Artillery in the 21st Century – Proven, Flexible and Tailored
AGM mounted on a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) chassis.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s state-of-the-art artillery system solutions
09:12 GMT, February 18, 2010 Emanating from the world’s most combat proven and effective tube artillery system, the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer), Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) developed an independent artillery module, fully meeting current military requirements.
Accurate fire power is and remains an important military requirement. In current conflicts such as in Afghanistan, the PzH2000 could prove that this system can be perfectly deployed in asymmetric combat theatres. During Operation Medusa and the Battle of Chora, the Dutch PzH2000 effectively supported coalition forces and eliminated targets up to a distance of 46 kilometres. Indirect fire support is and remains an important element in current, as well as in future conflict scenarios, and is an option that armed forces are less frequently prepared to abandon in operations abroad.
Current conflicts have proven that all future weapons systems will be expected to provide a high level of flexibility. In accordance with this new requirement and the profile of allied armed forces, the artillery system of the 21st century will need to have a high level of mobility, of independence for the integration onto various platforms, as well as of air-transportability with strategic transport aircraft such as the A400M. The next-generation artillery system is planned to be deployed for a variety of missions as a highly flexible fire-support component for the troops.
Further, this new requirement profile places high expectations on technology, as the desired flexibility comes along with a significant weight reduction which, however, may not affect performance or protection of the vehicle. KMW has successfully achieved this balancing act with its currently evaluated Artillery Gun Module (AGM).
Artillery Gun Module
The development of the 155 / L52 Artillery Gun Module has been closely aligned to the requirements of deployed troops and incorporates the logistical requirements of the new realities of military operations. The size and weight of the innovative artillery module allows rapid deployment and, hence, is qualified for evacuation operations, regionally limited peace-building missions or “show of force” scenarios. Dependent on the weight of the carrier vehicle, the AGM can be deployed by strategic airlift. This makes the AGM a suitable mobile mission component wherever close air support or heavy forces are not feasible, unavailable or too costly.
While being an independent 155mm/52-calibre artillery system, the AGM offers the identical performance parameters as the PzH2000 in terms of range and precision. With a range of up to 56 kilometres with full area coverage, and providing a level of precision which, by then, could not be conceived, the PzH2000 is the worldwide leading artillery system and is currently deployed with four NATO allies. So far, more than 330 systems have been produced and delivered by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The mission spectrum of the AGM ranges from conventional artillery fire support to the use of C-RAM systems (Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar).
KMW has successfully integrated these performance parameters into a compact Artillery Gun Module. The module is designed to be fully platform independent by integrating the fully automated propellant charge magazine and loading device, including a total stock of 30 rounds, into the module. The electrically driven and digitally controlled round loading system provides the fully automated loading of the gun. Additionally, a revolutionary propellant charge magazine and loading system has been developed to accomplish a completely automated firing sequence for the AGM.
With a firing rate of six rounds per minute, the modular charges are being controlled by the on-board computer, loaded from the magazine chambers into the gun chamber by the round carrier and, subsequently, fired.
Automated Loading of Propellant Charges
The conceptual key element of the AGM is the newly developed automated propellant charge loading systems. It enables an uncrewed-operation of the weapon system and, thereby, provides platform independence. Due to the automated charge loading system, the charges do not have to be loaded manually and, therefore, only requires a driver and the gunner for the handling of the weapon system. The reduction of required personnel, compared to conventional artillery systems, increases the safety of the crew, as no crew member is exposed to the gun or loading system during combat operations.
The round magazine in the front section of the module is arranged in a circle around the round carrier and consists of several chambers in which the rounds are positioned upright. The position of each round is assigned and managed by the on-board computer. The round carrier automatically loads and extracts the rounds from the magazine chambers.
The position of the individual rounds is assigned and managed by the on-board computer. The round carrier loads and extracts these rounds from the magazine chambers. Further, the modular propellant charges are prepared according to the fire mission and loaded into the chamber after the round has been rammed in.
First Development Stages
The first prototype of the AGM was completed in 2004. The Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) platform was chosen as the carrier vehicles and was prepared for the integration of the AGM by integrating a pivot bearing on the chassis and by further minor modifications.
The first test firing in September 2004 validated the stability and ability of the chassis as well as of the module to withstand the strain. 79 rounds were successfully fired in direct succession during this live firing test. Further tests proved the system’s full stability throughout the entire operational arc of the system (Azimuth: 6400, Elevation: 0 to +1150n). Firing from a mobile position also accomplished the desired targeting precision and performance of the PzH2000.
