Germany increases its artillery power – it buys 12 more PzH 2000s
The German Army [Bundeswehr] will purchase 12 newly produced indigenous self-propelled howitzers. This is the Panzerhaubitze 2000 [PzH 2000], which is manufactured by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann [KMW]. Earlier in the year, Berlin decided to place an order for 18 self-propelled howitzers of the same model. According to KMW reports, the delivery of the 18 ordered howitzers will be made in three equal lots – six per lot.
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The PzH 2000 continues to be actively used in the war between Ukraine and Russia. This self-propelled howitzer is the backbone of German artillery. There are 121 units of this model in the composition of the Bundeswehr. By all accounts, it will play a key role in Ukraine’s artillery as well. That’s because exactly one year ago, in a €1.7 billion deal, Kyiv decided to place an order for 100 PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers.
The order of new self-propelled howitzers for the German army may be the result of alarming data that The Times published last year. According to a report from the German Ministry of Defense, only 60 percent [73 units] of the PzH 2000 are serviceable. Of these 73 units, only 36 are fully functional and have achieved full operational readiness.
Back then, BulgarianMilitary.com reported that 18 self-propelled howitzers had entered for repair. At the same time, the war in Ukraine revealed that the older PzH 2000s that were delivered to the front line were giving problems. In July we reported that the fire control system of the PzH 2000 was giving an error. Experts have determined that this is due to the intense shelling that the Ukrainian armed forces are carrying out. According to sources, 100 rounds per day was considered high intensity by the designers of the PzH 2000. PzH 2000 crews in Ukraine fire many more rounds per day with one self-propelled howitzer.
The PzH 2000 is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer, the development of which was completed in the late 1990s. According to official information, in 1998 the artillery platform entered service with the Bundeswehr.
About PzH 2000
According to the operational characteristics, the PzH 2000 can fire three shells in 9 seconds and 10 shells in one minute. Depending on the projectile used, the effective range of hitting the target is different. For example, if the DM121 projectile is used the range is 30–36 km [19–22 mi]. If the 155mm gun fires the M1711 the range reaches 40–47 km [25–29 mi], while the use of the M2005 V-LAP round allows the howitzer to engage targets up to 67 km [42 mi].
The PzH 2000 is an armored howitzer whose armor is made of welded steel, 14.5 mm resistant, and additional bomblet protection. The main 155mm gun is the L52 model, which is produced by another German company – Rheinmetall. The howitzer is provided with additional secondary armament – a 7.62 mm Rheinmetall MG3 machine gun. Its purpose is close combat.
The German howitzer is powered by a single MTU 881 Ka-500 engine that delivers almost 1,000 horsepower. With a full tank of fuel, the PzH 2000 is capable of traveling a distance of 420 km. The maximum speed of the self-propelled howitzer is 67 km/h, but this is the speed if the platform moves on a road. Off-road speed drops to 45 km/h.
PzH 2000 operators
In addition to the Germans and, as it turned out, Ukraine, other countries have chosen to arm their artillery military units with the German self-propelled 155mm howitzer PzH 2000. These are Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Qatar. According to information from open sources, there are currently 371 self-propelled howitzers of this model delivered to the world.
In its history, this German artillery has proven to be involved in one more military conflict besides the one in Ukraine. This is the war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 and officially ended with the withdrawal of American troops in 2021.
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