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Author: Subject: Artillery in the 21st Century
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[*] posted on 30-1-2019 at 07:55 PM


Leonardo testing upgraded M109L SP artillery system

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

29 January 2019


An upgraded Italian M109L from the rear fitted with the Leonardo 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance partly elevated, and with spades either side of the hull in raised position. Source: Leonardo

Italy's Leonardo Defence Systems has developed and tested an upgrade package, aimed at the export market, for the M109L 155 mm self-propelled (SP) artillery system.

The standard M109L is fitted with an Italian-built 155 mm/39 calibre ordnance that is the equivalent to that fitted to the 155 mm FH-70 towed artillery system still deployed by the Italian Army.

The latest upgraded M109L has a 23 litre chamber and meets the Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding (JBMOU). It is also fitted with a fume extractor and a new pepper box muzzle brake.

The recoil system and equilibrators were modified to take into account the increased recoil and weight of the 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance. The breech mechanism is of the screw type, and a flick rammer is fitted with an adaption on the stroke of the rammer to fit with the longer chamber.

Maximum range depends on the projectile and charge combination, but firing a standard 155 mm M15A2 high-explosive (HE) projectile a maximum range of 30 km can be achieved, or an extended range ammunition could reach 40 km, according to Leonardo.

The most significant range improvement would be firing the latest Leonardo Volcano 155 mm Ballistic Extended Range (BER) artillery projectile, which was type classified by the Italian Army and is ready for quantity production as soon as orders are placed.

Volcano features a sub-calibre fin-stabilised airframe that is loaded with an Insensitive Munition (IM)-compliant HE with patented tungsten rings. This is fitted with a nose-mounted multifunction fuze that can be set for altitude, impact/delayed, time, or self-destruct functions. This airframe has sabots that fall away after firing, and the 16 kg fin-stabilised projectile is 90 mm in diameter.

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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 01:37 PM


Brazil details M109A5+ BR howitzer delivery

Victor Barreira, Rio de Janeiro - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 February 2019

The Brazilian Army’s field artillery capability is set to improve in mid-May when 32 M109A5+ BR 155 mm self-propelled tracked howitzers are scheduled to arrive at the Rio Grande port, the army told Jane’s .

The move comes after the Brazilian Army and the US Department of Defense inked a letter of offer and acceptance in December 2014. Under the terms of a USD54 million Foreign Military Sale contract, BAE Systems began upgrading 32 M109A5s with the Kearfott MILNAV series reference unit, Weibel MVRS-700 muzzle velocity radar, display units, a remote travel lock system, GPSs, provisions for a Harris Falcon III radio, a Thales SOTAS IP intercom, an IMBEL Gênesis V command-and-control system, and more.

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[*] posted on 19-2-2019 at 08:42 PM


Serbian artillery boasts extended range [IDEX19D3]

CHRISTOPHER F FOSS

19 February 2019



Yugoimport – SDPR (Stand 12- E05) is displaying a wide range of artillery systems, headed by the NORA B52 155mm/52 calibre self-propelled gun-howitzer, which is based on a 8x8 platform.

The fully enclosed and armour-protected cab is at the front, with the power-operated turret at the rear. The system normally fires over the rear arc and, to provide a more stable firing platform, two hydraulically operated stabilisers are lowered either side to the ground. The weapon is provided with 12 rounds (projectile and associated charges) in the automatic loader, which can be fired in four minutes. An additional 24 rounds of 155mm ammunition are in reserve.

Maximum range depends on the projectile/charge combination, but firing an extended-range full bore base bleed high-explosive projectile, a maximum range of 42,000m can be achieved. The forward control cab has a roof-mounted 12.7mm machine gun for self-defence purposes, as well as banks of electrically operated smoke grenade launchers.

The Russian 130mm M-46 field gun is still used by many countries and Yugoimport has developed and completed trials of an upgraded version fitted with a 155mm/45 calibre ordnance, which gives a significant increase in range.

