The German Army plans to expand its indirect fire capability and is emphasising its joint fires capability, according to Lieutenant Colonel Uwe Kraft, head of artillery and joint fires branch at the Germany Army's Concepts and Capabilities Development Centre.
The only conventional tube artillery used by the German Army is the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) tracked Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery system, of which a total of 185 were delivered by 2002 from the Kassel production line, but some of these have since been sold to Croatia and Lithuania.
The PzH 2000 has a high rate of fire as it has a semi-automatic handing system that automatically loads the fuzed 155 mm projectile, with the Rheinmetall Modular Charge System (MCS) loaded manually. The self-propelled artillery system carries a total of 60 155 mm artillery projectiles, but it weighs just over 55 tonnes and this limits deployability.
According to the German Army, current plans would take the 108 PzH 2000 through a mid-life upgrade, although the details of this have yet to be finalised.
New 155 mm munitions are to be procured to engage targets at longer ranges. This will include the Diehl Defence/Leonardo Vulcano 155 mm semi-active laser (SAL) guided projectile, which would enable engagements out to 70 km.
Today the German Army's only 155 mm precision artillery projectile is the GIWS SMArt 155, which carries to two top attack munitions. GIWS is a joint venture company formed by Diehl and Rheinmetall. The legacy rounds are running out of shelf life, and production is slated to start again with 'Phase 4' running from 2024 through 2027.
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