Trajan Gun System [TGS] 155mm / 52 Cal. Towed Gun
The Trajan is a 155mm 52 caliber towed gun artillery system designed and manufactured by the French Company Nexter Systems. Trajan Gun System [TGS - TRAJAN®] is an accurate and powerful 155mm/52 caliber towed gun system able to support any mechanized and armored unit. It integrates the firepower of the CAESAR®155mm / 52 caliber gun into a modern towed gun system fitted with a firing control system, automated implementation such as in/out of action, laying and ammunition handling and loading in order the crew can performed sustained firings with limited efforts.
TRAJAN® combines two well-known Nexter’s systems, the 155 mm/39 caliber TR Towed Gun System and the 155 mm/52 caliber CAESAR® truck-mounted artillery (deployed in Afghanistan and in Lebanon). TRAJAN® integrates the fire power of CAESAR® into a modern and very efficient towed artillery gun for all firing missions from direct support firing to in-depth action. The Trajan uses the Caesar oscillating ensemble, namely the ordnance itself, the recoiling system, the shell semi-automatic loading mechanism, the azimuth and elevation drive system. The Trajan ordnance is 100% identical to the original Caesar design, with the highly reliable screw breech automatic locking and the two stage muzzle break.
TRAJAN® reaches a high level of accuracy by integrating a muzzle velocity radar (MVR), an inertial navigation unit (INU) and a ballistic computer. TRAJAN® has been designed to reach a high efficiency in all fire actions such as direct support fire, in-depth action fire, counter-battery fire.
The TRAJAN system can be put into action in less than 1'30". The gun is served by a six-man crew and is very much facilitated by automation of operations for putting it into or taking it out of action, for aiming and by an automatic loading of shells. These elements also make operations more secure. The Trajan has a total weight of 13,000 kg and can be easily transported by military transport aircraft as IL-76, C17 or A400M.
It can be also used in direct firing with a maximum range of 2 km thanks to day and night sight devices. The TRAJAN firing rate is six rounds per minute and can fire 45 rounds in 30 minutes in case of sustained firing. It has an elevation range from -2º up to +73º, and traverse range of 34º. The lower part of the Trajan will be designed by L&T under the supervision of Nexter, who will retain authority over the design of Trajan. This carriage will be inspired by the French-made TRF1 155/39 calibre gun.
Its 155mm / 52 caliber artillery is fully compatible with all 155mm 39 / 52 caliber NATO standard ammunition (Joint Ballistic MoU), and can fire ERFB shells and smart ammunition (BONUS, SPACIDO…). The Trajan has a range from 4.5 km to 42 km with an ERFB ( Extended Range Full Bore) and even 55 km through the use of rocket-assisted projectile (VLAP Velocity-enhanced Long-range Artillery Projectile).
The TRAJAN 155mm towed gun is equipped with an auxiliary power unit that provides it with all the energy necessary for electrical and fluid equipment, and can travel at 10 km/h under its own power to reach its firing position. When towed, its tractor can travel at up to 80 km/h with no constraints, and can turn on turning diameters of 25 m. In towed configuration, TRAJAN can be remotely controlled from the truck cabin. The front part of the cradle is equipped with two wheels and two trails at the rear with one small wheel located at the end of each trail.
The Indian army intends to purchase hundreds of towed 155 mmguns to replace old Russian designed assets, and to supplement the Bofors FH70 acquired in the ‘80s. Around 1350 pieces are to be manufactured under licence in India with the assistance of a foreign technology supplier.
To design its new Trajan towed gun, Nexter Systems relied heavily on the combat proven, truck-mounted Caesar, which is performing superbly in Afghanistan from the FOB held by the French army. In September 2011, Nexter Systems of France and Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) of India signed an Agreement announcing the formation of Nexter Systems led consortium for 155 mm Towed Gun Artillery program for the Indian Army. Under the proposal, Nexter will field TRAJAN, 155 mm/52-calibre weapon system. TRAJAN offers enhanced firepower through quicker response, longer range and improved accuracy. Larsen & Toubro, in association with Nexter Systems, will manufacture critical subsystems for TRAJAN which will integrate and provide required support for the gun system to the Indian Army.
Nexter and L&T are teaming for the Towed Gun System programme of the Indian ministry of defence, by proposing the TRAJAN which has already been evaluated in India. The French Company iXblue is also a partner in the Trajan programme with its ADVANS VEGA Intertial Guidance System (also present on 105 LG and CAESAR systems). It enables the gun a high degree of precision in autonomous firing.
In February 2016, Nexter submitted its final bid in an Indian tender for a €1 billion ($1.1 billion) contract for 1,400 155mm towed cannons. Nexter has teamed with Indian partner Larsen & Toubro to pitch its Trajan 155mm/52 caliber gun against Elbit Systems, partnered with Bharat Forge.
In 2016, the French company responded in the final bid worth $1.1 bn contract for 1,400 155mm towed cannons. Nexter Systems of France and L&T of India signed an Agreement announcing the formation of Nexter Systems-led consortium for 155 mm Towed Gun Artillery program for the Indian Army.
After almost three decades of stagnation, by 2018 there was finally a significant forward movement in the Artillery modernisation and transformational plans, envisaging the induction of approximately 2,800 plus modern artillery howitzers. The success of the indigenously developed 155mm 45 calibre Dhanush gun (upgraded version of the Bofors gun), the induction of the first two 155mm 39 calibre M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) out of the 145 contracted for and the signing of the contract for 100 self-propelled (SP) tracked 155mm 52 calibre howitzers are positive developments in Indian Artillery’s overall transformation plan.
The principal remaining project to buy 400 x 155 mm/52 caliber towed guns followed by the indigenous manufacture of another 1,180 guns was still at the trial stage, though confirmatory trials had been completed. In contention were the Elbit Systems (earlier Soltam) ATHOS 155/52 calibre and Nexter’s TRAJAN 155/52 Calibre Towed Gun Systems. The outstanding feature of these trials was the involvement of Indian private sector defence companies who have tied up with the foreign vendors – Bharat Forge with Elbit and Larson & Toubro (L&T) with Nexter.
By the end of 2018 the ‘Trajan’ 155mm/52 calibre towed gun was under-going user trials at Indian Army ranges and was being fast-tracked for the modernisation of the Indian Army.
|Main weapon caliber||155mm|
|Barrel length||39 calibres|
|Transport||Rail, Sea, Air (IL-76, C17, A400M) in a single load|
|In/out of action||1 minute and 30 seconds|
|Ammunition||NATO standard 155mm shells, ERFB, smart ammunition (BONUS,SPACIDO)|
|Range||4.5km to 42km (ERFB), 55km with VLAP, 2km in direct firing|
|Sustained firing rate||45 rounds in 30 minutes|
|Equipement/Options||Muzzle Velocity Radar, Ballistic Calculator, Ammunition Handling Crane|
|STATUS||In competition for the Indian Towed Gun System (TGS) program.|
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