Israel’s ATMOS triumphs as future Brazilian 155mm wheeled artillery

The 155mm ATMOS self-propelled howitzer from Israeli Elbit Systems has emerged victorious in the tendering process conducted by the Brazilian army for future 155mm wheeled artillery. This news has been reported by SA Defensa via their post on X [formerly Twitter]. “Exército Brasileiro has officially chosen the Israeli ATMOS as the undisputed winner of the VBCOAP 155 SR competition. Elbit Systems surpassed the French CAESAR, Slovakian Zuzana 2, and Chinese SH-15,” read the tweet. 

The Israeli ATMOS [Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System] is a 155 mm/52 caliber self-propelled gun system, developed by Soltam Systems, which now operates under the umbrella of Elbit Systems. It is regarded as one of the most advanced artillery units available in the international arms market, lauded for providing superior firepower, enhanced mobility, and a simple setup process for battlefield deployment. 

ATMOS is mounted on either a 6X6 or 8X8 high-mobility truck chassis to ensure off-road resilience. One of the system’s key features is its design flexibility, which allows for the incorporation of various types of gun barrels and compatibility with any NATO standard 155mm ammunition. This adaptability makes ATMOS an optimal choice for meeting differing operational demands.

Israel's ATMOS triumphs in future Brazilian 155mm wheeled artillery
Photo credit: Elbit Systems

Used rounds

One of the most common rounds used is the High Explosive [HE]. This type of round is designed to inflict maximum damage on enemy personnel and light structures. The ATMOS also can fire Base Bleed [BB] rounds, which have a specialized base that reduces air resistance, thereby increasing the artillery’s range. They come in handy, particularly for long-range engagements. 

Additionally, the ATMOS can use smoke rounds. These specific rounds are designed to create a smokescreen which can obscure the battlefield and make it more challenging for the enemy to accurately target friendly forces. Lastly, the ATMOS can fire Illumination rounds. These are used to light up the battlefield during night operations, thereby making it easier for friendly forces to both see and engage the enemy.

Cluster munitions represent another type of ammunition that the ATMOS can deploy. These rounds release multiple petite bomblets over an extensive area, inflicting damage on a significant number of targets simultaneously. In addition, the ATMOS possesses the ability to fire Anti-Tank rounds. Specially designed to penetrate the armor of enemy tanks and diverse armored vehicles, the ATMOS emerges as a considerable threat to both enemy personnel and armored divisions. 

Fully automated system

The ATMOS system comes equipped with a fully automated laying and loading system, dramatically enhancing its rate of fire. It can discharge three rounds in 15 seconds in burst mode, and maintain sustained fire of 2 rounds per minute for an hour. It boasts a maximum firing range of 41 km with extended-range ammunition.

Another essential feature of the ATMOS system is its lightweight and compact design. This trait allows for rapid deployment and redeployment, making it perfectly suited for ‘shoot and scoot’ tactics. Moreover, the system includes advanced fire control, navigation, automatic laying, and aiming systems. 

Despite its compact size, the ATMOS does not compromise on crew protection. The cabin and the gun are fully armored, offering protection against small arms fire and shell fragments. Moreover, the system incorporates a nuclear, biological, and chemical [NBC] protection system. 

Brazilian SPHs

Spain is working on trajectory correction fuze in the 155mm shell - M109 howitzer
Photo credit: Wallpaper Flare

The Brazilian Army employs an array of self-propelled howitzers to bolster its artillery capabilities. One of the principal systems in use is the ASTROS II, a multiple rocket launcher developed by Brazil’s own Avibras Industria Aeroespacial. The ASTROS II is a highly mobile system, capable of launching a variety of rockets with differing ranges. It’s often deployed for saturation area bombardment and has seen export to several other countries. 

Another significant self-propelled howitzer in the Brazilian Army’s arsenal is the M109A5. This American-made 155mm turreted system is renowned for its reliability and firepower. The M109A5 is part of the larger M109 family of self-propelled howitzers, which are utilized by many armies around the globe. It offers an optimal balance of mobility, protection, and firepower. 

Finally, the Brazilian Army also operates the Gepard anti-aircraft system. While not a traditional howitzer, the Gepard is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, capable of engaging both air and ground targets. The Gepard is a German-made system, boasting twin 35mm autocannons and sophisticated radar for target acquisition and tracking. It provides the Brazilian Army with a capable and flexible solution for air defense.

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