Additional developments in the automation resulted in a second AGM demonstrator, which was equipped with the new automated propellant charge loading system. Also, the operating interface, as well as the fire control system and other control components, have been completely renewed and adjusted to meet state-of-the-art demands. The variable elevated body of the weapon system has also been newly developed in order to reduce the overall weight of the module and, thereby, create more flexibility. Furthermore, an automated sealing actuator has been installed in the weapon system.
During the live-firing tests in April/May 2006, the AGM Demonstrator 2 successfully validated the fully automated loading sequence as well as the propellant charge loading operation. Furthermore, the automation of the round and propellant charge selection, as well as the individual fuse programming, proved their worth. The required parameters have all been met: a firing rate of 3 rounds in 15 seconds and 6 rounds in 60 seconds have been achieved in the fully automated operation. In different sequences, ten shots from each of the three DM72 modules have been fired within 139 seconds. Even the fully remote-controlled procedure has been successfully demonstrated.
The DONAR Project
After these successful tests, the management of General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas (GDSBS) and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann met on 21 December 2006 and discussed the feasibility of integrating the Artillery Gun Module onto the chassis of the ASCOD armoured fighting vehicle. Following a pre-investment study, the realisation of the project began in May 2007. Under the project name “DONAR”, the first prototype was completed in a very short time. In April 2008, GDSBS delivered the modified ASCOD chassis, onto which the KMW’s AGM was to be integrated. In May, first firing tests were carried out with DONAR and in June the system went on public display, for the first time, at the EUROSATORY trade show in Paris.
The DONAR armoured artillery system is a revolutionary further development of conventional artillery systems. Its low combat weight of 35 tonnes (20 tonnes less than the PzH2000) provides DONAR with a combat mobility which, so far, has not been achieved by any artillery system. With a turning radius of two metres along with a range of 500 kilometres, DONAR offers the mobility of a state-of-the-art armoured fighting vehicle.
The protection of the crew has been maximised to a high NATO standard, reaching level 3a/3b STANAG 4569 while featuring a low silhouette as well as enhanced cabin protection. With a level 1 STANAG 4569 protection, the AGM module offers the same level of protection as the turret of the PzH2000. Thereby the crew, as well as the system, is effectively protected against small arms fire and shell splinters from artillery and mortar munitions. All dimensions of the system correspond to the European tunnel standard and further allows easy transportation of the system by air or rail.
The fully automated gun laying system and loading system enables a remote-controlled firing operation throughout the weapon system’s entire operational arc. Due to this characteristic, and the low gross weight of 12 tonnes, the AGM can be integrated as an independent module onto a variety of platforms.
Currently, the AGM is successfully integrated in the DONAR project, jointly executed with General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), as well as onto the MLRS platform. Besides these tracked carrier vehicles, the integration onto wheeled vehicles or on naval platforms, as well as its use as an autonomous ground module, can be implemented. KMW currently carries out concept studies for the integration of the AGM onto the chassis of the BOXER armoured fighting vehicle as well as of the PUMA infantry fighting vehicle.
Could this open the door for certain Israeli and/or Brit systems...........???
The U.S. Army's Non Line-of-Sight Launch System's (NLOS-LS) Precision Attack Missile failed to hit its target four out of six times during recent testing, according to a testing document.
The six test shots took place at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., between Jan. 26 and Feb. 5 and were part of a flight-limited user test for the system, Army spokesman Paul Mehney confirmed.
Test missiles failed to hit a moving tank 20 kilometers away, a moving infantry vehicle 10 kilometers away, a stationary tank 30 kilometers away, and a stationary truck 35 kilometers away. It missed the infantry vehicle by 20 meters, and the truck by 25 kilometers.
The missile failed to hit its target both times it relied solely upon its infrared seeker, the document also states.
The missiles did hit two of their targets, a stationary tank and a moving infantry fighting vehicle, both 15 kilometers away. For the moving vehicle, the missile used its laser-anoint mode, and for the stationary tank, the missile relied on its laser-designate mode, according to the document.
The tests were conducted by soldiers from the fires battalion of the 1st Armored Division's 5th brigade, Mehney said in an e-mail. The independent test data collection and observation was carried out by the Army's Operational Test Command, he added.
"The Army is currently evaluating test data and observations, the results are required as part of the March 2010 Interim Defense Acquisition Board review as outlined in the Dec. 22, 2009 Increment 1 [low-rate initial production acquisition decision memorandum]," said Mehney.
