Germany will provide the ‘long-arm’ of NATO’s artillery

WARSAW, (BM) – Rheinmetall has announced that it has received a contract from an undisclosed NATO member state to supply modern 155mm artillery ammunition with increased range, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. These deliveries were carried out by the South African subsidiary of the Rheinmetall concern – Rheinmetall Denel Munition.

Those mentioned above South African company are to produce several thousand conventional long-range artillery shells from the Assegai family and modular M92 Assegai tactical payloads that can be used by various types of 155 mm barrel artillery systems. The first deliveries are to be made in December 2020 and end by May 2021. The total value of this order is approximately EUR 25 million.

The contract probably concerns a relatively small number of missiles, which results directly from Rheinmetall’s announcement but also a comparison with other deals from the same manufacturer. In 2019, Rheinmetall announced that it had won an order for “over 32,000.” standard DM121 high-explosive shells for 109 million euros gross (for the Bundeswehr), with an option for a further approx. For 37 million euro gross. However, the article’s agreement concerns specialized ammunition – with increased range – which will probably be used next to the standard high-explosive shell.

Rheinmetall ensures that 155mm Assegai ammunition is adapted to the user-operated barrel artillery systems for maximum efficiency. Their modular design also allows for simplification of logistics and handling and is also characterized by lower barrel wear (which increases its service life) and muzzle flash (provides better masking).

However, the increased range of ammunition is of particular importance. During the test shooting at the Alkantpan test site in South Africa in 2019, the soldiers broke several new records regarding indirect artillery fire from various barrel artillery systems. The ammunition with a gas generator (base bleed) then reached 47 km when firing from the PzH 2000 howitzer, and the V-LAP missile – 66.9 km. The latter ammunition was also used for firing a gun with a barrel length of 39 calibers, which – similarly to the PzH 2000 – with the NATO JBMoU standard was 53.9 km.

The use of similar ammunition can, therefore, significantly increase the capabilities of a given artillery system. Of course, it does not have to constitute the majority of a fire unit, but even having a relatively smaller number of shells of this type significantly increases artillery capabilities.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition is a South African joint venture of the German concern Rheinmetall Defense (51% of shares) and the South African company Denel SOC Ltd (49% of shares). The company is a producer of ammunition and explosives for the needs of numerous civil and military users in countries around the world, which is continuously developing its offer of ammo and its types.

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