved with a non-JBMoU-compliant gun. This gun served as evidence of the feasibility of a new howitzer with a range of 83 km. Working in close cooperation with the German procurement authorities, Rheinmetall plans to develop and manufacture a new 155mm gun of this type, which will feature a significantly larger chamber and a longer, 60-calibre barrel. The gun should be able to fire existing JBMoU-compliant rounds as well as new ammunition families. On the one hand, these new ammunition types will be optimized with respect to stresses occurring in the new gun, but will also be able to be fired from legacy JBMoU-compliant guns.

Here, 83 kilometers serves as the benchmark, since the course correction fuse necessary for precision at these ranges reduces the attainable range by approximately ten percent. This means that the maximum effective range of 75 kilometers specified by the German procurement authorities is attainable.

Rheinmetall Norway's 120mm Ragnarok motor system and ammunition from RDM round out the Group's indirect fire profile.

This combination lends itself especially well to multipurpose vehicle applications with a rapid-fire capability. It also enables friendly forces to quickly evade counterbattery fire.

The event's host, the German-South African joint venture Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), welcomed participants from several NATO nations to the event in Northern Cape province on 6 November. As RDM managing director Jan-Patrick Helmsen explains, "Our goal is to be a true partner to the military. That's why transparent cooperation and trust are so important to us.

Tube artillery can provide defensive and offensive fire support. It's cheaper and faster than rockets or air support, can operate around the clock, and engage targets with great precision using indirect fire anywhere within its range. Of course, range has proved to be a limiting factor in recent years, giving rise to the need for increased operational reach." During the event, Jan-Patrick Helmsen noted that RDM has already been working to extend the range of artillery shells for some time now. "We're known for the Assegai family and our V-LAP round, the longest-range conventional artillery projectile. The combination of South African technology and German expertise has already resulted in enhanced range, effectiveness and precision. When it comes to artillery, Rheinmetall takes a totally holistic approach", declares Helmsen.

Rheinmetall's live-fire tests in South Africa set three new distance records (Picture source: Rheinmetall)

unicorn - 28-11-2019 at 02:20 PM

Was there any reason we never seriously looked at the G6, or just a bit of anti-SA chauvinism?

I note this model was commissioned by General Dynamics Land Systems, Australia a few years back.

Goknub - 28-11-2019 at 10:25 PM

From what I recall, there was a direct fire requirement that essentially eliminated all wheeled options. They couldn't operate as tanks in an emergency so they were out. A combination of DMO at its best and old school army thinking I would guess.

bug2 - 29-11-2019 at 07:53 PM

Brazil inducts BAE Systems M109A5+ self-propelled howitzers

Posted On Friday, 29 November 2019 08:29

The Brazilian Artillery conducted a live-fire demonstration of BAE Systems’ M109A5+ self-propelled howitzers, so indicating the introduction of the vehicles into service.

Live-fire demonstration of an M109A5+ self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Brazilian MoD)

BAE Systems was awarded a $54 million US Government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract in 2016 to provide 32 upgraded M109A5+ self-propelled howitzers to the Brazilian Army. As part of the contract, BAE Systems has provided the Brazilian Army with technological know-how and support through the lifecycle of the delivered vehicles. The Brazilian M109A5+ benefit from a digitized fire mission sequencing system, as well as enhanced position and navigation systems, commander’s display unit, digital radios and remotely actuated travel lock. Chile, with 12 units, is another operator of the M109A5+.

The M109 was developed by the Ground System Division of United Defense LP (now BAE Systems Land and Armaments). It was the medium variant of a U.S. program to adopt a common chassis for its self-propelled artillery units. The light version, the M108 Howitzer (105mm), was phased out during the Vietnam War, but many were rebuilt as M109s. The M109 saw its combat debut in Vietnam. Israel used the M109 against Egypt in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and in the 1982 and 2006 Lebanon Wars.

Iran used the M109 in the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s. The M109 saw service with the British, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian Armies in the 1991 Gulf War. The M109 also saw service with the U.S. Army in the Gulf War, as well as in the Iraq War from 2003–2011.

Upgrades to the cannon, ammunition, fire control, survivability, and other electronics systems over the design's lifespan have expanded the system's capabilities, including tactical nuclear projectiles, Cannon Launched Guided Projectiles (CLGP or Copperhead), Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP), FAmily of SCAtterable Mines (FASCAM), and improved conventional munitions (the Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition, DPICM).

bug2 - 30-11-2019 at 12:38 PM

Rheinmetall develops new long-range howitzer

Nicholas Fiorenza, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

29 November 2019

Rheinmetall plans to develop and manufacture a new 155 mm gun with a significantly larger chamber and longer, 60-calibre barrel, the company said in a 27 November press release.

Rheinmetall told Jane's on 28 November that the company was exploring the possibility of building such a weapon for a wheeled self-propelled howitzer for the Bundeswehr's Zukünftiges System Indirektes Feuer (Future Indirect Fire System).

A G6 self-propelled howitzer with a 52-calibre gun (background) achieved the longest range ever attained with a conventional 155mm artillery round by firing it 76 km, while a PzH 2000 52-calibre gun (foreground) fired a shell 67 km at the Alkantpan test range in South Africa on 6 November. (Rheinmetall)

The company said in its press release that it planned to work closely with the German procurement authorities on a gun able to fire existing rounds compliant with the NATO standards set out in the Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU) as well as new ammunition families. The new ammunition types will be optimised to withstand the stresses occurring in the new gun as well as being able to be fired from legacy JBMoU-compliant guns. The German procurement authorities have specified a maximum effective range of 75 km, according to Rheinmetall, which said it would use 83 km as the baseline as the course correction fuze necessary to achieve precision at these ranges reduces range by 10%.

The press release stated that Rheinmetall broke three maximum effective indirect fire range records during test firings at the Alkantpan test range in South Africa on 6 November. A new version of the Denel G6 howitzer with a 52-calibre gun achieved the longest range ever attained with a conventional artillery round by firing a non-JBMoU standard M9703 practice inert rocket assistance for enhanced range performance (V-LAP) 155 mm artillery round with a modified top charge over 76 km.

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bug2 - 30-11-2019 at 01:42 PM

155mm Artillery System Claims World Record: 76km

By Tamir Eshel -Nov 27, 2019

DM-52-2l gun fires 155mm Very Long Artillery Projectile (V-LAP) to a record range of 67 km. Photo: RDM

In a recent firing series held in South Africa, the German-South African joint-venture Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM) demonstrated a dramatic increase in the range of its artillery firepower. The demonstration employed three 155 mm cannons with 52 and 39 caliber lengths, which scored three world records – firing at ranges of 76, 67 and 54 km.

