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Top 10 Truck-Mounted Howitzers

 

   Truck-mounted howitzers are artillery systems, based on wheeled rather than tracked chassis. Recently there is a trend to obtain truck-mounted howitzers opposed to traditional tracked artillery systems. Typically truck-mounted howitzers are less expensive to produce and to maintain, but as capable as tracked artillery systems. Yet still truck-mounted howitzers are much more mobile than towed howitzers. These artillery systems are used as combat support weapons. Normally they provide indirect fire, however, if needed, they also have direct-fire capability. Some modern self-propelled howitzers have armored cabs.  In modern combat these artillery systems often exploit their mobility for shoot-and-scoot type attacks in order to avoid counter-battery fire.

   So which is the best truck-mounted howitzer in the world? Which is the most advanced, capable and effective truck-mounted howitzer? This Top 10 analysis is based on firepower, rate of fire, ammunition load, deployment and redeployment time, protection, and some other factors.

   This list only includes truck-mounted howitzers, that are currently in service. It does not include artillery systems that are under development or at the prototype stage. Also it does not include artillery systems, that received no production orders.

   Currently top 10 truck-mounted howitzers in the world are these:

 

 

Best truck-mounted howitzers

Nr.1 Archer (Sweden)

 

   The Archer is a Swedish next-generation self-propelled howitzer. Development of this artillery system began in 2003. First Archer's were delivered to the Swedish Army in 2013.

   The Archer has a rapid, automatic loading system. The whole artillery system is operated remotely, so there is no need for the crew to leave an armored cabin. There is a high degree of automation.

   Maximum range of fire is 30 km with ordinary projectile and 40 km with rocket-assisted projectile. The Archer also fires Excalibur precision guided extended range projectiles with a maximum range of 60 km. It is also compatible with Bonus precision guided projectiles.

   Maximum rate of fire of 8 - 9 rounds per minute. The Archer is capable of multiple-round simultaneous impact firing. It fires up to 6 rounds in 30 seconds, each in different trajectories, so that all of the shells arrive on target at the same time. The Archer transports 20 rounds.

   It takes only 30 seconds to stop and be ready for firing. Out of action time is also as short as 30 seconds. Brief redeployment time allows to avoid counter-battery fire.

   This artillery system is mounted on the commercially available Volvo A30D 6x6 articulated hauler chassis. It looses in terms of cross-country mobility to tracked vehicles. It is one of the most advanced and capable truck-mounted howitzers.

   Each Archer truck-mounted howitzer is supported by an associated ammunition re-supply vehicle. Reloading time is up to 8 minutes. If necessary the gun can be loaded by re-supply personnel alone. The Archer is also assigned with one support (maintenance) vehicle per unit. It conducts refueling and simple maintenance.

 

 

Which is the best truck-mounted howitzer

Nr.2 G6 Rhino (South Africa)

 

   Even though the G6 Rhino is an old design, it is still a very successful artillery system. First prototype was built in 1981. This artillery system saw action in Angola, even before it was mass produced. It entered service with the South African National Defense Forces in 1988. A number of these self-propelled howitzers were exported to United Arab Emirates and Oman.

   The G6 Rhino was designed to meet a South African National Defense Forces requirement. A 6x6 wheeled chassis was preferred over tracked one due to their terrain. The G6 uses a specially-developed wheeled chassis that is well armored. Its front arc provides protection against 20 mm rounds. All-round protection is against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. This vehicle is well protected against landmines. It is also fitted with automatic fire suppression system.

   This artillery system is fitted with a 155 mm/L45 gun-howitzer, developed from the G5 field gun. It is completed with a semi-automatic ammunition loading system. The G6 Rhino is compatible with all NATO 155 mm ammunition. Maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 39 km with rocket-assisted. It also fires newly developed velocity enhanced long range projectiles with a maximum range of 50 km. Maximum rate of fire is 4 rounds per minute. A total of 47 rounds are carried.

   Out of action time is as short as 30 seconds. It allows to exploit hit-and-run tactics and avoid counter-battery fire.

   This artillery system is operated by a crew of five. All crew members operate under complete armor protection.

   The G6 Rhino might not be the most modern in terms of technology, but it is superior to most other wheeled self-propelled howitzers both in terms of firepower and protection.

 

 

Top ten truck-mounted howitzers

Nr.3 Zuzana (Slovakia)

 

   The Zuzana is a Slovak 155 mm NATO compatible version of the DANA. It has improved fire control system and some other improvements. The first prototype was built in 1995. This artillery system has been adopted by Slovakia in 1998. As of 2015 Slovak Army operates 16 of these systems. This artillery system is also in service with Cyprus (12).

   The Zuzana is armed with a turret-mounted 155 mm/L45 gun-howitzer. This gun is compatible with all standard NATO ammunition. Range of fire depends on projectile and charge combination. Maximum range of fire is 40 km with rocket-assisted shells.

   The gun is mounted externally between two separated compartments of the turret. In this way the crew is completely isolated from potentially dangerous gun and autoloader mechanisms and is protected from the powder gasses generated during firing. The gun is fitted with an autoloader, so rounds are fed automatically. The autoloader loads shells and charges at any elevation. A total of 40 rounds are carried by this artillery system. This artillery system can automatically launch 6 rounds within the first minute, or 30 rounds within 6 minutes. Manual rate of fire is reduced to 2 rounds per minute. Sustained rate of fire is around 1.5 rounds per minute.

