155mm Ultra-lightweight Field Howitzer (UFH)
The Ultra-lightweight Field Howitzer (UFH) is the world's first 155mm howitzer weighing less than 9000 pounds and the first to be constructed principally of Titanium alloy which gives high structural strength and durability coupled with low weight and maintenance. The howitzer is air transportable by medium lift helicopters and has significant advantages over existing conventional howitzers in terms of air and land transportability, response times, rates of fire and automation.
After a hard fought contest involving a hardware shoot-off, VSEL's Ultra-lightweight Field Howitzer (UFH) was selected by the US Marines as their next generation 155mm towed howitzer. The initial contract involved an Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) program including options for the production of 190 units. The total US Marine and US Army requirement was expected to be up to 1,300 howitzers with a total contract value in the range of £1.0 Bn.
The UFH will replace the existing 25 year old M198 towed howitzer currently in service with the US Marines and US Army and provides both close and deep fire support. During the 3 year EMD contract the partnership, designated Team UFH, supplied a total of 8 pre-production guns for additional testing with the first production guns scheduled for delivery in the year 2000. In addition to the US requirement, the British Ministry of Defence was expected to participate in the US program to meet their towed artillery requirements in the 21st century and many armies are expected to follow suit as requirements move to the rapid deployment concept of operation.
Textron Marine and Land Systems is a US leader in the construction of advanced technology air cushion vehicles, surface effect ships, high performance search and rescue vessels, combat vehicles, turrets and advanced suspension systems. TM&LS serves both military and commercial interests domestically and internationally. TM&LS is based in New Orleans, Louisianna and has products operating in 35 countries worldwide backed up by significant committment to independent research and development.
VSEL now a subsidiary company of GEC Marconi is a world leader in the development and manufacture of defence equipment both in the Naval and Land systems sectors. Key programs include nuclear and conventional submarines, surface vessels, and large caliber guns including the royal Navy's 4:5 MK8 Naval Gun, NATO's FH70 feild howitzer, the British Army's AS90 Self Propelled Howitzer and now UFH, the Ultra-lightweight Field Howitzer.
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