The South African G6 built by Denel scored the longest shot in those tests, firing to a range of 76 km, the longest shot ever scored by a 155mm cannon. To achieve this shot RDM used a Zone-6 charge to propel an inert M9703 Velocity Enhanced Long-Range Artillery Projectile (V-LAP). The G6 is not restricted by the NATO accepted Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU) and has a larger chamber, packing more propellant charge accelerating the Assegai to the longest range possible.

The propellant manufacturer Nitrochemie is preparing a new top-charge for this non-standard 25-liter chamber that could exploit the system’s dimensions to maximize performance. The new top-charge will be tested next year. The G6 is used by the South African Army, as well as the UAE and Oman.

Other shots used the NATO standard L52-23l cannon that was mounted on a firing rig. This is the same gun used by seven NATO countries on the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer. This gun lobbed 67 km range firing Rheinmetall Dennel’s Assegai M2005-V-LAP ammunition with a special top-charge produced by Nitrochemie. This top-charge complies with the gun’s JBMoU-compliant 23-liter gun chamber. PzH 2000 is one of the most common artillery systems in NATO, used by Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania, Croatia and Hungary. In 2015 Qatar became the first non-NATO as a PzH 2000 user.

Even the 155/39 mm scored an impressive shot reaching a range of 54 km firing the Assegai high explosive M2005-V-LAP, an unprecedented record for the system, that fires rocket-assisted rounds at much shorter ranges.

DM-52-23l mounted on a firing bench. Photo: RDM

The German-South African joint venture Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) hosted the event, welcoming participants from several NATO nations. “Our goal is to be a true partner to the military. That’s why transparent cooperation and trust are so important to us.” RDM Managing Director Jan-Patrick Helmsen said, “Tube artillery can provide defensive and offensive fire support. It’s cheaper and faster than rockets or air support, can operate around the clock, and engage targets with great precision using indirect fire anywhere within its range. Of course, range has proved to be a limiting factor in recent years, giving rise to the need for increased operational reach.” Helmsen added.

“We’re known for the Assegai family and our V- LAP round, the longest-range conventional artillery projectile. The combination of South African technology and German expertise has already resulted in enhanced range, effectiveness, and precision. When it comes to artillery, Rheinmetall takes a totally holistic approach”, Helmsen noted.

bug2 - 11-12-2019 at 11:18 AM

Dezamet and Mesko to supply ammunition to Polish army

Posted On Tuesday, 10 December 2019 15:29

The Polish Ministry of Defense has signed contracts for the supply of 155mm shells for the tracked self-propelled howitzer Krab, and 5.56mm and 9mm rounds for personal weapons, Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter on Dec. 9. The total value of the contracts is PLN 815 mln (EUR 191 Mn).

Krab 155mm self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The ammunition will be supplied by Polish Armaments Group's subsidiaries Dezamet and Mesko, the former based in Nowa Debia, south-east Poland, and the latter located in Skarzysko-Kamienna, south-central Poland, TheFirstNews reports.

The Defense Ministry has ordered 24,000 shells for the Krab self-propelled howitzers, and personal weapons ammunition rounds. The total value of the contract is EUR 191 Mn. The supply of the small-caliber ammunition will start by the end of this year.

At MSPO 2015 International Defence Industry Exhibition in Poland, the Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) had unveiled its Krab self-propelled howitzer armed with a 155mm/52 calibre gun. The Polish Company HSW S.A., which is the main contractor for the development of the new Krab, had signed an agreement with South Korea to produce a new tracked self-propelled howitzer based on the South Korean K9 chassis produced by Doosan. The armament is based on the AS90 Braveheart. Under the contract, AS90 Braveheart turrets were supplied to HSW for integration into the Krab for the Polish Army.

bug2 - 12-12-2019 at 10:03 AM

This is the XM-1299, the new Super-gun for extra long-range rounds and artillery support, under-going trials as we speak. She's not small that's fer sure!!!

bug2 - 16-12-2019 at 10:10 PM

Analysis: M1299 155mm 58 caliber tracked self-propelled howitzer Extended Range Cannon Artillery

Posted On Saturday, 14 December 2019 11:37

The next generation of US Army tracked self-propelled howitzer is the M1299 based on the M109 series, the new 155mm 58 caliber howitzer was unveiled on the booth of BAE Systems during AUSA 2019, the Association of United States Army Exhibition and Conference which takes place every year in Washington D.C.

M1299 155 mm 58 caliber tracked self-propelled howitzer of US Army program Extended Range Cannon Artillery ERCA at the booth of BAE Systems at AUSA Association of United States Army Exhibition, October 2019. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In July 2019, the U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a $45 million contract for the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) Increment 1 prototype with the purpose of increasing the range and rate of fire on current and future M109A7 self-propelled howitzers. The development program aims to provide the warfighter with extended range while maintaining the weight found in current systems to minimize performance impacts on the chassis. Under separate contracts, BAE Systems is also developing precision guidance kits with anti-jamming capabilities (PGK-AJ) that can operate in the challenging ERCA firing environment. PGK-AJ is compatible with existing and new long-range rounds for multiple firing platforms, including the M109 self-propelled howitzer.

The M1299 is part of the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA gun) program of US Army to increase the range and rate of fire on current and future M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

Compared to its predecessors, the M1299 artillery system is receiving two leading-edge technologies: new XM1113 rocket-boosted shell and a longer 58 caliber tube, which increases the range from 38 km to 70 km+, and 100 km within the forthcoming four years.

During a firing test Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in March 2019, the M1299 gun nailed targets with pinpoint accuracy at a range of 62 kilometers, offering a greater range compared to the M109A7 Paladin which has maximum firing range of 30 km and for 40 km with the M982 Excalibur guided artillery shell for the M777 light towed howitzers.

The M1299 is based on the tracked chassis of the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer that is produced since 2018. However, the M1299 can be seen as a fully new artillery system fitted with a new turret, new chassis, new XM907 cannon, new XM 208 gun mount, new automatic ammunition handling system, as well as many other new systems. According to BAE Systems, the M1299 is developed to provide extended firing range while minimizing impact to system weight and performance impact on the tracked chassis.

The M1299 tracked self-propelled howitzer has a fully-automatic ammunition loading system. It loads both projectiles and charges. This automatic loading system increased the rate of fire from 3 Rounds Per Minute (RPM) on the M109A7 to 10 rpm.

The M1299 continues the use of 155 mm caliber of ammunition but it will use new XM1113 rocket-assisted artillery projectiles.

In June 2019, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) awarded a contract for Prototype and Process Development for the 155mm XM1113 Rocket-Assisted Projectile (RAP) round. GD-OTS is partnered with American Ordnance, Nammo-Talley, and SAVIT in the United States.

