BERLIN, ($1=0.92 Euros) — The Hungarian armed forces appear to be on the verge of making a procurement decision on a new weapon system based on Rheinmetall’s HX3 155mm howitzer, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Soldat & Technik.
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Hungarian Government Commissioner for Defense Development Gaspar Maroth fueled this impression on his own Facebook page in a video published yesterday, in which he took a seat in the driver’s cab of the vehicle in question and explained the advantages of the system.
It has long been known that the Hungarian armed forces intend to expand the currently rather meager capability of their own artillery beyond the 24 Panzerhaubitzen 2000 that have already been ordered. Ever since Rheinmetall presented the HX3, a new generation of the tried-and-tested vehicle family, last spring and announced the integration of a 155 mm howitzer, rumors have repeatedly been heard in specialist circles regarding a clear interest on the part of Hungary in the system.
These received new impetus when, on March 26, at the opening of the factory for the production of the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle in Zalaegerszeg, western Hungary, an HX3 in the configuration mentioned was part of the static technology show. In the video mentioned, Gáspár Maróth, sitting at the wheel of an HX3, talks about the fact that the system is currently being further developed.
According to the government commissioner, the aim of this is to achieve a range of 82 to 85 km with a caliber length of 60 and the use of intelligent ammunition in addition to a significant increase in precision. Maróth expressly emphasizes that this range would clearly exceed the capabilities of current Russian artillery systems of comparable design. He also mentions both the optional 8×8 and 10×10 wheel configuration of the carrier vehicle.
Hungarian media picked up and discussed the video shortly after it was published. According to press reports, the government commissioner’s statement on a procurement project that has not yet been sealed is extremely unusual and indicates a very advanced process. Should the artillery system be chosen for the HX3 platform, it would not be surprising. After all, Rheinmetall is currently an important partner of the Hungarian government in upgrading the Hungarian army’s capabilities.
Rheinmetall presented the HX3 for the first time in the spring of last year. The HX3 stands in the tradition of the Cat I trucks introduced in the mid-1970s, which led to the most recently presented design status via the Cat I A1, Cat II, SX, LX, HX, and HX2 development stages.
With all-wheel-drive vehicles with two, three, four, and five axles, the HX3 vehicle family covers a wide spectrum of transport, ranging from cargo, logistics, and passenger transport, primarily with containers and swap-body carriers, to carrier vehicles for sensitive precision systems such as radar or howitzers.
Like its predecessors, the HX3 is designed from the ground up for military use in the toughest operating conditions. As far as possible, robust standard assemblies from large series are used as “military off-the-shelf” in the vehicle family, some of which are additionally hardened for the special requirements. The basis is the heavy-duty chassis and powerful engines.
From the front axle with an axle load of eleven tons to the steered rear axle and active rear axle suspension, some components significantly improve road and off-road mobility. Rheinmetall has developed the Artillery Truck Interface [ATI] to absorb the heavy load and the forces involved in firing, with which the HX3 10×10 can be used in the future as a standard base for various artillery solutions or similar weapon systems. When the howitzer variant was presented, it was announced that it would be ready for series production in 2024.
The cab, the driver’s main workplace, is the vehicle’s control center. The modern dashboard from the MAN range provides all the necessary information about the driving condition and, via a newly designed electronic and electrical architecture, allows access to assistance systems such as brake assistant, adaptive distance and cruise control, and lane departure warning.
A digital camouflage mode complements the traditional camouflage settings. This means that all transmission and reception functions can be switched off [“transmission ban”] to reduce the digital signature.
Thanks to standardized interfaces, future technologies such as truck platooning or other automated applications can be integrated. The cabin is prepared with mounting rails for accommodating information and communication systems and offers storage space for the crew’s equipment.
Protective systems such as the Active Defense System [ADS], the Rapid Obscuring System [ROSY] rapid smoke protection system, or a remote-controlled heavy weapon station can be installed on the reinforced roof. The HX3 vehicles are optionally available with an armored cab, the protection of which can be modularly expanded. The cabins can be exchanged as required via the cabin exchange concept.
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