L-118 105mm Light Gun
The versatile 105 mm Light Gun is an airportable and airmobile artillery piece which can be carried around the battle field underslung from a Puma or Chinook. Used by the Parachute and Commando Field Artillery Regiments of the British Army. In service since 1975 it replaced the 105mm Pack Howitzer.
The Light Gun can be towed by a medium-weight vehicle (such as a Pinzgauer TUM/HD or Hagglund BV206 all-terrain vehicle) or carried around the battlefield under slung by a Puma or Chinook helicopter. Royal Artillery L118 Light Guns are fitted with an Automatic Pointing System, which enables the gun to be unlimbered and in action in 30 seconds. APS is based on an inertial navigation system; operated via a touch screen, it replaces the traditional dial sight. New Light Gun ammunition is in development, with an increasingly lethal round and an extended range.
The Stonefield vehicle was evaluated at the Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Defence's sales organisation to establish its suitability as a towing vehicle for the 105 mm light gun. The trials were carried out at the company's expense to obtain the endorsement of the defence sales organisation that the vehicle was suitable for this purpose with a view to overseas sales. The endorsement was given on 22 August 1979.
The Stonefield company was established in January 1977; it was producing a completely new vehicle in factories that it took over in 1977. It was inevitable, and it was recognised from the start by the SDA and the Labour Government at that time, that the company would require a good deal of finance before it could become viable. In practice, because of the Government's dogmatic insistence that the SDA should find a private partner, this company has been brought down. It was not a lack of Government intervention, but unhelpful Government intervention that created the bankruptcy crisis that the company faced in late 1980. There was not a whole range of orders already available to the company—there were good prospects, whether in Kenya, Malaysia or elsewhere, for a vehicle that met the needs of a part of the market that was not satisfactorily catered for by a British manufactured vehicle.
Royal Ordnance Factories, which by 1980 represented one of the biggest industrial establishments within the Government, manufacture weapons and ammunition for armies both at home and abroad. The organisation had been successful in that. Over the previous three years the organisation's sales have more than doubled to £284 million, and the surplus on operations after interest has risen from £11 million to £36.7 million. Over half its production was exported. In certain products, such as its 105 mm light gun, it was the acknowledged world leader.
Robust and reliable, the gun proved its worth in the Falklands, firing up to 400 rounds per day. Equipped with the British-designed and manufactured light gun, which more than proved its worth during the campaign, the men of the five field batteries responded magnificently to all that was asked of them. Keeping them supplied with ammunition presented a major logistic challenge, which, was successfully mastered.
In the late 1970s the TAVR Medium Artillery Regiments were equipped with the 5.5 in gun which has been in service with the Army since 1942. These were replaced by the 105 mm light gun in the early 1980s. As of 2004 some 136 guns hade been issued to those units designated Light Gun Units.
Serial Unit Guns fitted with APS Guns without sights Saluting Guns 1 7 Para RHA Aldershot 18 — — 2 29 Cdo Regiment RA Plymouth/Arbroath 18 — — 3 100 Regiment RA(V) Luton 14 — — 4 103 Regiment RA(V) Liverpool 12 — — 5 BF Falkland Islands 8 — — 6 RSA Larkhill 18 — — 7 ESTRA Larkhill 1 — — 8 SEME Bordon 1 2 — 9 BATSU Wainwright Canada 6 — — 10 BATU Kenya 6 — — 11 HAC London 4 — 4 12 40 Regiment RA Topcliffe 6 — — 14 104 Regiment RA(V) Cardiff — — 4 15 105 Regiment RA(V) Newtownards — — 3 16 105 Regiment RA(V) Edinburgh — — 6 17 Royal Gibraltar Regt — — 4 18 Defence Academy — 1 — Total 112 3 2
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