The XM1113 RAP uses rocket technology to deliver greater thrust to the round when compared to its predecessor, the legacy M549A1. This will enable current U.S. Field Artillery 155mm Systems to fire the XM1113 RAP to a range of 40 kilometers, a 30% increase from the M549A1. When fired from the planned future Extended Range Artillery Cannon (ERCA), the XM1113 will achieve ranges out to 70 kilometers. The XM1113 RAP round aligns with the U.S. Army’s modernization initiative under the Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) Cross-Functional Team.

The XM1115 is another new guided projectile that will be used by the M1299 that takes into account modern threats and provides guidance without using GPS data. This will allow hitting targets with high precision in the application of enemy electronic warfare and satellite signals.

The M1299 tracked self-propelled howitzer will be operated by a crew of 4, including commander, gunner, loader and driver. The M1299 is based on the M1097A7 tracked chassis sharing engine, transmission, tracks and some other components with M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. Such commonality allows to reduce production, operating and maintenance costs. The M1299 is powered by a Cummins diesel engine developing 600 hp.

bug2 - 16-12-2019 at 10:14 PM

BAE Systems modification contract to deliver M109A7 self-propelled howitzers to US Army

Posted On Sunday, 15 December 2019 14:13

BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP, York, Pennsylvania, was awarded by U.S. Army a $249,152,760 modification to contract W56HZV-17-C-0001 for the Self-Propelled Howitzer and carrier, ammunition, tracked vehicles and their associated support under the production contract to build and deliver M109A7s and M992A3s.

M109A7 155mm self-propelled howitzer (Picture source BAE Systems)

In December 2017, The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract that clears the path to begin full-rate production of the company’s M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer and M992A3 ammunition carrier vehicles. BAE Systems will initially produce 48 vehicle sets, with the options calling for 60 sets per year for approximately three years of deliveries thereafter during full-rate production.

The M109A7 is the latest howitzer in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, the primary indirect fire support system for the ABCTs. It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6 and replaces the vehicle’s chassis components with modem components common to the Bradley vehicle. The improved chassis structure provides greater survivability and commonality with the existing systems in the ABCT, reducing operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.

The M109A7 is supported by the Army as a vital technology enhancement program to maintain the combat capability of its ABCTs. The M109A7 will solve long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 family of vehicles through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages the most advanced technology available today. This state-of-the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability provide a more robust, survivable and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers.

The M109A7 artillery system is armed with a 155mm M284 cannon with an M182A1 gun mount and an automated loader.

The 155 mm artillery system can fire at a sustained rate of one round a minute whereas the maximum rate of fire is four rounds a minute. The system has a range of 22 km with standard projectiles and 30 km with rocket-assisted projectiles.

The self-propelled howitzer can also be equipped with fire precision munitions, including the Excalibur and the precision guidance kit.

bug2 - 19-12-2019 at 09:30 AM

Portuguese Army seeks new 155 mm howitzer

Victor Barreira, Istanbul - Jane's Defence Weekly

18 December 2019

The Portuguese Army is considering procuring a new 155 mm artillery system to replace its M114A1 towed howitzers, an army staff source told Jane’s on 11 December. EUR18 million (USD20 million) has been allocated for the effort in the Portuguese 2019–2030 Military Programming Law.

Towed lightweight and truck-mounted self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) are options to replace 18 M114A1 155 mm/23-calibre howitzers fielded by the Intervention Brigade’s field artillery group and which entered service in 1983. SPHs are the preferred solution, according to the source.

Requirements for the future 155 mm artillery system include a ballistic computer and a link to an artillery command-and-control system.

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bug2 - 20-12-2019 at 04:36 PM

BAE Systems Receives Order from U.S. Army for Additional M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzers

(Source: BAE Systems; issued Dec 18, 2019)

The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a $249 million contract modification to complete an additional 60 M109A7 self-propelled howitzers that will bring improved artillery capabilities to the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).

“We are excited about the opportunity to continue bringing new howitzers and increased survivability to our soldiers,” said Jeremy Tondreault, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems Combat Vehicles. “The M109A7 positions the Army to execute its current mission with confidence and support its future needs and requirements as long range precision fires evolve.”

The award exercises options on an existing low-rate production contract and includes the completion of an additional 60 M992A3 Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT) vehicles to accompany the M109A7.

The M109A7 and the CAT vehicle sets provide increased commonality across the ABCT, and have significant built-in growth potential in terms of electrical power and weight carrying capacity. The vehicle design includes a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system, a new high voltage architecture and improved survivability, while the vehicle’s cannon remains the same as that of an M109A6 Paladin.

The M109A7 is supported by the Army as a vital technology enhancement program to maintain the combat capability of its ABCTs. It will solve long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 family of vehicles through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages the most advanced technology available today. This state-of-the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability provides a more robust, survivable, and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers. The M109A7 is a significant upgrade over the M109A6 as it restores space, weight, and power cooling, while providing significant growth potential for emerging technologies.

The initial contract was awarded in 2017. This most recent order brings the total number of vehicle sets — M109A7 howitzers and M992A3 ammunition carriers — to 156, and the total contract value to $1.16 billion.

Work on the M109A7 will take place at several facilities within the Company’s combat vehicles manufacturing network including: Aiken, South Carolina; Elgin, Oklahoma; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and, York, Pennsylvania.


bug2 - 24-12-2019 at 09:05 PM

Pakistan to procure 236 SH-15 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers from China

Posted On Tuesday, 24 December 2019 09:36

According to news released on December 24, 2019, on the website News Nation, Pakistan will procure 236 SH-15 155 mm 6x6 wheeled self-propelled howitzers from China.

Chinese-made SH-15 155mm 6x6 wheeled self-propelled howitzer at AirShow China in Zhuhai, November 2018. (Picture source Army Recognition)

For many years, Pakistani armed forces are in the process to strengthen its artillery capability, especially with a new more mobile artillery solution. According to the SIPRI Arms Transfer Database, Pakistan has already purchased 36 SH1 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers from Chine in 2013-2014.

In November 2018, during IDEAS, the International Defense Exhibition in Karachi, Chinese Company NORINCO China North Industries Group Corporation Limited has presented its latest generation of 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer named SH15. This is a new artillery vehicle that was unveiled during AirShow China in November 2018.

Currently, the Pakistani army operates the M109A5, a tracked self-propelled howitzer manufactured by the United States but Pakistan would continue the modernization of its artillery force with new wheeled artillery systems. For the Pakistani Army, the ideal might be to procure an even lighter weapon, one that can be carried by its utility helicopters using an external sling.

The SH15 is a new Chinese-made wheeled self-propelled howitzer based on 6x6 Shaanxi truck chassis with an armored cabin at the front and one 155 mm gun-howitzer mounted at the rear of the truck. This new howitzer is protected against the firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters. The crew cab has two large bulletproof windows at the front and there are two doors on each side.

