Saudi interested in Turkish 155mm Panter howitzer: 6rpm, 40km range
RIYADH ($1=3.75 Saudi Arabian Riyals) — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is showing interest and it is possible to buy the Turkish towed Panther howitzer, according to some sources, including the Polish portal Defense24. Turkiye and Saudi Arabia strengthened ties in 2021, and in 2022 there was a high-level meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Various topics were discussed during the bilateral meeting, with the defense industry being one of the main topics of discussion.
- Saudi Arabia will produce THAAD’s missile launchers and canisters
- China to help Saudi Arabia build a missile program in the desert
- Saudi Arabia acquires E-3 Sentry AWACS ‘flying radars’
Saudi Arabia’s interest in the Turkish howitzer is not accidental. Turkiye announced in mid-May this year that it is beginning a process of modernization, and is expected to receive a brand new modern fire control system, manufactured by Turkish company Aselsan. MKEK, the manufacturer of the 155mm Panther, also announced plans to turn the towed howitzer into a wheeled howitzer by integrating the cannon and its fire control system into an 8×8 tactical vehicle.
The Panter howitzer system will feature an updated servo system, electronic units, a hydraulic system, and user interface, as well as digital communication systems. Aselsan says the new Panter wheeled howitzer system will have ballistic calculation software as well as the ability to control the initial velocity of the shots.
There is currently no information on whether Saudi Arabia is interested in the original version of the product or will prefer the “towed howitzer” version, but it is a fact that immediately after the meeting between the Turkish president and the Saudi prince, Turkiye took action to modernize and transform the howitzer.
Panter howitzer is a project and production of the Turkish company MKEK. The design of the howitzers dates back to 1990. In 2000, the serial production of the Panter howitzer began, and in 2002 they were accepted into service in the Turkish Armed Forces. Apart from Turkey, Pakistan is the other operator to have adopted this howitzer.
Panter howitzer is a towed howitzer system. So far, nearly 340 units of it have been produced. It is manned by a crew of six, weighs 18 tons, and is 11.60 meters long.
The gun is 155mm / 52-caliber and developed according to NATO standards and launches artillery shells M107, M549A1 [RAP], and ERFB / Base Bleed. Depending on the type of projectile, the operational range is also different: from 18 to 40 km. The firing frequency is 6 rounds/min [rpm] normal, 3 rounds in 15-sec impact, and 2 rounds/min continuous. The angle between the horizontal plane and the axial direction is −3 Degrees / + 65 Degrees. The feed system is hydraulically powered flick rammer-assisted loading.
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