Firing a locally developed high-explosive extended-range full bore (HE ERFB) 155mm projectile, a maximum range of 30,300m can be achieved, while a base bleed HE ERFB M03 projectile increases range to 39,000m.

Yugoimport can upgrade existing M-46 field guns to the latest 155mm/45 calibre standard, or provide kits to enable the end user to upgrade the weapons in their own facilities.

(251 words)
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[*] posted on 19-2-2019 at 08:46 PM


PGK production ramps up [IDEX19D3]

CHRISTOPHER F FOSS

19 February 2019



Northrop Grumman (Stand 03-A04, US Pavilion) has now completed the second production year of its M1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK). This was originally developed to meet the requirements of the US Army and Marine Corps, but has also been sold to at least two export customers, Australia and Canada, for use with their BAE Systems M777 155mm lightweight artillery systems.

All M1156 PGK option 1 (15,525 units) and option 2 (8,001 units) have been delivered ahead of schedule, with production ramping up from 48 to 68 units a day, but at the same time, build time was reduced from 7.41 hours to 5.92 hours per unit and scrap was reduced by 24 per cent.

The US Army uses its M1156 PGK with 155mm M795 and M549A1 artillery projectiles fired from 155mm/39 calibre artillery systems, but it can also be fitted to 155mm artillery projectiles fired from 155mm/52 calibre artillery systems, such as the German PzH 2000.

The company has also confirmed that it delivered a batch of XM913 50mm Bushmaster dual-feed cannon in 2018, which has been developed in co-operation with the US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre, and will fire a family of 50 x 318mm ammunition. The XM913 will make its first public appearance during its Bushmaster User Conference to take place in Arizona, USA, in April 2019.

Furthermore, Northrop Grumman has also confirmed that it is developing a new proximity fuzed air-bursting 30 x 113mm ammunition for use with its M230 series of cannon. This new development will use a sensor to identify potential targets prior to bursting.

(263 words)
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[*] posted on 20-2-2019 at 01:57 PM


Export potential for Paladin [IDEX19D4]

CHRISTOPHER F FOSS

20 February 2019



BAE Systems (Stand 05-C25) has brought a US Army M109A6 Paladin 155mm/39 calibre self-propelled howitzer to IDEX, because there is a perceived potential for future export sales in the region. This is an earlier M109, with an upgraded chassis, fitted with the new turret that retains the M284 155mm/39 calibre ordnance, plus a roof-mounted 12.7mm machine gun, supplied only to the US Army.

Currently in low-rate production is the latest M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), which uses the same turret as the M109A6, although this is mounted on a brand-new chassis that shares some commonality with the US Army M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

The US Army took delivery of 975 M109A6 and the original requirement for the M109A7 Paladin was 580, so there are a number of M109A6 that could potentially become available for export in the future.

The M109A6/M109A7 are the only conventional SP tube artillery systems deployed by the US Army but still have a 155mm/39 calibre barrel, which by today's standards is range limited. Most export customers have now moved to a 155mm/52 calibre SP artillery system and this was tested by BAE Systems as the M109 International some years ago, but never entered production.

The US Army already has the Extended Range Cannon Artillery programme, which will include a new longer barrel, perhaps 58 calibre, plus a new suite of more effective 155mm ammunition. If fielded, this would enable targets to be engaged at longer ranges and with more effect.

Each M109A6 is supported by the M992 field artillery ammunition support vehicle, which carries additional projectiles, charges and fuzes. For deployment with the M109A7 Paladin, these are being upgraded to the M992A2 carrier ammunition tracked standard.

(281 words)
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[*] posted on 20-2-2019 at 03:41 PM


China to Test Magnetized Plasma Artillery

(Source: Global Times; issued Feb 19, 2019)

The Chinese military is looking to procure test systems for magnetized plasma artillery, according to a notice on the People's Liberation Army (PLA) weapon and equipment procurement website weain.mil.cn last week.