The SH15 has a maximum firing range of 20 km with standard ammunition and 53 km with a rocket-assisted artillery projectile. This artillery vehicle can be operated by a crew of five. According to some military sources, the vehicle will have a maximum weight of 22 tons.

bug2 - 24-12-2019 at 09:07 PM

Unless this SPH has air-suspension, there is NOT a hell of a lot of ground clearance underneath the vehicle?

Of course this makes them another few Billion in debt to China.

unicorn - 27-12-2019 at 02:46 PM

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money.

How much is sovereignty worth anyway?

bug2 - 27-12-2019 at 10:07 PM

Boeing lands remanufacturing deal for Dutch, UAE, and UK Apaches

By Greg Waldron27 December 2019

Boeing has secured a $565 million contract to remanufacture AH-64D Apache attack helicopters operated by three countries into the more advanced “E” variant.

The work will cover 47 helicopters, according to a Boeing statement.

Source: Boeing
The Boeing AH-64E Apache

The Boeing statement did not name the customers or break down the precise number to be remanufactured for each, but a 18 December notification on a US Department of Defence (DoD) website indicates that the three countries are the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The US Army is the contracting authority under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

Boeing will remanufacture the rotorcraft in Mesa, Arizona with an estimated completed date of 1 March 2025.

Cirium fleets data indicates that the three countries operate a total of 108 AH-64Ds, with an average age of 19.6 years. The UK operates 50 (with 16 examples in storage), the Netherlands 28, and the UAE 30.

The UK also has orders for 38 AH-64Es, while the UAE has orders for 10.

In May 2017, the US DoD announced that 38 of the UK’s AH-64s would be remanufactured into the “’E” variant.

In September 2018, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced a letter of agreement with the Netherlands for a $1.19 billion upgrade deal covering its 28 Apaches.

As part of its purchase of new build AH-64Es, the UAE had requested the upgrade of 28 AH-64Ds to the “E” variant.

“More allied defense forces worldwide are selecting the AH-64E Apache because they know it provides the most advanced technology and capability to keep their nations safe and secure today and well into the future,” says Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs at Boeing.

“The Apache continues to be the most proven and reliable attack helicopter on the battlefield today.”

In addition, on 23 December the US Army awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion FMS contract for the sustainment of AH-64D/E helicopters operated by Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

ARH - 27-12-2019 at 10:39 PM

Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Boeing lands remanufacturing deal for Dutch, UAE, and UK Apaches

By Greg Waldron27 December 2019

Boeing has secured a $565 million contract to remanufacture AH-64D Apache attack helicopters operated by three countries into the more advanced “E” variant.

The work will cover 47 helicopters, according to a Boeing statement.

Source: Boeing
The Boeing AH-64E Apache

The Boeing statement did not name the customers or break down the precise number to be remanufactured for each, but a 18 December notification on a US Department of Defence (DoD) website indicates that the three countries are the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The US Army is the contracting authority under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

Boeing will remanufacture the rotorcraft in Mesa, Arizona with an estimated completed date of 1 March 2025.

Cirium fleets data indicates that the three countries operate a total of 108 AH-64Ds, with an average age of 19.6 years. The UK operates 50 (with 16 examples in storage), the Netherlands 28, and the UAE 30.

The UK also has orders for 38 AH-64Es, while the UAE has orders for 10.

In May 2017, the US DoD announced that 38 of the UK’s AH-64s would be remanufactured into the “’E” variant.

In September 2018, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced a letter of agreement with the Netherlands for a $1.19 billion upgrade deal covering its 28 Apaches.

As part of its purchase of new build AH-64Es, the UAE had requested the upgrade of 28 AH-64Ds to the “E” variant.

“More allied defense forces worldwide are selecting the AH-64E Apache because they know it provides the most advanced technology and capability to keep their nations safe and secure today and well into the future,” says Kathleen Jolivette, vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs at Boeing.

“The Apache continues to be the most proven and reliable attack helicopter on the battlefield today.”

In addition, on 23 December the US Army awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion FMS contract for the sustainment of AH-64D/E helicopters operated by Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

That's one mighy fine piece of artillery...:no:

ADMK2 - 28-12-2019 at 12:51 PM

Just what Army needs. What it should have got under AIR-87 (in the -D model of the time) could have had an MLU in the 2010-2015 to Longbow standard and then a local remanufacturing deal (perhaps in conjunction with Singapore’s -D models for numbers reasons) to -E Block III standard in the 2025 timeframe and we’d have had a world class, deployable attack helo capability for the last 15 years and the next 25...

Sigh. So needless to say, of course we didn’t follow that path... All those jewbs at Australian Aerospace in Brisbane were important though.

How are they going today, btw Mr Howard?

unicorn - 28-12-2019 at 07:29 PM

We'd be better off getting Cobra's, for amphibious use, something Tiger is useless for, and Apache isn't much better.

bug2 - 31-12-2019 at 02:27 PM

Hanwha Defense awarded contract for additional K55A1 SPHs for RoKA

Gabriel Dominguez, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

30 December 2019

Hanwha Defense announced on 30 December that it was awarded a USD119 million contract for the production for the fifth batch of K55A1s for the RoKA. Source: Hanwha Defense

South Korean company Hanwha Defense announced on 30 December that it has been awarded a KRW137.4 billion (USD119 million) contract for the production of the fifth batch of K55A1155 mm tracked self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

The company stated that the contract, which was signed with South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), is expected to be completed by 30 October 2022, according to local media.

The number of K55A1s set to be handed over to RoKA under the latest contract was not disclosed.

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ADMK2 - 31-12-2019 at 04:04 PM

Quote: Originally posted by unicorn  
We'd be better off getting Cobra's, for amphibious use, something Tiger is useless for, and Apache isn't much better.

Apache is good enough. The one single role Cobra has that is better than the other contenders, doesn’t outweigh the capability disadvantages it has against Apache.

Tiger shouldn’t even be in the same conversation...

bug2 - 4-1-2020 at 02:49 PM

BAE to Get Green Light for $10 Billion Howitzer Project (excerpt)

(Source: Bloomberg News; published Jan. 02, 2020))

By Tony Capaccio

BAE Systems Plc will win U.S. Army approval this month for full-rate production of self-propelled howitzers and ammunition carriers based on improvements in the $10 billion program after several years of delays over welding defects.

“BAE has met all requirements to enter into full-rate production and we anticipate that happening” during January, Sam Tricomo, a spokesman for the weapon’s Army program office, said in an email.

The company had been assembling the weapons system since October 2013 under a series of low-rate production contracts during which it produced the vehicles late and with numerous welding defects.

