M777 crew replaced the howitzer barrel four times due to overuse
KYIV ($1=36.80 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — A Ukrainian crew of the M777 towed howitzer has changed the barrel of its weapon system four times. Since it was delivered and put into service, 6,000 rounds have been fired from their M777. This was written on Twitter by Björn Stritzel, the chief foreign policy correspondent of the German publication Bild.
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Stritzel writes that the Ukrainians were warned during training by Canadian instructors that a barrel on this towed howitzer was replaced after 2,500 rounds. But, despite this upper limit on the amount of ammunition fired, the Ukrainians noticed that the accuracy was deteriorating, which led to an earlier replacement of all four barrels. Stritzel wrote that the howitzer fired mostly the M795 and older M549A1 HERA ammunition.
Stritzel notes another interesting fact. The Ukrainian gunners on the said M777 howitzer told him that they had removed the SINCGARS/DAGR/PIK. Despite this “reconstruction”, the howitzer has remained quite precise and accurate, says the Bild correspondent in Ukraine. The Ukrainian gunners like the howitzer and would not trade it for the Polish Krab or the German PzH 2000. They even boasted to Stritzel that in one day their M777 destroyed three Russian main battle tanks.
It was reported
In fact, BulgarianMilitary.com reported back in September that the M777s had barrel problems. The reason is exactly what is in the specific case – intensive use, above the norm, of the barrels. The manufacturer himself did not imagine when developing this artillery years ago that it would have to perform such a performance.
The US is trying to solve this problem for Ukraine so that the Ukrainian armed forces do not experience the lack of weapons while a repair is underway. For this reason, Poland came to host repair shops near the Ukrainian border. The repair shops are financed by the Pentagon, and the repairs will be done by Ukrainians and Americans.
Not only M777
The M777 is not the only weapon system that shows defects if we can call them overload. BulgarianMilitary.com published a list in August of six key weapons that the Ukrainians say they are experiencing difficulties and problems with. These are the French Caesar self-propelled howitzer, the American M109 howitzer, the Polish Krab howitzer, M777 [which we already wrote about], the Italian-supplied FH70 howitzer, and the German PzH 2000.
The problems with these howitzers are different. For example, the German PzH 2000 very often overheats the display of the fire control system. The French Caesar, on the other hand, sometimes randomly blocks or has an inaccuracy of 800-900 meters on the first shot.
When Germany supplied the Ukrainian armed forces with its Gepard anti-aircraft gun, a few weeks later a serious problem was discovered. As the German publication Spiegel wrote, the Norwegian 35mm ammunition that was developed for the German gun was not recognized by the Gepard firing system. However, this problem was solved at a later stage.
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