Released on Wednesday and due expire on Thursday, the notice invites tenders for a theory-testing and a launch system for magnetized plasma artillery.

Although the weapon sounds as if it comes from a sci-fi movie, it will probably not shoot high-energy plasma but ultra-high velocity cannon shells.

The notice did not elaborate on the nature of magnetized plasma artillery. However, the PLA Academy of Armored Forces Engineering filed a patent with the same name in 2015 to the National Intellectual Property Administration, according to the administration's website.

According to the specification of the patent, the cannon will have magnetic material covering the gun barrel and a magnetic field generator to create a certain magnetic field inside the barrel.

When artillery is fired, gas inside the barrel will be partly ionized into plasma by the high pressure and heat. The plasma will then form about a millimeter sheath on the inner wall of the barrel due to the magnetic field, the patent specification said.

The magnetized plasma layer can greatly reduce the radial force the barrel takes and boost thrust of the cannon shell, making it possible for the initial velocity of shells to exceed Mach 6, the limit for conventional artillery.

By comparison, an electromagnetic railgun can in theory accelerate its munitions to Mach 7, US-based media outlet the National Interest reported. But a railgun and its power system are so large that they are not mobile unless installed on large warships, the report said.

The patented Chinese technology, however, can be installed on tanks and self-propelled guns, the specification said.

"Thanks to the increased thrust, the range of the artillery can also be extended," Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Monday.

Wei predicts the new technology would extend the range of a conventional 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzer from 30-50 kilometers to 100 kilometers.

The plasma layer might also reduce friction between the barrel and rounds, making the weapon more accurate, he said.

The layer can also provide heat resistance to the barrel, which will prolong its service life.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 21-2-2019 at 09:57 AM


OFB Gets Bulk Production Clearance for Dhanush Artillery Gun

(Source: Indian Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 19, 2019)


Developed by India’s Ordnance Factory Board, the Dhanush towed 155mm howitzer is a local variant of the Bofors Haubits FH77 which India acquired in the 1980s, featuring automatic loader and a small engine for self-deployment. (India MoD photo)

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has received the bulk production clearance (BPC) from the Indian Army and the Ministry of Defence on February 18, 2018 for production of 114 Dhanush, the first ever indigenous 155mm x 45 calibre artillery gun. The weapon is the first long-range artillery gun to be produced in India and it is a major success story of the 'Make in India' initiative.

The gun is equipped with inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, on-board ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system. The self-propulsion unit allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease.

Dhanush has been mechanically upgraded to fire standard NATO 155 mm ammunition and can accommodate both boll bags and the bi-modular charge system (BMCS) which have resulted in increasing the range. Dhanush has also been electronically upgraded to enhance the firing accuracies, laying speeds of the existing gun and to provide compatibility with various kinds of ammo as well.

The performance of Dhanush has been evaluated under arduous conditions in several phases. The guns travelled extensively in towed and self-propelled mode in all terrains viz desert and high altitude with each gun clocking over 1600 km. Such an extensive exercise was carried out by the user for the first time for any gun system under the process of induction.

The manufacture of a 155 mm modern artillery gun was initially a challenge for OFB. This was due to change in the vision parameters from 155x39 calibre to 155x45 calibre. OFB received the Transfer of Technology (ToT) documents pertaining to 155x39 calibre and then converted it to 155x45 calibre successfully.

Dhanush is the product of joint efforts by the OFB and the Indian Army with contributions from DRDO, DGQA, DPSUs such as BEL, PSUs such as SAIL and several private enterprises.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 21-2-2019 at 08:10 PM


Vulcano is qualified [IDEX19D5]

21 February 2019



Leonardo’s defence systems facility at La Spezia in Italy has now completed development, industrialisation and qualification of the Vulcano 155mm Ballistic Extended Range (BER) artillery projectile. It has already been type classified by the Italian Army, which has accepted 170 units for evaluation, and is now ready for production as soon as orders are placed.

