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Portuguese Army seeks to boost its field artillery by 2030

The Portuguese Army is planning a significant field artillery modernisation by 2030, which is likely to begin with new radar acquisitions next year.

Portugal's 2019–30 Military Programming Law, worth EUR4.6 billion (USD5.47 billion), includes EUR31 million for field artillery modernisation projects, although some equipment will be acquired from other projects.

A yet-to-be-defined number of weapon locating and battle surveillance radars will be acquired starting in 2022, Major Ricardo Jorge Parcelas Araújo e Silva, area co-ordinator at the Forces Planning Division, told Janes .

The force has three field artillery battalions, mainly equipped with M114A1 155 mm/23 cal mm, M109A5 155 mm/39 cal, and M119 Light Gun 105 mm/30 cal howitzers; Tampella Standard 120 mm mortar; AN/TPQ-36(V)8 Firefinder weapon locating radar; Viking 2000 gun laying system; INFRONT 3D simulator; Gunzen MK3 computer; RATAC-S battlefield surveillance radar; and the SACC (Sistema Automático de Comando e Controle) automatic command-and-control system consisting of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), V2A2 LC and Tacter 31A computers, and a gun display unit.

According to the Forces Planning Division, other priorities are modernising the 18 M119 guns for the Rapid Reaction Brigade's Field Artillery Battalion. This would involve updating the gun's main components, installing a pointing system, replacing the AFATDS, and acquiring small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Integrating AFATDS in the EyeCommand Battle Management System (BMS) is also being considered.

To replace the Intervention Brigade's M114A1s, which have been in service since 1983, the army is considering 155 mm/52 cal towed or self-propelled options, the Forces Planning Division said. About EUR18 million was approved to fund the acquisition between 2024 and 2030.

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