US Army plots path ahead for new mobile 155 mm howitzer prototype
12 January 2022
by Ashley Roque
BAE Systems' Archer mobile howitzer competed in a US Army shoot-off in 2021. The service is now eyeing a prototype development programme. (BAE Systems)
The US Army is taking the next step towards developing a new wheeled 155 mm howitzer and is asking companies to participate in a multi-year assessment that could lead to the design of a new weapon system.
In early January the service posted two separate request for information documents related to the howitzer effort – one for a truck and the other for an armament capability. Neither document details a straightforward development or acquisition plan, however, each notes that the service may be interested in developing a new howitzer prototype instead of acquiring one that has already been fielded.
“This request for information (RFI) is issued solely for information and planning purposes, as a means for the government to conduct market research, identifying interested parties and their capability to support the government's interest in exploring next-generation howitzer technologies,” the army wrote in both 7 January documents. “The next-generation howitzer is intended to be a more mobile and survivable 155 mm system with a greater firing range and greater volume of fire than current howitzer systems.”
Ukraine has received PzH 2000 SPHs from Germany and the Netherlands. (KMW)
The Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) is now part of Ukraine's artillery arsenal, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted on 21 June, thanking his German and Dutch counterparts Christine Lambrecht and Kajsa Ollongren.
German and Dutch instructors trained 60 Ukrainian artillery crew members on the SPH at the Bundeswehr's artillery school in Idar-Oberstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, southwestern Germany, starting from the second week of May following Lambrecht's announcement that Berlin would supply Kyiv with seven of the systems.
The SPHs came from the pool of systems being overhauled by Germany's Heeresinstandsetzungslogistik (Army Logistics Maintenance, HIL) organisation.
Ukraine received another five PzH 2000s from the Netherlands.
Other NATO countries are supplying Ukraine with M109 SPHs. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News on the second day of the 15–16 June NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels that London is providing more than 20 M109 155 mm SPHs purchased on the global market and refurbished.
Australia is considering reducing the scope of its programme to procure infantry fighting vehicles. Two platforms are competing for the contract: Rheinmetall's Lynx KF41 and Hanwha's Redback (pictured above). (Hanwha Defense Australia)
The scope of a multi-billion dollar programme to supply the Australian Army with up to 450 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) may significantly be reduced,
According to informed sources, Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) and Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) – the two companies vying for Project Land 400 Phase 3 – were requested by the Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra around 18 June to amend their respective bids to provide 300 IFVs instead of the original 450.
This involves revising the pricing model in the final proposals submitted by both companies in late 2021 at the conclusion of extensive risk mitigation activities involving the Rheinmetall's Lynx KF41 and Hanwha's Redback.
The companies were also asked to submit bridging budgets, enabling the government to consider increasing its order in increments of 50 vehicles. Revised figures were required by the end of July for a decision on the successful contender in September, the sources said.
John Cockerill Defense displayed a Leopard 1 tank with a 3105 turret at Eurosatory 2022. (Janes/Sonny Butterworth)
John Cockerill Defense displayed a Leopard 1 tank with a 3105 turret at the Eurosatory 2022 defence exhibition held in Paris from 13–17 June.
The turret is armed with a NATO-standard Cockerill 105 mm high-pressure gun with a -10/+42° elevation and a 12–16 round autoloader.
John Cockerill Defense CEO Simon Haye told
on 23 June, “We have the possibility to add different systems depending on customer requirements thanks to our open digital architecture.” In the case of anti-tank guided missiles, he said this included the launchers for the Spike and Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP) medium-range missile, which MBDA renamed Akeron MP before Eurosatory.
In addition to a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun, the secondary armament can include a pintle-mounted 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun, or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.
The autoloader reduces turret crew members to two sharing identical commander/gunner sights to operate in hunter-killer mode. There is also a stabilised day/night sight and external cameras providing 360° coverage.
Podcast recording date: 26 April 2022.
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