US seeks 155mm artillery with digital fire control and cannon cooling

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WASHINGTON — The US military is beginning to look for opportunities to buy or produce a 155mm self-propelled howitzer with digital fire control and cannon cooling, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing SAM.gov. The order was published on January 7 and the first manufacturers are expected to provide the necessary information by February 5, 2022.

Photo credit: Army Recognition

SAM.gov states that this is preliminary market research, which should select the right participants and their products.

The United States has additional requirements for the future new self-propelled howitzer of a new generation. For example, it must allow mounting on a truck. This means that the artillery system is highly mobile, deploys to a stationary artillery cannon, and returns to a vehicle within minutes.

Interested suppliers must provide a design of 155mm self-propelled howitzer, which has an increased range of firing, as well as a larger volume of firing. In addition to cannon cooling and digital fire control, the howitzer must have autonomous modes, subsystems, and components. The new 155mm artillery must allow the installation of various types of weapons to support the firepower of the howitzer.

Cannon cooling

Cannon cooling is a requirement that, if achieved, will not only extend the life of the 155mm cannon but will ensure intense and high firing speeds, which will increase the number of projectiles fired per minute.

According to artillery engineers, cooling of a howitzer cannon is accomplished by integral cooling of the middle wall of the barrel chamber, as well as by cooling the remaining outer surface along the barrel. To obtain the desired effect and evaluate the final result, artillery engineers must model the effects of heating the barrel, which is due to circular firing. It is necessary to determine the degree of radial and axial conductivity in the wall of the barrel. Once the engineers have received the results of these studies, they can determine the optimal size of the radiator for the gun.

Digital fire control

Digital fire control is not a novelty that should surprise participants in the US government study. Even dozens of howitzer models in the United States and around the world currently use these software and hardware solutions, such as the 155 mm Joint Lightweed Texted Artillery Digitzer, the Stryker Mobile Gun System, and HIMARS / MLRS vehicles, and international systems such as LINAPS.

Digital fire control is production automation that, as a result of network-intensive software solutions, allows howitzer shooting from a distance without the need for manual firing by the crew as before.

Digital fire control systems include hardware systems for extreme environments, system integration, display, and computer that controls fire through a series of mathematical calculations, computerized artillery tactical data system, and more.

Why is the US looking for new 155mm howitzers?

The question is significant because only a few months ago, the US government has already assessed several 155mm wheeled howitzers. Military experts say the test results probably did not impress the US military, which should have already decided on a new howitzer in mid-2021.

According to some analysts and artillery experts, the reasons can be reduced to three main ones:

  • The howitzers that have been proposed so far to the US Army do not have the necessary range of fire, as well as to work with more types of portable ammunition than existing ones.
  • The howitzers that have been proposed so far by the US Army do not allow the integration of the cannon on different types of wheeled chassis.
  • The proposed howitzers do not have soft recoil technology. This technology reduces the load on the carriage and other parts of the structure, thus making the wheel system itself much lighter than those currently on the market.

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