The trials were carried out in Italy at Nettuno and Salto di Quirra proving grounds and at the Alkantpan testing range in South Africa, using various artillery systems including the PzH 2000 155mm/52 calibre, 155mm/39 calibre FH-70, 155mm/45 calibre G5, 155mm/39 calibre M109L,155mm/52 calibre Artillery Gun Module, SGS 155mm/52 calibre, plus other 155mm barrels installed on a static gun mount.

Vulcano features a sub-calibre fin-stabilised airframe, which is loaded with Insensitive Munition (IM) compliant high-explosive (HE), with patented tungsten rings pre-fabricated warheads.

The projectile is fitted with a nose-mounted multi-function fuze, which can be set for altitude, impact/delayed impact, time or self-destruct functions.

This sub-calibre fin-stabilised airframe has sabots, which fall away after firing and the total mass of the fin-stabilised BER in flight is being quoted as 26kg.

The projectile shares the same architecture as that used in the Leonardo 127mm (5in) naval projectile, which is already in production for the Italian Navy.

Vulcano can be used with standard modular charge systems (MCSs) and, when fired from a 155mm/52 calibre ordnance, four MCSs plus an additional charge integrated into the Vulcano projectile, has a maximum range of 50km with BER and 70km with the Guided Long Range (GLR) version. The latter features an autonomous Inertial Measurement Unit/Global Positioning System (IMU/GPS) guidance system and is also IM-compliant and fitted with a multi-function fuze.

A semi-active laser (SAL) guidance system is available for Vulcano, which could potentially be used to engage moving targets with a circular error of probability (CEP) of 5m.

Vulcano can be viewed at the Leonardo Stand 06-B07 in the Italian Pavilion.

(319 words)
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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 10:24 PM


China working on Mach 6 superguns with magnetized plasma for its artillery

POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2019 11:11

The Chinese army is preparing to test magnetized plasma artillery capable of firing hypervelocity rounds at speeds in excess of Mach 6, six times the speed of sound, Chinese media reports. The power and range of such a weapon would likely offer tremendous advantages on the battlefield, assuming it actually works, which is apparently what the Chinese military is interested in finding out, as Ryan Pickrell comments on MySanAntonio.


The Chinese artillery might get Mach 6 superguns in a currently unspecified future (Picture source: eng.chinamil.cn)

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) appears to have begun soliciting vendors for magnetized plasma artillery test systems, a notice recently posted on the Chinese military's official procurement website indicated. The planned testing is presumably to evaluate theories presented in a PLA Academy of Armored Forces Engineering patent submitted to the National Intellectual Property Administration four years ago. The Chinese military patent explains how the magnetized plasma could theoretically enhance the artillery's power.

First, a magnetic field is created inside the barrel using a magnetized material coating on the exterior and an internal magnetic field generator. Then, when the artillery is fired, the tremendous heat and pressure inside the firing tube ionizes some of the gas, turning it into plasma and forming a thin, protective magnetized plasma sheath along the inner wall of the barrel.

The developers believe the plasma will decrease friction while providing heat insulation, thus extending the power and range of the artillery piece without jeopardizing the structural integrity of the cannon or negatively affecting the overall service life of the weapon.

Magnetized plasma sounds like something straight out of science fiction, but apparently this technology is something China feels it can confidently pursue. Chinese media claims that magnetized plasma artillery systems, provided they work as intended, could easily be installed on tanks and self-propelled guns. This weapon is more manageable than the country's experimental electromagnetic railgun, which it has reportedly begun testing at sea.

Chinese media reports that this concept has already been tested on certain tanks.

Unlike the naval railgun, which is an entirely new technology, magnetized plasma artillery would be more of an upgrade to the Chinese army's conventional cannons. Chinese military experts told Chinese media they estimate that this improvement could extend the range of a conventional 155 mm self-propelled howitzer from around 30-50 kilometers to 100 kilometers. And the round's initial velocity would be greater than Mach 6, just under the expected speed of an electromagnetic railgun round.