Deliveries were halted for six months in 2017 because of welding flaws that required the return for repairs of 50 of 86 vehicles already delivered. Since then, London-based BAE has invested $200 million in improvements at its factory in York, Pennsylvania, and delivered quality vehicles consistently in the last months of 2019, according to the Army.

“To ensure no break in vehicle production” at the York facility and another in Elgin, Oklahoma, the Army last month extended low-rate production, Tricomo said. “Our confidence in BAE’s ability to deliver has increased month after month as we have seen continuous improvement in quality vehicles at increased production rates.” (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Bloomberg website.


bug2 - 7-1-2020 at 04:38 PM

Indian Army will induct 145 M777 towed howitzers and 100 K9 self-propelled howitzers in 2020

Posted On Monday, 06 January 2020 19:09

In 2020, the Indian Army will continue its induction of 145 air-mobile M777 howitzers from BAE Systems and 100 K9 Vajra 155 mm/52 caliber self-propelled tracked howitzers from South Korea.

Indian Army K9 Vajra 155 mm/52 caliber self-propelled tracked howitzer at DefExpo exhibition in 2018. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/52 is a tracked self-propelled howitzer that features some technical specifications to respond to the needs of the Indian Army. The main weapon of the K9 Thunder consists of one 155mm / 52 caliber gun able to fire standard M107 high-explosive (HE) projectile. It is compatible with standard NATO 155-mm ammunition. The maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE projectile and 40 km with a rocket-assisted projectile.

The K9 self-propelled howitzer has a crew of five, consisting of commander, driver, gunner, assistant gunner, and loader. The hull and the turret are made of all-welded steel armor to provide protection against the firing of small arms and shell splinters.

In January 2017, BAE Systems received a $542m contract from the US Department of Defense to provide 145 M777 howitzers to the Indian Army. The 155mm, 39 Caliber Ultra light Howitzers have been procured from the United States under Government to Government Foreign Military Sales and will be assembled in India by BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence.

The Indian Army received its first shipment of two M777 light towed howitzers on May 18, 2017, in New Delhi from the United States ready to be used.

In December 2019, the Indian Army has for the first time test-fired M982 Excalibur precision-guided, extended-range artillery projectiles from M777 155 mm 39-caliber towed ultra-light howitzer guns. A total of 7 artillery regiments are planned to be equipped with 18 guns. The first regiment is planned to be raised by end-2020 with 15 guns supplied by BAE systems and three guns supplied by Mahindra Defense Systems Limited.

U.S. Marines with India Battery, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, load an M777 howitzer during exercise Steel Knight (SK20) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 8, 2019. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

bug2 - 11-1-2020 at 01:02 PM

Russia’s 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV SPH completes preliminary trials

Samuel Cranny-Evans, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

10 January 2020

Russia’s 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV SPH (pictured at Army 2018) has completed its preliminary company trials. Source: Jane’s/Mark Cazalet

The first batch of Russia's 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV 152 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) has completed its preliminary company trials ahead of factory tests and official trials with the Russian Ground Forces, the Ministry of Defence's TV Zvezda reported on 31 December.

The report states that the SPH's 2A88 152 mm/L52 gun was tested in four stages: the first "warm-up" shot, followed by two fired with enhanced charges, after which the howitzer fired four to eight rounds at a single target.

An experimental batch of four vehicles has been produced by UralTransMash, a subsidiary of UralVagonZavod (UVZ). UVZ's 2018 annual report stated that development of the 2S35's component parts had been completed, although the TASS news agency reported in 2015-17 that the system would be in service by 2017.

The 2S35 is expected to replace the 2S19 Msta-S SPH in Russian service, TV Zvezda reported. In a documentary on the vehicle, the channel claims that it has a maximum rate of fire of 16 rds/min and a range of 70 km with rocket-assisted ammunition.

The SPH is fitted with an automatic loading system allowing a high rate of fire, as well as a water-cooling system that sprays the breech of the gun between shots. As with the T-14 Armata main battle tank, the crew of three is seated abreast at the front of the hull, leaving the turret uninhabited.

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bug2 - 17-1-2020 at 02:03 PM

L&T delivers over half of K9 Vajra-T SPHs to Indian Army ahead of schedule

Rahul Bedi, New Delhi - Jane's Defence Weekly

16 January 2020

L&T has delivered more than half of the 100 K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 cal tracked SPHs ordered by the IA ahead of schedule. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited L&T’s Armoured System Complex on 16 January. Source: Indian MoD

India's private-sector defence contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has delivered ahead of schedule more than half of the 100 K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 cal tracked self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) ordered by the Indian Army (IA).

The company handed over the 51st Vajra-T, which is a variant of the Hanwha Defense K9 Thunder SPH, to Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 16 January at L&T's Armoured System Complex (ASC) facility in the western coastal town of Hazira in the state of Gujarat.

In an official statement L&T claimed that the SPH, like the 50 howitzers before it, was delivered to the IA before the stipulated schedule in keeping with the INR43.66 billion (USD615.70 million) contract awarded by India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) in mid-2017.

The contract requires L&T to complete delivery of all 100 K9 Vajra-Ts to the IA by the end of 2020: a deadline that company officials said will "in all likelihood" be met ahead of schedule.

The contract also includes an engineering support package comprising spares, documentation, training, and maintenance transfer of technology to IA workshops to support the SPHs for their entire service life.

The K9 Vajra-T formally entered service with the IA in late 2018.

Company officials said the SPH incorporates 50% indigenous content that involved sourcing about 13,000 components per howitzer from some 500 local manufacturers.

The Mumbai-based company claims to have developed 14 systems for the K9 Vajra-T, including its fire- control, direct -fire, and ammunition handling systems, as well as its auxiliary power packs, air-conditioning, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection gear.

Powered by a German-made 1,000 hp MTU MT 881 Ka-500 V8 water-cooled diesel engine and driven by a fully automatic US-origin Allison transmission, the 47-tonne K9 is operated by a five-man crew and is capable of firing assorted projectiles to ranges between 18 and 40 km.

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bug2 - 22-1-2020 at 07:37 PM

Ukraine trials 2S22 Bogdana wheeled artillery

Mikhail Zhirohov, Kiev - Jane's International Defence Review

21 January 2020

A prototype of the 155 mm 2S22 Bogdana is shown during an Independence Day parade. The system is slated to undergo trials until mid-2020 and could be in service one or two years later. Source: Mikhail Zhirokhov

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has started trials of the 2S22 Bogdana, a wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH) armed with a 155 mm ordnance. The first trials were conducted with wooden blocks, as opposed to a munition, which is designed to test whether the barrel can handle the necessary pressures.

The first trials are expected to be completed by mid-2020, at which point there will be state-run tests. Adoption within the Ukrainian Army is not expected until 2021-22, according to Ukrinform, Ukraine's national news agency.

