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Wheeled Self-propelled Artillery

Currently, there are three main classes of barreled artillery systems on the world market and the armament of the world’s armies, and each of them has its own operational doctrine: towed systems, self-propelled tracked systems and self-propelled wheeled systems. The respective advantages and disadvantages of the first two classes are very well known and recognized, and thus, these classes are not in direct competition with each other, neither in commercial nor in operational sense. Towed systems are less expensive and easier to use, they are usually deployed to provide fire support for light units (motorized infantry, mountain units, parachute troops, marines, etc.), while self-propelled tracked howitzers (SG) are usually a component heavy mechanized and armored troops.

Wheeled Self-propelled Artillery systems are offered as a win-win replacement for towed systems (except for a few special cases when ultralight howitzers are needed), and on the other hand, they gradually “eat off” the market share of their tracked counterparts, profitably using their best strategic mobility and, thus, suitability for deployment abroad. which are completely different from the traditional battlefield for which these howitzers were created.

Although the vast majority of artillery systems in current inventories are still tracked, in less than 10 years the number of 155-mm wheel systems has actually quadrupled. A confirmation of such a pronounced global trend is the fact that more and more orders come to the wheeled artillery while reducing orders for heavy towed systems.

The concept of wheeled self-propelled artillery was initially viewed as some form of quaintness (when the first systems were presented, for example, Czechoslovak DANA (152 mm) and later South African G6 (155 mm / 45 cal) SG, albeit for different reasons. The advantages over towed guns are better survivability (personnel under cover of armor, at least in motion, less time to move from a traveling position to shooting position and vice versa), higher tactical mobility and simplified logistics (one truck transports a gun, the initial ammunition and control system), while the advantages over track systems consist in a lower detection probability, reduced operating costs,

The systems in service are divided between 152 mm (4 countries) and 155 mm (9 countries) models, although there are also industry proposals for wheeled self-propelled systems of 105 mm or 122 mm caliber. Until now, only about 1000 systems have been ordered by ten countries, and the potential market for wheeled systems can be estimated at another 1000 units over the 2015-2025 decade.

When the artillery has fired, it is necessary immediately, as they say, to carry off the legs in order to stay alive. This is connected with the creation of a similar car "Drok". This is nothing like installing a mortar inside the machine. Convenient: stopped where necessary, entered data targets, threw mines, and while they are still flying, the machine can change its location.

This is a very important feature, since even a tracked chassis, although more passable, is less mobile compared to wheeled vehicles. Having made a volley, these machines can quickly leave the firing position, move to a new location and re-inflict a fire strike. This does not allow the enemy to respond with fire to fire, and perhaps demoralize him, because it is not clear where exactly from where and by what forces the strikes are delivered.

Among foreign counterparts demonstrated during the IDEX 2019, held in Abu Dhabi in February 2019, the Nemo’s 120-mm mortar developed by the Finnish company Patria and the 120-mm Spanish Alakran consortium developed by the Spanish companies Everis Aerospace and NTGS (New Technologies Global Systems).

Nemo is made according to the standard scheme of a combat vehicle (armored chassis + uninhabited tower). It is distinguished by a low rate of fire - about 6 rounds per minute in continuous firing mode - and a range not exceeding 10 km. Unlike Floks, it is not equipped with any means of optoelectronic countermeasures.

The Spanish Alakran is made on the chassis of a Toyota-made Land Cruiser, which, on the one hand, increases its mobility, and on the other hand, it lowers ammunition. The firing range of this artillery system loses not only to its Russian counterparts, but also to the Finnish Nemo - only 8.2 km.

There is a similar machine with a mortar in Israel - "Sand Cat". It is based on the chassis of a heavy Ford F350 pickup truck and has a minestable bottom. In its latest versions, SandCat is designed to solve the most complex tasks and is equipped with a surveillance system with a heat chamber, providing full situational awareness. Currently, the machine adopted in more than 15 countries, among them - Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria and Sweden. Recently, several modifications of these vehicles were bought Azerbaijan. They are equipped with a combat module Mini Samson, equipped with a machine gun NSVT 12.7 mm caliber. The other machine has a Samson MLS combat module with a guided anti-tank missile.

