The 155mm 52Cal Artillery Truck Mounted Gun Howitzer, known as the ATMOS 2000 (Autonomous Truck MOunted howitzer System), is a new product based on the "Rascal". The ATMOS 2000 is a hybrid of the TATRA T815 VVN 6X6 wheeled Truck chassis, with Soltam made 155mm 45/52 Cal Long-Range Gun. Other combinations of trucks with either 152mm or 155mm [ATMOS] guns are possible, based on customer requirements.
The ATMOS is a light weight, long range, fast moving, truck mounted, self propelled 155mm artillery system. The system's advantages are: High fire power and mobility, rapid deployment, short response time, operable in swampy and soft terrain areas. The system reaches a range of up to 41km with 52 cal.. Integrated with fully computerized systems, achieving automatic control, accurate navigation and target acquisition, the system is offered with various gun calibers, to meet customer requirements, including all peripheral equipment.
The ATMOS is a 6x6 wheeled, self propelled, self contained, fast moving modern artillery piece. Externally mounted with a 155mm gun, that fires all types of 155mm ammunition available worldwide and achieving ranges of 30, 39, 41 when fired with 39, 45, 52 cal. Barrel.
The system can be mounted on a variety of 6x6 and larger "first line" military trucks. The ATMOS includes all necessary to operate and fire the gun, 6 crew members (seated in vehicle's cabin) and their personal equipment, projectiles and propelling charges and all the logistics, which are essential for operating the artillery piece efficiently and autonomously.
The high efficiency main engine & transmission, together with the power steering systems, give the ATMOS high speed, flexibility and excellent cross country performance. In operation, the Howitzer rests on its hydraulic rear spades, which support it while firing. Spades are lowered and dug into ground as soon as the Howitzer stops in its firing position.
The hydraulic power pack operates the Howitzer elevation and traverse gears, as well as the ammunition handling system and the spade's actuators. The hydraulic platform adjusts itself to enable comfortable loading and firing. Laying operations are being controlled by the gunner from a position, in which he can observe the target or aiming point through the sight instrument and at the same time control the system.
The ATMOS gun's aiming gears are hydraulically operated, slaved to an advanced computerized navigation, aiming and ballistic computation system. This autonomous operation enhances and significantly shortens the gun's deployment response and enables autonomous operation of the gun or battery. The system uses all NATO standard 155mm ammunition.
The Romanian army tested a Romanian version and built three 152mm [ATROM] prototypes, but finally canceled the procurement. The Romanian version, called ATROM, used the same 155mm Soltam gun on a locally developed ROMAN 26.360 DFAEG 6x6 truck chassis.
The Ministry of Defense chose Elbit Systems on 04 April 2017. The cost of arming the cannons will reach at least $ 800 million. The defense establishment preferred a cannon entirely to Israeli industry for fear of an embargo on the state and aspects of intellectual property. These cannons will gradually replace the old-fashioned M-109 cannons used by IDF artillery for decades.
The company will lead in the coming years the project of development and equipping the IDF's future propellant. Over the previous months there had been an expectation of the security industries in Israel ahead of the defense establishment's decision on the issue. IAI led its consortium in partnership with the Military Industry (IMI Systems) and the German company KMW for the joint production of the future cannon.Hanwha Techwin teamed with Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI). However, sources close to these companies feared that the Ministry of Defense was planning the giant project for Elbit Systems and to enter into an agreement with it as the "sole supplier" under this plan.
The Defense Ministry, for its part, was careful about the media fog surrounding the decision-making process on this issue and refused to reflect and detail its considerations in the examination process of the future cannon. This is a prestigious and especially expensive plan: the financial scope of the project was not officially disclosed by the defense establishment or by Elbit Systems, but security sources estimated that the cost of acquiring these cannons will reach at least $ 800 million.
The agreement with Elbit Systems Ltd. for a multi-year project for the development and production of hundreds of the future cannon for IDF artillery forces, involved a $1.5 billion procurement deal for the purchase of hundreds of self-propelled artillery pieces to replace outmoded M-109 cannon that have been used for four decades. The cannon offered by Elbit Systems is the ATMOS, parts of which are in the development and testing processes.
The need for the cannons and the quantity to be ordered was reexamined in May 2017 and weighed against Israel's future defense needs. A special joint Ministry of Defense-IDF committee assessed the procurement plan for new self-propelled artillery, Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot agreed. Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi headed the committee. The probe took several months, and involved professional personnel in the IDF, the Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, and other agencies. Part of the discussion focused on the Ministry of Defense's agreement with Elbit Systems as a sole supplier without a tender.
A trial of the cannon conducted in August 2017 in southern Israel ended with disappointing results. Some of the capabilities of its automatic loading system were not demonstrated at all to representatives of the Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure and IDF artillery corps officers. Israel could have procured artillery with an automated loading system that has already demonstrated its operational capabilities in the field. It is unclear how much time the process of developing Elbit Systems' cannon, with all the additions that the IDF wants, will take.
Elbit officially announced 27 March 2019 that it had been awarded a $125 million (NIS 460 million) contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to supply fully automatic self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Israeli Defense Forces The contract, which also includes the supply of training simulators, will be performed over a 12-year period.
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 fuse, 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.
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