Development was initiated following the combat experienced by Ukrainian units facing separatists and Russian forces in 2015. The first prototype was presented in 2018 during the August Independence Day Parade.

Testing was delayed by a lack of ammunition, but in October 2019 state-owned company Spetstechnoexport imported a batch of 155 mm artillery shells from Turkish company Makina Ve Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu (MKEK). This purchase enabled the initial trials of the Bogdana to start in December 2019.

Subsequently, it became known that the new project was financed under the State Defense Order. The prime contractor is the Kramatorsk Heavy Duty Machine Tool Building Plant (KZTS), which is responsible for the 155 mm ordnance, although 10 other Ukrainian companies are involved. KZTS has only recently become involved in defence manufacturing.

At the October 2019 Arms and Security exhibition in Ukraine, KZTS revealed that the vehicle is based on a KrAZ-63221 6×6 truck chassis, and its gross vehicle weight is 28 tons. It is crewed by five personnel and carries a ballistic calculator and automatic gun laying system that is powered by the Siemens SIPLUS automated data driver. The data from the ballistic computer is displayed on Siemens's SIMATIC displays. A navigation system is built in, which enables the vehicle to establish its own location and conduct engagements with greater speed.

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bug2 - 23-1-2020 at 12:34 PM

155mm Sharang howitzer to be inducted into Indian Army by March end

Posted On Wednesday, 22 January 2020 13:33

The first batch of 18 indigenously upgraded ‘Sharang’ artillery guns will be inducted into the Army by March 31 this year, Programme Coordinator (Sharang) Brigadier Jayant Kar said on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

155mm "Sharang" howitzer displayed at DefExpo India 2018 near Chennai (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Brigadier Jayant Kar said that the gun, upgraded from 130mm to 155mm with a striking range extended from 27 to 39 kilometres, had successfully gone through integrated firing check on different elevations ranging from 0 to 45 degrees on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Long Proof Range of Ordnance Factory Khamaria, 16 kilometers from Jabalpur district headquarters. The up-gradation work was carried out by the GCF with the help of the state-owned ordnance factories, and teams from the Army and DRDO.

Brigadier Jayant Kar said the Vehicle Factory Jabalpur (VFJ) has been tasked to assemble 12 Sharang gun systems. These guns will also be equipped with night vision sensors which will allow the armed forces to target the enemy at night.

The 155 mm Sharang gun is an upgraded version of a Soviet-era 130 mm/52 calibre M-46 field gun.

bug2 - 24-1-2020 at 12:00 PM

BAE Systems Bofors begins trials for HX2-based Archer

Christopher F Foss, London - Jane's International Defence Review

23 January 2020

An Archer 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery system based on a RMMV HX2 8×8 platform. Source: BAE Systems Bofors

A Swedish BAE Systems Bofors Archer 155 mm/52 artillery system integrated onto a German Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) HX2 (8×8) platform – aimed at the export market – has begun initial firing trials at the Bofors Test Center in Karlskoga, Sweden, the company told Jane’s.

To meet potential export customer requirements, BAE Systems Bofors integrated the complete Archer elevating mass with 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance and its associated automatic ammunition handling system onto the rear of a RMMV HX2 truck. The Archer stabilisers are also fitted and are lowered to the ground on either side before firing.

“By basing Archer on a Rheinmetall MAN Military HX2 8×8 platform, it will appeal to a wider potential export customer market,” said Ulf Einefors, director for marketing and sales at BAE Systems Bofors.

The 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance has a double baffle muzzle brake and is laid onto the target from the cab by remote control. It is coupled to an onboard computerised fire control system (FCS) that can receive information direct from the forward observer or from a battery command post, according to BAE Systems Bofors.

A muzzle velocity radar is also fitted and feeds information to the FCS. A Global Positioning System supported inertial navigation system provides for accurate navigation and positioning information to the FCS.

Elevation limits of the 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance are from -1° to 70°, with a traverse of 85° left and right.

Its range depends on the projectile/charge combination, but BAE Systems Bofors said its maximum ranges were: 30,000 m for high-explosive (HE), 40,000 m for HE extended-range (HE ER), 35,000 m for Bonus top attack, and 50,000 m for M982 Excalibur. All of those rounds have been qualified.

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bug2 - 25-1-2020 at 01:49 PM

Vietnam has developed wheeled self-propelled howitzer using M101 105mm towed gun

Posted On Friday, 24 January 2020 16:40

Vietnam has developed a wheeled self-propelled howitzer based on Russian truck and US-made M101 105mm towed howitzer mounted a the rear of Ural-375D truck chassis. Today, many armies in the world make the choice to use wheeled self-propelled howitzer to replace towed and tracked artillery weapon systems.

Vietnamese Army 105 mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source Twitter)

The greatest tactical advantage in the case of wheeled self-propelled artillery guns is clearly the greater degree of mobility they have compared to towed artillery. Not only is it important in offering military forces greater flexibility, but it is critical in avoiding an attack from the enemy (counter-battery fire) by allowing the guns to change position immediately after firing one or more salvos and before their position can be located.

The new Vietnamese self-propelled howitzer uses an old type of towed howitzer and truck to reduce costs and produce locally a weapon which response to the request of Vietnamese armed forces.

The Ural-375 is a general-purpose 4.5-ton 6×6 truck, produced at the Ural Automotive Plant in the Russian SFSR since 1961. It has a curb weight of 8,400 kg with a maximum payload of 4,500 kg. It can run at a maximum road speed of 76 km/h.

The 105 mm M101A1 is a towed howitzer developed and used in the past by the United States Army. The M101 fires its own range of 105mm ammunition. The maximum range is 11.5 km with standard ammunition and 15.1 km with rocket-assisted ammunition. The maximum rate of fire is 10 rounds per minute, which is reduced to 3 rpm during sustained fire.

The M101 uses a two-wheel split trail carriage. The 22-caliber 105mm gun uses a hydropneumatic recoil mechanism and has no muzzle brake. A metal shield protects the crew of 8 against small arms fire and shell splinters over the frontal arc.

bug2 - 25-1-2020 at 03:48 PM

Army picks 6 to work on autoloader for extended-range cannon

By: Jen Judson   7 hours ago

Extended Range Cannon Artillery, or ERCA, will be an improvement to the latest version of the Paladin self-propelled howitzer that provides indirect fires for the brigade combat team and division-level fight. The Army is working to develop an autoloader for the cannon to be fielded by 2024 and has turned to non-traditional companies to solve that big problem. (Photo by Edward Lopez/U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — The Army has picked six companies to work on concepts and designs for an autoloader for the service’s future Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program currently under development, according to a Jan. 24 Army Futures Command statement.

