Spain to build artillery units to guard coasts with missiles

The process of arming coastal artillery units with missile-launching capabilities is underway by the Army, as reinforced by Colonel Rafael de Felipe, Director of the Artillery Academy, during his conventional Arms holiday speech, in Santa Barbara. 

Spain to build artillery units to guard coasts with missiles
Photo credit: Spanish MoD

Colonel de Felipe elaborated that the Headquarters for Artillery Training and Doctrine [Jadart] is currently immersed in obtaining a new direction of fire and missiles. This is required to equip the Coastal Artillery Regiment [Racta] No. 4 with ground missile capabilities. 

It had long been recognized by the Field Artillery Command [MACA] – the authority governing the aforementioned regiment – that such needs exist. Colonel de Felipe verified during his address that the operational necessity document outlining the requirements for the new missile system for Cancer No. 4 has already been submitted to MACA. However, the report does not clearly express the stage of the program or whether a viable solution for the system has already been found. 

The Coastal Artillery Regiment [Racta] No. 4, spread between Camposoto barracks in San Fernando and El Bujeo and Punta Camarinal in the municipality of Tarifa, is the sole Army unit equipped and trained to establish defense and coastal control at any point within Spanish territories, or wherever international obligations demand it, as underscored by the Land Army.

V07 howitzers

The primary strength of the regiment lies in its towed 155/52 mm model V07 howitzer, a land variant of the SIAC. Boasting 16 units, these devices will undergo updates according to a recent agreement between the army and Santa Bárbara Sistemas, the producer of the equipment. 

In addition to the howitzer, key older systems contribute to its capabilities, including the Radar Acquisition and Reconnaissance [RAE], the 9KA Mobile Coastal Fire Direction System, the Hercules Command and Control System, and mobile observation posts. The newest advanced units arrived in the early part of the 21st century. 

As a unit specializing in coastal artillery, the Army’s aim is to play a role, within the collaborative military network, in managing and defending the nation’s coasts, with a special focus on the Strait of Gibraltar. The Army further clarifies that mobile coastal artillery units may also be deployed in line with operational plans for coastal defense in regions beyond the Strait of Gibraltar.

Santa Bárbara Sistemas 155/52

The 155/52 artillery system from Santa Bárbara Sistemas boasts a slew of cutting-edge features, including a split trail carriage, hydro-pneumatic recoil mechanism, autofretted rifled barrel, and a sophisticated muzzle brake. Its barrel is the product of German engineering powerhouse Rheinmetall, while SBS meticulously crafts the gun carriage. 

When it comes to transportation, the innovative design allows the split trail carriage to fold up, while the barrel spins 180°, ready to be towed by an IVECO Pegaso 6×6 artillery tractor. The system also incorporates a 106 hp [79 kW] diesel Auxiliary Power Unit [APU], situated towards the front of the carriage, accommodating a practical driver’s station. This configuration enables the gun to proceed at 18 km/h [11 mph] over short distances. In addition, the APU feeds the hydraulic Automatic Gun Laying System [AGLS], ensuring smooth control over elevation, traverse, spreading, and retraction. When the gun is in motion powered by the APU, two retractable wheels located at the gun carriage’s tail can be extended for added stability. 

The howitzer is capable of firing a wide array of separate loading projectiles, conforming to NATO standards, such as extended range base bleed and rocket-assisted projectiles, and covering distances up to 40 km [25 mi]. Additionally, it sports a highly efficient hydraulic ammunition loader, which allows loading at any angle, thereby ensuring a high firing rate.

155/52 APU-SIAC

The Santa Bárbara Sistemas 155/52 APU-SIAC, a prestigious model embraced by the Spanish Army, boasts a production run of 66 units out of the 70 that were originally ordered. Each powerful howitzer is outfitted with state-of-the-art Thales PR4G radios and utilizes the highly efficient Digital Navigation Aiming and Pointing System [DINAPS]—the same system employed by the L118 and M109A5E models. 

The DINAPS represents a revolutionary leap in military technology. As a modular hybrid system, it seamlessly blends the capabilities of inertial navigation, a global positioning system [GPS], and a muzzle velocity radar [MVR]. The result? A comprehensive communication link to the Spanish Army’s command and control system [C2]. Producing this high-tech system required an investment of around 181 million Euros, underpinning the commitment to excellence and cutting-edge technology within the Spanish armed forces.


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