WARSAW, (BM) – The US Department of Defense has begun the search for new wheeled self-propelled howitzers for the US military, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the Polish news agency Defence24.
Manufacturers of existing 155 mm barrel artillery systems on a wheeled chassis, which are to be extensively tested by American gunners, are invited to participate in the field trials.
Those interested in the inquiry may submit their proposals to the American Ministry of Defense, and the return invitations to participate in the procedure are planned for the third quarter of this year, and in the fourth quarter of this year. it is planned to select bidders who will take part in the trials.
The condition for participation in the procedure is that the tenderer provides transport and technical support of a selected wheeled self-propelled howitzer along with an ammunition truck for Shoot-Off tests without the need to provide own ammunition and service, which is provided by the user, similar to e.g. fuel.
Interestingly, the US Army is also to provide the M776 gun, which is part of the M777 howitzer, so that it can be used in tests, if so desired [to avoid possible problems with ammunition compatibility]. However, the condition for its use will be the presentation by the participant of a credible concept of integrating this function in the system. The tests are to be carried out at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, which was scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.
The results of the tests carried out, including test shootings, are to allow for examining the possibility of meeting the requirements of the US Army as widely as possible by the existing structures and obtaining information in order to create the conditions for the selection and implementation of the target system of this class, which is to be used by the US Army in the future. So far, the American artillerymen did not have the full-time 155 mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers.
The introduction of these systems into service will complement the potential represented by the currently operated self-propelled tracked howitzers and towed howitzers. In addition, it will allow to obtain completely new combat capabilities, thanks to the combination of mobility, low weight and size, and the possibility of easy air transport.
What is particularly important, this is to ensure the possibility of more mobile artillery support for brigade combat teams armed with Stryker transporters, which today use M777 howitzers.
Currently in service with the U.S. In the Army there are three basic types of artillery systems, including up to 1,500 copies of the 155 mm M109 Paladin tracked self-propelled howitzers [a large part is in reserve, the M109A6 and A7 versions are in service] and about 500 copies of the ultra-light 155 mm M777A1 / A2 and about 800 M119A2 / A3 towed howitzers.
The introduction of a new wheeled self-propelled howitzer into service with the American army will make it possible to withdraw from line service and eventually replace some of the towed systems, as well as increase the potential of the American artillery thanks to the implementation of a lightweight and mobile system capable of using precision ammunition.
The new US howitzer is able to hit long range targets, but has a problem
As we reported on March 9 the United States are developing a new 155-mm self-propelled howitzer based on the M109A7, which is being created to intimidate China and Russia.
The columnist for the American publication, Patrick Tucker, recalls that the Pentagon does not intend to get a modernized self-propelled artillery mount (ACS), but a completely new weapon, which will be designated XM1299.
During tests conducted at the Yuma training ground in Arizona, the 58th caliber XM1299 cannon was able to hit targets at a distance of 65 kilometers, which is much farther than the traditional 18-kilometer howitzer. According to officials, the Excalibur precision munition successfully hit the target.
“This has been the longest test so far for a cannon, which is essentially a modernized howitzer being developed as part of a program to expand the range of cannon artillery,” reads the publication Defense One.
According to General John Rafferty, this gun promises a new way to attack targets that are located about 20-60 kilometers from the shooter.
The U.S. Army ordered 18 XM1299s, which should go into service in 2023. The Pentagon also considers various shells, including those that use a ramjet engine. Rafferty said the contractor will demonstrate it this year.
The main problem that the new self-propelled guns are now facing is the completion of the forklift, which will allow the gun to fire from six to eight rounds per minute. According to Rafferty, just such a rate of fire will allow to clear the enemy’s position in the way a huge bomb would do. However, he notes that the forklift is not a simple machine.
“He needs to charge ammunition, rocket fuel and a fuse-correcting course, which allows the projectile to change direction in the air,” the general said.
Thus, despite a number of successes in creating the XM1299, American gunsmiths still cannot solve the main problem of the latest self-propelled guns.
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