While the first ERCA cannons will be fielded in fiscal 2023, the goal is to begin fielding the system with an autoloader just one year later.

The companies — Actuate (formerly Aegis Systems, Inc.); Apptronik, Inc.; Carnegie Robotics LLC; Pratt & Miller Engineering; Neya Systems, LLC and Hivemapper, Inc. — will work under the Army Capability Accelerator and the Army Applications Laboratory (AAL) as part of the Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply (FAAR) “cohort” and will come up with novel, outside-of-the-box concepts for the autoloader.

AAL is part of AFC, the Army’s new four-star command in charge of rapid modernization that will align with the service’s new developing doctrine.

The cohort began work on Jan. 13 in Austin, Texas, where the AAL and AFC reside, and will wrap up work with capability presentations on April 2, the statement notes.

“Sourced from across the country, the selected companies represent a range of technologies and expertise all aimed at developing autonomous resupply capabilities,” the statement reads.

Among the companies selected, Actuate specializes in artificial intelligence focusing on computer vision software that turns any security camera into an “intruder- and threat-detecting smart camera," the release states.

Apptronik is a robotics company spun out of the Human Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.

Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Robotics specializes in robotic sensors and platforms for defense, agriculture, mining, infrastructure and energy applications and was founded out of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center.

Pratt & Miller’s focus has been on addressing technology challenges in the motorsports, defense and mobility industries.

Neya Systems, also from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is another robotics company focused on advanced unmanned systems, off-road autonomy and self-driving vehicle technologies.

Through mapping, visualization and analytic tools, Hivemapper uncovers changes normally missed by the human eye and uses that technology to assess damage after disasters, manage construction and build situational intelligence during military operations.

The AAL has become the face of doing business with the Army in the startup community and has set up shop in the heart of Austin within an innovation incubator hub called the Capital Factory. Anyone can walk through an open garage door and pitch ideas to the Army and the service. But the Army is also going out to companies and trying to convey problems they need solved on the battlefield in the hopes of finding new and novel solutions.

“Designed for small businesses and companies that don’t typically work with the federal government, the program connects qualified companies that want to grow a new line of business into the DoD with Army stakeholders who want to speed capability development, transition to a program of record, or de-risk and inform requirements,” according to the statement.

“We’ve spent the past year working to introduce commercial business models that translate to the Army and can help evolve its approach to capability development,” Porter Orr, product innovation lead at AAL, said. “We’re helping nontraditional companies build a new line of business into the government. And that’s important, but it’s just as important that we’re giving Army leaders a choice between writing a large check or doing nothing.

This is a way for them to get more insight—more confidence—in a solution before purchasing it. That will mean a higher probability of success in the field.”

Cohort participants receive $150,000 to complete a 12-week program ending in a pitch to the Army.

FAAR is the pilot effort of likely many attempts to bring in non-traditional businesses to help solve some of the Army’s problems both big and small.

bug2 - 28-1-2020 at 04:56 PM

Artillery Seeks Robot Ammo Haulers

Six companies got $150,000 Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply contracts to study everything from exoskeletons that strengthen human ammo handlers to robots that might replace them.

By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

on January 27, 2020 at 4:33 PM

UPDATED to clarify contract details WASHINGTON: After 100 years of hauling and handling 100-pound howitzer shells by hand, Army gunners are about to get some high-tech help. Last week, representatives from six small and mid-size tech companies trudged through the mud with soldiers at Fort Bliss, Tex., so they could watch close-up as troops moved 155 mm shells from pallets to their M109 Paladins. The six firms are under 12-week, $150,000 contracts to refine their ideas to augment or replace human muscle at every stage of the loading process, part of the Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply (FAAR) initiative run by Austin-based Army Futures Command.

“For every projectile that goes down range, that projectile is picked up no less than five different times by a soldier and moved manually – and each one of those projectiles is 100 pounds,” Maj. Chris Isch told the Army’s in-house news service.

“We are looking for ways to automate that as much as possible.”

Robotic logistics, from self-driving supply trucks to AI predicting engine breakdowns, lacks the ominous glamour of so-called killer robots. But the sheer complexity of identifying friend or foe amidst the chaos of combat, and deep-rooted Pentagon policy on human control of lethal force, mean that autonomous weapons will take much longer to develop than autonomous supply and support systems, some of which are already in field-tests.

That said, Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply would definitely mark the Army more deadly. Artillery historically kills more troops than any other branch, and after years of letting Russia pull ahead in range and volume of fire, the Army is urgently upgrading its guns. The service’s No. 1 modernization priority is what it calls Long-Range Precision Fires, and while hypersonics and post-INF Treaty missiles have dominated the headlines, the LRPF portfolio also includes conventional howitzers. The Army had already begun upgrading the hull and automotive systems of its venerable M109 armored howitzer vehicle under its Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program. Now it’s looking to upgrade the gun and turret under what’s called Extended Range Cannon Artillery.

M109A7 Paladin fires during a test in Yuma, Arizona

A New Beast To Feed

Between a longer barrel, precision guidance and new rocket-boosted shells, ERCA has already doubled the Paladin’s range, from 30 km (19 miles) to 62 km (39 miles) in test-shots at Yuma Proving Ground. The goal is to double it again, to over 120 km (75 miles).

ERCA also plans to add an autoloader mechanism to feed the gun, instead of humans manhandling shells into the breech. That should increase the rate of fire from four shells a minute to 10. Assuming standard high-explosive rounds, that means the ERCA gun can go through 950 pounds of ammo in 60 seconds and a ton in just over two minutes.

How do you feed such a beast? Currently, ammo is shipped in crates and pallets to (relatively) safe supply dumps in the rear, where troops load the individual shells into a purpose-built armored vehicle for transport to the front. That M992 ammo hauler has an extendable conveyer belt to transfer shells directly into the howitzer vehicle, but the belt doesn’t always work that well in the field. Besides, the ammo hauler holds 95 rounds of high explosive and propellant, which would blow up horrifically if hit, so a standard tactic is to park the ammo transport under cover, well away from the guns, and have soldiers schlep the shells.

M109A7 Paladin and its armored ammunition carrier.

Long-Range Precision Fires, already working on multiple missiles at once, couldn’t develop the ERCA gun and a new loading system at the same time, an officer explained at an AUSA robotics conference last fall. So the team turned to a sister organization within Army Futures Command, the Army Applications Lab, whose in-house Army Capabilities Accelerator reaches out beyond traditional defense contractors to universities, startups, and smaller firms, especially ones which have little experience working with the military.