In March, Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter will review the results of the limited user test, including the Army's findings from its investigation into the missile failures.
The NLOS-LS Precision Attack Missiles (PAM) are slated to cost $466,000 apiece in 2011, according to budget documents submitted to Congress Feb. 1.
An ongoing Army precision munitions portfolio review is looking at scaling back the final number of PAM missiles purchased and possibly launching a new program to develop a cheaper alternative weapon.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The failure of four of six shots from the U.S. Army’s Non Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) during recent testing could spell trouble for the Raytheon-built vertical launcher, which also is supposed to be fielded aboard the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
Results from a Limited User Test (LUT) of the system, which ran from Jan. 26 to Feb. 5 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., are currently under evaluation. The NLOS-LS’s surprisingly poor performance — attributed to a combination of operator error and technical failures — will be the primary topic of discussion during an interim Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) meeting in March. The DAB was slated to review Increment 1 capabilities of the Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM) program, of which NLOS-LS is an integral part.
Raytheon issued an official statement, that read in part, “Of the six LUT flights, two were direct hits, two were misses with root cause known and corrective action implemented, and two were misses with root cause currently under investigation.”
The company noted that over the course of the program, the Precision Attack Missile (PAM) has fired 23 missiles with 14 direct hits. “NLOS-LS is in the system design and development phase,” Raytheon said. “We test in order to identify issues and quickly resolve them.”
The Army has three choices, according to BCTM spokesperson Paul Mehney: “Keep [NLOS-LS] going, modify it or cancel it.” The Army’s big concern is that NLOS-LS fills an important capability gap. “We don’t have an easily deployable guided missile system,” Mehney said. “The operational factors of NLOS-LS are still necessary. The Army needs to determine the best path forward to work out any technical solutions that may come out as a result of the LUT.”
This project achieved First Pass approval on 14 February 2006, to explore the acquisition of not less than two batteries of protected self-propelled howitzers, not more than four batteries of lightweight towed howitzers, precision guided munitions and a digitised, networked Battle Management System. In-service delivery is anticipated from 2011.
I must have lost this on the old T5C, but when is a decision going to be made on either PzH 2000 or the AS-9?
Army Fast-Tracking Precision Mortar to Afghanistan
(Source: U.S Army; issued March 10, 2010)
The U.S. Army is poised to deliver precision mortar rounds to soldiers in Afghanistan by the end of this year as part of an accelerated effort to give commanders there an improved ability to destroy targets in the mountainous terrain, service officials said.
"You can drop one on a target to execute the mission and stay on target," said Brig. Gen. John Maddux, Program Executive Officer, Ammunition. "Also, this will decrease the footprint of conventional ammo in theater because you only need one to make first kill."
The program -- called Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) -- emerged as a result of an urgent request from commanders in Afghanistan who seek the ability to pinpoint targets using precision or GPS -guided mortar rounds.
APMI improves upon the 136-meter Circular Error Probable (CEP) of conventional mortars by reducing it to about 10-meters, said Bruce Kay, Department of the Army Systems Coordinator, Mortar Systems.
"This is a 120mm mortar round that provides precision capability to ground forces. A current conventional mortar round has an accuracy of about a 136-meter CEP. With APMI, we have been able to demonstrate a less than 10-meter CEP," Kay said. "This provides a far improved capability to the ground forces commander. "
Precision mortars are needed in the mountains of Afghanistan and in areas where reducing collateral damage is essential, Kay said.
"This is designed for a precision capability such as against a sniper in a building, or enemies in a bunker or trench. If you were to engage with a conventional mortar round, you would have to fire 8-to-10 rounds to kill or suppress the target. With APMI, you will probably be able to do the same thing with one or two rounds."
APMI will soon begin phase two testing that includes safety certification and qualification testing necessary to meet the urgent material release requirements.
The Army will soon down-select and choose one of three industry teams competing for the award. Each of the three teams, Raytheon-Israeli Military Industries, General Dynamics and ATK, have put their respective APMI rounds through a series of rigorous tests.
"Each vendor brought in 25 rounds. Each vendor was compared against the same standards. They did extreme weather testing and safety testing, among others," said Kay.
Alongside APMI, the Army will still need conventional mortars for area and suppressive fires, Army officials said.
"There is a balance of how much conventional munitions and how much precision munitions we need. We are working now to determine that," said Maddux.
APMI could expand beyond Afghanistan once the rounds have been demonstrated successfully in combat, Kay said.
