Israel's Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Elbit Systems announced on 28 March that a contract has been awarded to the company to develop and manufacture a new self-propelled howitzer for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The MoD said this is "one of the largest and most complex procurement plans in the history of the ground forces" and would last a decade. The development of the gun has already begun and after a successful initial demonstration the programme is now moving to the prototype production phase and preparations for serial production, it said.
The contract includes a training simulator and 20 years of comprehensive maintenance that will ensure a very high level of availability.
Elbit said the contract is worth USD125 million and would be performed over a 12-year period.
The new howitzer was not named but both parties described it as a "fully automatic" system that would reduce manpower requirements and maintenance costs. "The system automatically selects, depending on the mission, the type of shell, detonator, and required fuze automatically loading and laying to optimally engage targets," they said.
Elbit added that the howitzer is based on the "know-how and experience" it has accumulated in supplying artillery systems to numerous militaries.
The MoD announced in April 2017 that it had selected Elbit Systems to develop and produce a new howitzer for the IDF. Jane's was told at that time that the new system is based - but not identical to - Elbit's 155 mm ATMOS wheeled self-propelled howitzer, which has been sold to several foreign militaries.
Developed by Soltam Systems, which was acquired by Elbit in 2010, the ATMOS has automatic laying and loading systems and an electronic suite that Elbit says enables "accurate navigation and autonomous operation, reduced crew size, increased fire power, and high precision accuracy".
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