Five Functions, Six Firms, 12 Weeks

The Applications Lab came up with the Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply concept and sought proposals to revolutionize every step of the process. An online solicitation lists five key functions:

- Robotic ammo handling and transport for the supply depot to move shells from crates & pallets to the ammo vehicle, or even carry it directly to the gun;
- Small unmanned ground vehicles or even drones to drive or fly a few shells at a time – at least 150 pounds payload, i.e. one shell plus packaging — from the ammo vehicle to a gun at least a kilometer away;
- Automated ammo handling for inside the M109 howitzer itself, not only auto-loading the shell into the breech, but also setting charges, adjusting propellant loads for range, and more;
- Exoskeletons, both powered and passive, to help soldiers handle 100-plus-pound objects without fatigue – the main limiting factor on sustained fire – or injury; and
- Command & Control systems to coordinate munitions delivery when GPS and radio are being jammed, including self-directing robot swarms.

The response was vigorous: 83 submissions from 43 states and multiple foreign countries, which the Army weeded down to the six firms that went out to Fort Bliss last week. Each got a $150,000 contract to spend 12 weeks gathering feedback and refining their designs, with a final brief to the Army in Austin on April 1st. (UPDATE: Technically, the six firms are all subcontractors to Alion Science and Technology, which is administering the program for the Army). The Army will then decide which, if any, should advance further towards actual production.

The six companies in the current phase?

- Actuate (formerly Aegis) develops computer vision software that analyzes surveillance feeds in real time to detect intruders and firearms. They’re based in New York City, hardly the usual breeding ground for defense contractors.
- Apptronik builds exoskeletons and “human-centered robotics” designed to work with people. It’s a four-year-old spin-off of the University of Texas at Austin. The Army picked Austin to be Futures Command’s home town precisely because it’s a hub of high-tech innovation with few existing ties to the military.
- Carnegie Robotics in Pittsburg is a decade-old spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center. CMU has a strong relationship with the Army and is now host to the Army AI Task Force.
- Neya Systems, also in the Pittsburgh area, develops aerial drones and off-road robots. It’s a division of employee-owned defense contractor Applied Research Associates.
- Hivemapper is a Silicon Valley firm that turns surveillance video – including from drones – into digital maps, automatically updated by change-detection algorithms, for both the private sector and the Pentagon.
- Pratt & Miller Engineering, based in Detroit and South Carolina, and most famous for its work on race cars, whose seven-ton EMAV robot just won a field-testing contract for the Army’s experimental Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light.

Now, the RCV is still experimental, and Pratt & Miller’s win hardly guarantees a production contract, it makes sense for them to offer a variant of the same robot for the artillery resupply program. It would definitely be simpler and cheaper for Army logisticians to use the same robotic chassis for both armed vehicles and ammo haulers.

Corrected 10pm to remove references to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) process: While the Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply (FAAR) initiative is also exploring the use of the SBIR process, the contracts discussed in this article were awarded under a different vehicle.

The Qinetiq/Pratt & Miller Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) in an armed configuration

bug2 - 1-2-2020 at 04:15 PM

Analysis: KMW RCH 155 latest generation of mobile 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer

Posted On Friday, 31 January 2020 12:11

The RCH 155 (Remote Controlled Howitzer) is a new generation of mobile artillery system based on Boxer 8x8 wheeled armored vehicle. The vehicle was developed by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). The KMW Boxer RCH 155 was unveiled at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris in June 2016.

RCH 155 Remote Controlled Howitzer (Picture source KMW)

In March 2018, Germany Company KMW has presented the RCH 155 during DIMDEX, a defense exhibition that was held in Qatar.

In May 2019, it was announced that KMW continued to develop this new mobile artillery system that could be delivered to the German army to supplement the artillery units, and not to replace the PzH 2000 which is the standard artillery vehicle of the German armed forces.

The German Company KMW has already performed firing trials showcasing the capability of the RCH 155 to carry out an eight-round fire mission, and then redeploy in less than 90 seconds. It has also demonstrated the possibility to can carry out multi-round simultaneous impact (MRSI) fire missions.

The wheeled armored self-propelled howitzer RCH 155 combines the firepower and effective range of the automated and remote-controlled Artillery Gun Module (AGM©) with the protection and mobility of the combat-proven wheeled armored vehicle BOXER.

The vehicle is armed with a 155mm 52-caliber gun which is also used on the tracked armored self-propelled howitzer PZH 2000. This 155mm Artillery Gun Module (AGM) is also fitted on the DONAR artillery system also developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

The RCH 155 155mm Remote Controlled Howitzer combines long-range intense firepower and the fully automated Artillery Gun Module with the protection and mobility of the combat-proven wheeled armored vehicle BOXER. It can fire up to 8 rounds per minute to a range of up to 40 km with standard ammunition that is achievable with BOXER RCH 155. An increased range of up to 56 km is possible with Very Long-range Artillery Projectiles (VLAP). To integrate the 155 mm L52 Artillery gun, BOXER makes use of its growth potential of up to 38.5 t.

The Artillery Gun Module of BOXER RCH 155 is unmanned and provides automated navigation and fire control, features fully automated gun laying and projectile loading. The vehicle does not need to be equipped with hydraulic supports for firing. This leads to the reduced crew of 2 (driver, commander) and provides a major advantage in terms of fast relocation during operation – shoot and scoot – with a minimal crew size.

The RCH 155 provides outstanding tactical and strategic mobility for efficient actions. Its high precision and accuracy make it ready for modern ammunition. The combat load can be up to 40 rounds and the projectiles and crew are protected to the same level.

The survivability of the vehicle and its crew has been a key characteristic and therefore given the highest priority. The Gun Module can turn endlessly and be positioned n x 360° which leads to area coverage of 5,026 km² (9,852 km² with VLAP).

The RCH 155 hull has a modular hull including standard armor as well as special ceramic components. The triple hull floor is shaped for maximum protection against anti-tank mines and improvised explosive devices. It is claimed that front arc withstands hits from 30 mm projectiles. All-round protection is against 12.7 mm rounds. The turret is made of lightweight aluminum armor and provides protection only against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.

bug2 - 1-2-2020 at 04:17 PM

Of obvious, potential interest to both the Australian and British armies...……

ADMK2 - 1-2-2020 at 11:49 PM

Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Of obvious, potential interest to both the Australian and British armies...……

Looks the goods, but da Guvmint seems pretty committed to the K9 Thunder...

bug2 - 2-2-2020 at 01:25 PM

Quote: Originally posted by ADMK2  

Looks the goods, but da Guvmint seems pretty committed to the K9 Thunder...

Yeah, well the Brits are looking hard at a AS-90 upgrade, 52 calibre gun and a whole new choice of extended range shells They seem to be specifying the shells/length of barrel first, and the systems then have to match them.

It would behove the Brits, at least, to have both Tracked AS-90 and a wheeled SPG, and this BOXER-based system would be my choice over the ARCHER, mounted on a MAN 8x8 armoured truck, offered by BAE

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