BAE Producing 24 Archer Systems For Norway, Sweden Armies
By andrew chuter
Published: 26 Mar 2010 08:18
The Norwegian and Swedish armies are each to receive 24 new Archer self-propelled artillery systems as a result of a 135 million pound ($200 million) launch order struck with the weapons developer BAE Systems.
The Archer self-propelled artillery system. (BAE SYSTEMS) The first of the 155mm guns will be delivered in October 2011 with production continuing for two additional years.
The Archer system has been developed under a 100 million pound contract awarded by the two governments in 2003. It's the first major result of an effort across the Nordic nations to increase collaboration on weapons development and procurement.
The weapon primarily comprises BAE's Swedish produced FH77 B05 52 caliber cannon with a modified Volvo 6x6 commercial articulated vehicle. The Norwegian Protector remote weapon station produced by Kongsberg will be fitted to the cab of the Volvo vehicle.
The Global Combat System Weapons arm of BAE said in a statement issued March 26 that the automated weapon system can respond to calls for fire within 30 seconds while the ordnance can be stowed and ready for rapid redeployment within 30 seconds of the completion of a fire mission.
News of the Nordic artillery award comes at the end of a bad week for BAE's land systems business following the loss of a major armoured vehicle order in the U.K. to rivals General Dynamics. BAE was offering the Swedish built CV90 vehicle.
The British contract announcement earlier this week did offer some small consolation to BAE. The MoD reconfirmed its intention to use the 40mm cannon developed by the BAE/Nexter joint venture CTA International.
Use of the cannon has been previously mandated by the Ministry of Defence for the scout version of the new British armoured vehicle and a Warrior infantry vehicle update. Speculation recently circulating in the U.K. had hinted at the British having second thoughts about the cannon.
BAE Systems Awarded £135 Million Artillery Production Contract
(Source: BAE Systems; issued March 26, 2010)
The Archer truck-mounted self-propelled gun was developed by Bofors (now BAE Systems); deliveries to Norway and Sweden will begin in 2011 and be completed in 2013. (BAE photo)
Interesting image, there is a lot of add-on armour on the vehicle.........
KARLSKOGA, Sweden --- BAE Systems has been awarded a £135 million ($200m) contract to commence series production of 48 Archer 155mm self-propelled artillery gun systems and their associated ammunition handling systems for the Swedish and Norwegian armed forces.
The first operational systems are expected to be delivered in October 2011 and production will continue over the following two years. This production contract follows a £100m ($146m) development programme which began in 2003.
Mike Smith, managing director of BAE Systems, Global Combat Systems Weapons said: “Archer is an important programme for the armed forces of both countries and for BAE Systems’ land business, as it is in a core area for us and will provide a springboard for future exports. We appreciate the effort and cooperation that the FMV and FLO – the national procurement agencies - have invested in ensuring the procurement of the most advanced and capable artillery system for the Swedish and Norwegian armies.”
Archer is an advanced and automated artillery gun system in production, designed for rapid deployment and high mobility in the most demanding operational scenarios. The digital fire control system and automatic gun-laying capability allows a response to calls for fire within 30 seconds while the ordnance is securely stowed and ready for rapid redeployment within 30 seconds of the completion of a fire mission.
The Archer system combines the proven firepower of the BAE Systems’ FH77 B05 52 calibre cannon with a modified Volvo commercial A30E 6x6 rugged articulated vehicle. The weapon provides an enhanced operational capability, delivering concentrated firepower with conventional munitions to a range of 40 km+ and to ranges up to 50km with advanced munitions while the crew of three remains fully protected in the armoured cab command module.
The Archer system is based on well-proven sub-systems and can fire a full range of western standard munitions many of which have been developed entirely by BAE Systems or in conjunction with international partners, such as the BONUS projectile, dispensing precision targeting sub-munitions or the highly effective Excalibur precision guided round.
The Archer production go-ahead follows another green light this week for a BAE Systems bi-national collaboration on an advanced weapon system. On Monday the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that the Anglo-French CTA weapons system was mandated for the FRES SV and Warrior upgrade programmes.
BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).
Interesting image, there is a lot of add-on armour on the vehicle.........
You can put on all the armour you want,but all it would take would be a well directed small rpg round into that space between the cab and the rear section and she ain't going anywhere. Great gun ... wrong platform.
NONE of the wheeled guns have more than token protection against RPG's and the 8x8's do NOT have the cross-country ability or agility of the Volvo tractor used here. Is it ideal? Nope it's not BUT it's far from the worst around in the wheeled sector..........