China is "on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world," a US Defense Intelligence Agency report stated in January. But China is not running this race unopposed, as the US military is determined not to be outgunned. The US Army is currently pushing to boost the range of its artillery to outgun near-peer threats, namely China and Russia. The new Extended Range Cannon Artillery has already doubled the reach of traditional artillery pieces, firing rounds out to 62 kilometers.

The immediate goal for Long Range Precision Fires, a division of U.S. Army Futures Command, is to reach 70 kilometers; however, the Army plans to eventually develop a strategic cannon with the ability to fire rounds over 1,000 miles and shatter enemy defenses in strategic anti-access zones, Ryan Pickrell concludes.
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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 10:26 PM


They sure are pushing the supposed superiority of this system.............makes you wonder why?
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[*] posted on 27-2-2019 at 11:50 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
They sure are pushing the supposed superiority of this system.............makes you wonder why?


Maybe it truly is stupendously capable?

Or maybe it's a full part of the Sino-Russian propaganda machine, like just about everything else they produce?

I know where my money is placed...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 1-3-2019 at 09:24 AM


UAE confirms Chinese 155 mm AH4 gun-howitzer acquisition

Christopher F Foss, Abu Dhabi - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 February 2019


The UAE is the first known operator of the AH4. Source: Norinco

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) military confirmed it has acquired Norinco AH4 gun-howitzers on 21 February, when it announced on the last day of the IDEX show held in Abu Dhabi that it had awarded an AED30 million (USD8.2 million) contract to the local company International Golden Group (IAG) to supply ammunition for the weapon.

An industry source told Jane's that the UAE has received at least one batch of six of the 155 mm/39 calibre lightweight gun-howitzers to arm a battery for deployment in Yemen.

The UAE has already deployed some of its Denel G5 155 mm/45 calibre towed gun-howitzers to Yemen but these are considered too heavy for some missions. The G5 weighs about 14 tonnes, while Norinco says the AH4 weighs 4.5 tonnes. This means that, unlike the South African gun, it can be moved by one of the UAE's CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters using a sling.

The industry source said the UAE has also taken delivery of a quantity of the latest Norinco GP6 laser-guided 155 mm projectile, which the Chinese company says has a minimum range of 6 km and a maximum range of up to 25 km with a first round hit probability of at least 90%.

The UAE had already been suspected of using the GP1 laser-guided projectile after the remnants of one was photographed by a militant group in eastern Libya, where the Gulf state has deployed a small military force in support of the Libyan National Army.

The GP6 is claimed to be more resistant to jamming than the GP1, while its multiple laser coding technology enables co-operative multi-target engagement. The GP1 and GP6 are also referred to as the GP155 and GP155A respectively. Norinco also markets the GP155B, which is guided by a global navigation satellite system (GNSS).

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[*] posted on 7-3-2019 at 07:49 PM


Norinco marketing SH-15 155 mm artillery system for export

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

06 March 2019


The SH-15 in the firing position, showing some of the 155 mm ammunition stowage on the cab rear. Source: Norinco

China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) is marketing a 155 mm self-propelled (SP) gun-howitzer (GH) called the SH-15. The system's builder is unconfirmed.

It is based on a 6×6 chassis that has a four-door fully enclosed cab at the front, with a roof-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun (MG) for self-defence.

SH-15 is powered by a 400hp diesel engine with a 15.68 hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio.

The platform is fitted with a hydropneumatic suspension system that can be locked out when deployed in the firing position, which according to Norinco helps increase "firing accuracy of all unguided projectiles by 50%" over the unstablised platform. To provide a more stable firing platform, two hydraulically operated spades are lowered to the ground on either side at the rear.

On the rear is the turntable-mounted 155 mm/52 calibre ordnance with powered traverse of 25° left and right and with powered elevation from 0° to 67.5°.