155mm 8X8 wheeled armored self-propelled artillery

The 155mm 8X8 wheeled armored self-propelled artillery is a new generation of larger 155mm artillery family. It is a combination of the 8X8 wheeled armored vehicle chassis (commonly known as the "big eight wheel") and 155mm. The world's first 155mm 8X8 wheeled armored self-propelled artillery was the Italian " Centauro". Its design model was first publicized in 2011, and the prototype gun was exhibited at the 2012 International Defense Exhibition.

This strange combination of 8X8 armored wheeled chassis and 155mm artillery combined in the current world's 155mm artillery stems from the needs of the real battlefield. In the past mission settings, large-caliber suppression weapons such as 155mm self-propelled artillery were generally deployed behind the front line, mainly providing remote support firepower for friendly forces. While the front line is moving forward, the 155mm self-propelled artillery must also have good maneuverability along with the offensive force and guarantee the ability to provide fire support at any time. Therefore, the usual 155mm self-propelled artillery does not have strong armor protection.

However, since the 1990s, the design of the 155-mm self-propelled artillery reloading has appeared in the European military and military enterprises. The most typical one is the PzH2000 self-propelled artillery developed by the German KMW company. This type of artillery has a total weight of 55.8 tons, which is only less than 7 tons lighter than the "Leopard" 2A6 main battle tank. It is the world's heaviest 155mm self-propelled artillery. In comparison, the 52-caliber body tube is also used. The Korean K9 155mm self-propelled artillery has a total combat weight of 47 tons, while the US Army's latest M109A7 has a combat weight of only 35 tons.

The reason why the German PzH2000 155mm self-propelled artillery has such a high total combat weight, in addition to the large amount of ammunition of up to 60 rounds, is the comprehensive strengthening of armor protection. In this way, the PzH2000 155mm self-propelled artillery can not only carry out the conventional fire support task, but also can carry out the front-end deployment, and directly attack the enemy's various targets, including personnel, fortifications, armored vehicles, etc., to a certain extent, taking on the role of an armored assault gun.

Prior to this, many of the tasks to combat such targets were completed by the "Leopard" 2 main battle tank. Because of this, after the PzH2000 155mm self-propelled artillery was in service, the German Army was able to store a considerable number of "Leopard" 2 main battle tanks for future use.

Although the PzH2000 155mm self-propelled artillery is powerful and well-protected, it still has shortcomings in terms of maneuverability, cost, and adaptability to the operational environment. Therefore, 20 years since the commissioning, the total number of deliveries was only about 400.

The design concept of this type of artillery began to be accepted by other countries, including Italy Iveco-Fiat and Otto-Merella. The two Italian arms giants had previously collaborated on the classic "Centauro" series of 8X8 wheeled armored vehicles, including 105mm, 120mm wheeled tanks and "Arrow" infantry fighting vehicles. Inspired by the PzH2000 design philosophy, Iveco-Fiat and Otto-Merella collaborated again to launch the "Porcupine" 155mm self-propelled gun based on the Centaurus 8X8 wheeled armored chassis.

The Italian Centauro [sometimes mis-labelled "Porcupine"] 155mm wheeled self-propelled artillery combat weight is only 25 tons, and the strategic and tactical maneuverability are excellent. Compared with the PzH2000, the Italian 155mm wheeled self-propelled artillery combat weight is only 25 tons, and the artillery automation and maneuverability have been greatly improved. Especially in terms of maneuverability, the Centauro 155mm wheeled self-propelled artillery not only has better road maneuverability than the PzH2000, but also can be transported by air using the A400M large transport aircraft. Due to the size and weight limitation of the PzH2000 self-propelled artillery, it can only be transported by air using a super-transporter such as the An-124, which greatly limits its long-range delivery capability. However, because the Centauro 155mm wheeled self-propelled gun uses a 39-fold body, it is inferior to the PzH2000 in its maximum range.

After the public appearance of the Italian Centauro 155mm wheeled self-propelled artillery in 2012, it quickly attracted the attention of the military and military enterprises. In the fast maneuvering units based on wheeled armored chassis built by the national army, there has been a lack of large-caliber support firepower systems with the chassis. The emergence of Centauro almost completely filled this gap. Later, the German KMW company also used the design ideas of the Italian military industry to add the AGM modular 155mm automatic unmanned turret to the national "Boxer" 8X8 wheeled armored chassis, thus launching the second in the world 155mm armored wheeled self-propelled artillery.

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Page last modified: 01-03-2019 18:45:10 ZULU