Spain begins four-year upgrade of its 155 mm towed howitzers
MADRID, SPAIN — The company Santa Barbara Sistemas will work over the next four years to upgrade the towed 155/52 mm howitzers in service with the artillery units of the Spanish Army.
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The company won an important contract worth 36.3 million euros. It includes preventive, corrective, and evolutionary maintenance and performing major overhauls on this howitzer model. The work will be carried out at the company’s facilities in Alcalá de Guadaira, a center specialized in the life cycle of weapons systems. In this plant, the company is also working on the fine-tuning of the first Leopard 2A4s that Spain will send to Ukraine.
The contract specifically provides for a thorough review of the entire fleet of 155 mm howitzers in service, in two versions, SIAC [field artillery] and V07 [coastal artillery], as well as maintenance and updating of obsolete ones. The Army specifies in the specifications that it covers “ten years of preventive maintenance and the corrective tasks found in that maintenance.”
The Army specifies that “maintenance tasks will also include those necessary for the proper operation of the software associated with the systems, equipment, assemblies or subassemblies subject to this contract,” which includes modifying or installing updates, fixing incidents, reinstalling system software, debugging code, and implementing improvements.
The works affect the two types of howitzers, the specific towing vehicle, the auxiliary elements associated with the howitzer, the elements for integrating the howitzer in the direction of fire, the equipment of the second to fourth echelon maintenance workshop, and the inertial systems for positioning, navigation, and targeting [Sipnap] not only on the 155/52 but also on Light-Gun howitzers and self-propelled M109 A5s.
Among the tasks that must be completed are the entry check; fire hydrant disassembly and inspection and shut-off; dismantling brakes, lifting batteries, recuperator or striker; installation of the brake assembly, lifting accumulators and recuperator; dismantling of assemblies; revision of constructions [masts, spear, rods, lashing, carriage, tow-carriage, rear swing, front swing..]; final assembly and tests; ITV; and settlement shot.
“This extensive, specialized, and complementary maintenance to that carried out in the units in which the above system operates, as well as in the Park and Ordnance Maintenance Center, will ensure its comprehensive maintenance and its full operational capability,” the Defense announced after received contract approval in December.
These 155/52 howitzers were manufactured by Santa Barbara Sistemas at the Trubia weapons factory and were acquired at the beginning of this century by the army to renew and modernize its artillery capacity. Both have a rate of fire of eight rounds per minute. The Army has 82 units of this howitzer model: 16 of the 155/52 V07 variant, in service with coastal artillery units, and 66 of the 155/52 SIAC variant used in field artillery units.
They can reach targets located at a distance of 18 kilometers with ordinary ammunition, but the distance can be increased to 40 kilometers with the use of special ammunition. With a caliber of 155 millimeters, they have a 23-liter chamber, a length of 8.12 meters, and a weight of almost 13 tons.
The integrated system also consists of a specific tractor [VET] model Iveco-Pegaso 250.40W, which provides off-road mobility, a double cabin, and a cargo box with the capacity to transport the unit’s crew, as well as 16 full rounds [shells and cargo].
There is the ability to start fires at any time [day/night, with little influence from bad weather] and to be available for short periods [around five minutes] to carry out fire fighting actions [depending on the level of alarm established].
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