Norinco, the howitzer's sales group, is quoting a maximum rate of fire of between 4 and 6 rds/min. A flick rammer is fitted to maintain rate of fire, and a muzzle velocity measuring system is mounted above the rear of the ordnance.

Maximum range depends on the projectile/charge combination, but Norinco said it has a maximum range of 50 km when firing its High-Explosive Extended-Range Full Bore Base-Bleed Rocket-Assisted (HE ERFB-BB-RA) projectile.

It can fire conventional ammunition as well as the Norinco GP155 laser homing projectile, GP155B satellite guided projectile, and the GP155G terminally guided top attack projectile.

As the 155 mm ordnance has a 23 litre chamber that meets the Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU), the SH-15 can also fire NATO projectiles and charges (the older bag type or the more efficient modular charge system [MCS] type). Images viewed by Jane's indicate that Chinese MCS have been used during firing trials in China.

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[*] posted on 23-3-2019 at 10:21 AM


Denel looking for T5-52 howitzer sale in Asia

Grant Turnbull, Cape Town - Jane's Defence Weekly

22 March 2019

Denel Land Systems is in negotiations with an Asian country to purchase the companys latest T5-52 wheeled self-propelled artillery system, a company source told Janes .


A T5-52 is seen in action at Overberg test range. (Denel Land Systems)

The source said negotiations with the undisclosed country were ongoing and that other countries had also shown interest. Exact quantities or a potential contract value were not disclosed. The source also noted that trials had recently taken place in Pakistan.

The 155 mm/52 calibre howitzer was demonstrated to international delegates, including Janes , at Denels Overberg Test Range on 1920 March.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is still undecided whether it will order a substantial number of T5-52s or upgrade its legacy G6 self-propelled howitzers.

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[*] posted on 23-3-2019 at 08:01 PM


I imagine Singapore might well be a candidate...

Im amazed that this type of solution hasnt proceeded with M-777. Sure, such a solution isnt as capable as a full SPG, but compared to a standard towed howitzer plus gun tractor solution this type would seem to offer much more flexibility, particular if it were possible to transition the gun relatively easily from truck mounted to standard towed configuration for air mobility reasons as needed...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 24-3-2019 at 10:25 AM


The USMC (and Army?) have, and are testing a M-777 mounted on an FMTV truck (the original version truck not the new one)........this is specifically being done to allow for improved tactical flexibility........it again uses the "soft recoil" system used on the modified Hummers with a 105mm cannon of various types........trials at the moment, but who knows where this will go from here...........

Maybe's the Singaporeans are looking at this SA gun truck, but I doubt it somehow.

Their medium/long term plans include for a 155mm extended range howitzer that is fully, or significantly, automatic in operation and function. This has been reinforced at their recent Future Soldier presentations............
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[*] posted on 25-3-2019 at 02:09 PM


Maybe we should look at truck-borne artillery, as we are completely unable to acquire tracked SPGs even at 5 times the cost of anyone else.



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[*] posted on 25-3-2019 at 07:24 PM


Quote: Originally posted by unicorn  
Maybe we should look at truck-borne artillery, as we are completely unable to acquire tracked SPGs even at 5 times the cost of anyone else.


No reason why not..........there is even one on the BOXER chassis, THAT should be sufficiently gloriously over-priced to suit our "needs"....
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[*] posted on 25-3-2019 at 10:29 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
Quote: Originally posted by unicorn  
Maybe we should look at truck-borne artillery, as we are completely unable to acquire tracked SPGs even at 5 times the cost of anyone else.


No reason why not..........there is even one on the BOXER chassis, THAT should be sufficiently gloriously over-priced to suit our "needs"....


Nope. Army wont be sure of the support costs, just as they werent when they were almost gifted PZH-2000...

The idea of taking the PZH-2000 and using the $600m acquisition budget to cover said support costs, obviously never occurred to anyone...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 26-3-2019 at 10:25 AM


What have I told you about thinking.........sheesh! :smilegrin:
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[*] posted on 27-3-2019 at 02:48 PM


Extended-range cannon to get autoloader within five years

By: Jen Judson   59 minutes 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. Building on mobility upgrades, ERCA will increase the lethality of self-propelled howitzers. ERCA provides a 10x capability through a combination of an increased range, increased rate of fire, increased lethality, increased reliability and a greater survivability. (Photo by Edward Lopez/U.S. Army)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. The Army is developing an Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system and will start building prototypes by the end of the year, but moving beyond the first iteration, the service is planning to add an autoloader starting in 2024, according to Col. John Rafferty, who is in charge of the Armys Long-Range Precision Fires modernization programs.

The Army plans to build 8 prototypes of the ERCA cannon by 2023 with a culminating technology demonstration, Rafferty said. The service is focused on improvements to the platform, the projectile, the ammunition and propellant.

While the Army plans to first take the legacy fleet of Howitzers and give them projectiles that allow them to shoot farther.

After years of planning, the Paladin Integrated Management program aims to upgrade the Paladin howitzer with an M109A7 chassis. From there, the ERCA program will upgrade PIMs turret with a 58 caliber, 30-foot long gun tube that is capable of shooting farther than 70 kilometers.

That is a major improvement, Rafferty said, but he added, we still have a ways to go with integrating the precision guidance kit with a GPS fuze for that.

The challenge is the muzzle blasts are so much higher, he said, so it changes the way the fuze operates.

Rafferty said the Army has shot an Excalibur round from the gun tube and hit a target at 62 kilometers.

The first battalion will be fielded in FY23.

The next increment beginning in 2024 will the cannon equipped with the autoloader.

The autoloader is key to generating the volume of fire that really gives us that lethality at range, Rafferty said, but its a pretty complicated technology to develop.

Currently, the Army relies on two cannoneers to equip a dumb projectile with smart fuzes. This is being done in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, Rafferty noted.

And there is a complex fuze setting process and battery life on the fuzes, which means you cant fuze them hours beforehand, he explained. You need to screw the fuzes on, then set them, and the charge lasts for a certain length of time.

But this process is challenging for autoloaders, he said, which means the Army will have to take a different and unique approach.

While there is an internal effort to build an autoloader prototype, the service is also looking at using the Army Applications Lab at the Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas, for ideas that might approach the challenge differently, Rafferty said.

The lab is located in an innovators hub called the Capital Factory and is geared toward uniting Army requirements writers and developers with individuals and companies with non-traditional technology that could be applied to efforts underway within the service.
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[*] posted on 28-3-2019 at 06:48 PM


Elbit Systems Awarded $125 Million Contract from the IMOD to Provide Automatic SPH Gun Systems to the IDF

(Source: Elbit Systems Ltd.; issued March 27, 2019)



HAIFA, Israel --- Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it was awarded an approximately $125 million (NIS 460 million) contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) to supply fully automatic self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The contract, which also includes the supply of training simulators, will be performed over a 12-year period.

The IMOD and Elbit Systems intend that further part of the automatic howitzer gun systems program, under an additional contract to the Company in an amount that is expected to be material, will be performed by various U.S. companies including Elbit Systems of America, LLC, subject to completion of the receipt of applicable governmental approvals for the U.S. content.

The new automatic howitzer gun system is based on know-how and experience the Company accumulated over decades of supplying artillery systems to numerous armed forces.

The new howitzer gun system is capable of automatic loading and laying. According to the applicable mission, the new gun system automatically selects the required projectile, propellant and fuze, loads them and lays the gun to optimally engage targets.

The new howitzer gun system will enhance the effectiveness of the artillery formation of the IDF while reducing the number soldiers in each platform and significantly reduce life-cycle costs.

Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, commented: "We are proud to take part in building the future artillery formation of the IDF. This contract award is a vote of confidence in Israeli defense technology and an acknowledgment of the international leadership of Elbit Systems in the area of artillery systems.

We believe that effective integration of precision, rapidity and autonomy together with a built-in connectivity to the communication and command & control systems will become the required standard. We are witnessing a growing need for advanced and reliable artillery systems that enable powerful and efficient operation in all combat configurations."

Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international high technology company engaged in a wide range of defense, homeland security and commercial programs throughout the world. The Company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land, and naval systems. The Company also focuses on the upgrading of existing platforms, developing new technologies for defense, homeland security and commercial applications and providing a range of support services, including training and simulation systems.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 28-3-2019 at 07:20 PM


By the way that pic is indicative only. It's actually a ATMOS 2000 system with semi-auto operation. It holds three ready rounds in the clip at the back of the gun, but the Charges need to be loaded manually.........the new gun will most likely be in a turret mounted on a HEMTT truck, and not a TATRA 8x8 as shown (according to some?)
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[*] posted on 29-3-2019 at 12:06 PM


Elbit receives contract for new IDF howitzer

Yaakov Lappin, Tel Aviv - Jane's Defence Weekly

28 March 2019


Two versions of the Elbit ATMOS, which is the basis for the IDFs new self-propelled howitzer. Source: Elbit Systems

Israel's Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Elbit Systems announced on 28 March that a contract has been awarded to the company to develop and manufacture a new self-propelled howitzer for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The MoD said this is "one of the largest and most complex procurement plans in the history of the ground forces" and would last a decade. The development of the gun has already begun and after a successful initial demonstration the programme is now moving to the prototype production phase and preparations for serial production, it said.

The contract includes a training simulator and 20 years of comprehensive maintenance that will ensure a very high level of availability.

Elbit said the contract is worth USD125 million and would be performed over a 12-year period.

The new howitzer was not named but both parties described it as a "fully automatic" system that would reduce manpower requirements and maintenance costs. "The system automatically selects, depending on the mission, the type of shell, detonator, and required fuze automatically loading and laying to optimally engage targets," they said.

Elbit added that the howitzer is based on the "know-how and experience" it has accumulated in supplying artillery systems to numerous militaries.

The MoD announced in April 2017 that it had selected Elbit Systems to develop and produce a new howitzer for the IDF. Jane's was told at that time that the new system is based - but not identical to - Elbit's 155 mm ATMOS wheeled self-propelled howitzer, which has been sold to several foreign militaries.

Developed by Soltam Systems, which was acquired by Elbit in 2010, the ATMOS has automatic laying and loading systems and an electronic suite that Elbit says enables "accurate navigation and autonomous operation, reduced crew size, increased fire power, and high precision accuracy".

(322 of 378 words)
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[*] posted on 8-4-2019 at 11:18 AM


LAAD 2019: BAE SYSTEMS MODERNISING BRAZILS M109S

The first example of the Brazilian Armys M109 self-propelled howitzer, modernised by BAE Systems, arrived in-country in time to be shown to the visitors to LAAD 2019 this week.

The standard to which the 32 vehicles are being modernised M109A5+BR, is similar to the M109A6, the company stated. The remaining vehicles are due for delivery to Brazil in May, with service entry scheduled for July-August, according to sources at the exhibition.

The upgrade includes the integration of new digital systems to reduce counter-battery reaction time, increased manoeuvrability and enhanced survivability. The time taken to bring the guns into action is reduced from 12-16 minutes in the analogue version to only two: the use of GPS also now enables greater precision fire. The suspension has been modified to increase stability during fire missions and a muzzle velocity radar installed to help further increase accuracy.

A minor enhancement makes the gun tube lock mechanism automatic, negating the necessity for a crew member to dismount to effect locking.

The Brazilian Army will now integrate the guns into their own artillery fire control system, to receive pertinent data from the command post and connect it with other units.

Santiago Rivas


The M109A5+BR in Rio. (Photo: Santiago Rivas)

Published: 05 April 2019
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