   This artillery system has an automatic gun-laying mode, when the firing data is calculated by the onboard computer and the gun is automatically laid on the target. Developers claim that this system is capable of Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact Firing (MRSI). It can launch a couple of projectiles at different trajectories in order for them to hit the target simultaneously.

   This artillery system uses a special 8x8 chassis developed by Tatra. It uses many mechanical components of the Tatra T815 Koloss heavy high mobility truck.

 

 

Top ten truck-mounted howitzers

Nr.4 CAESAR 8x8 (France)

 

   The CAESAR 8x8 is a new French truck-mounted howitzer. Sometimes this artillery system is referred as CAESAR 2. It emerged more than 20 years after the original CAESAR was introduced and has some improvements over its predecessor. However basically it is an updated version of the CAESAR that can shoot faster, is more accurate, more mobile, and can carry more ammunition. In 2017 Denmark selected this artillery system to replace their old M109 howitzers.

   This truck-mounted artillery system is fitted with a 155 mm/L52 howitzer, which is capable of direct and indirect firing. The CAESAR 8x8 has a brand new fully automated ammunition loading system. It is operated by a crew of 2-3 men. Maximum rate of fire is 6 rounds per minute. Though the CAESAR 8x8 is also proposed with a semi-automatic loading system, which requires a crew of 4-5 men.

   The CAESAR 8x8 fires all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition, including ordinary and rocket-assisted HE-FRAG rounds, cargo rounds with anti-tank or fragmentation bomblets, smoke and illumination rounds. It is also capable of firing BONUS or SPACIDO precision-guided anti-tank munitions. The Bonus round carries two smart anti-tank submunitions to a range of 34 km. Maximum range of fire is 42 km with rocket-assisted HE-FRAG projectile and a whooping 55 km with a VLAP projectile. Range of direct fire is up to 2 km.

   The CAESAR 8x8 is capable of MRSI firing. Furthermore the CAESAR 8x8 has a brief in and out of action times and can be used on shoot-and-scoot missions in order to avoid counter battery fire. It takes only 60 seconds to prepare this artillery system for firing or leave the firing position. Within 2 minutes the CAESAR 8x8 can fire 6 rounds and leave its position.

   The CAESAR 8x8 is based on a Tatra T815-7 8x8 truck chassis. It has higher payload rating and cross-country mobility than the original CAESAR, based on 6x6 chassis. The 8x8 version can carry almost twice more ammunition (30 rounds opposed to 18).

   The CAESAR 8x8 is available with 2- or 4-door armored cab. It provides protection for the crew against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Maximum level of ballistic protection is against 7.62x51 mm armor-piercing rounds. Maximum level of mine protection is against landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with explosive power equivalent to 6 kg of TNT. A 12.7 mm machine gun can be mounted on top of the roof for self-protection.

 

 

Top 10 truck-mounted artillery systems

Nr.5 NORA B-52 (Serbia)

 

   The NORA B-52 is a Serbian self-propelled artillery system. It was developed to replace older artillery equipment in service with Serbian Army. First batch of 12 artillery systems was delivered in 2007. It has been exported to Bangladesh (18), Myanmar (30), and Kenya (30).

   The NORA B-52 is fitted with 155 mm/L52 gun-howitzer. It is a further development of the Yugoslavian M84 NORA A field howitzer. It fires all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition. It is fitted with an automatic gun loader enabling rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute. Vehicle carries a total of 36 rounds. Autoloader holds 12 rounds. Maximum firing range is 20 km with ordinary projectile and 41 km with rocket-assisted projectile.

   First versions of the NORA B-52 were mounted on Serbian FAP 2832 trucks. However improved production versions were mounted on the Russian KamAZ 8x8 trucks chassis.

   There is also an armored version of this artillery system. Vehicle provides the crew protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. There is also an NBC protection system for the crew. Vehicle withstands blasts equivalent to 6 kg of TNT anywhere under the hull.

 

 

Top 10 self-propelled howitzers

Nr.6 ATMOS (Israel)

 

   The ATMOS (Autonomous Truck MOunted howitzer System) self-propelled gun-howitzer was developed by Soltam of Israel as a private venture. It was aimed mainly at export customers. Official details on this artillery system were released in 2001. In 2003 an undisclosed export customer ordered an undisclosed batch of these artillery systems. In 2013 deliveries commenced to Thailand.

   The ATMOS is armed with a 155 mm/L52 gun-howitzer. It was developed from the Soltam ATHOS 2052 towed howitzer. This artillery system is fitted with a load assisting system. It is compatible with all standard 155 mm NATO ammunition. Maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE projectile and 41 km with rocket assisted projectile. Vehicle carries a total of 32 projectiles and associated charges. Rate of fire is between 4 and 9 rounds per minute.

   The ATMOS is also proposed with other guns, including a shorter Soltam 155 mm/L39 and 155 mm/L45 guns. This artillery system can be also fitted with a Soviet M-46 130 mm field gun.

   Advanced fire control system of the ATMOS receives target information from forward observers. It includes navigation and aiming systems and ballistic computer.

   Vehicle is normally operated by a crew of four, including two loaders. Cab of the ATMOS is armored and protects the crew during travelling from small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.

   The ATMOS is based on a Tatra T815 6x6 truck chassis.

 

 

Best self-propelled howitzers

Nr.7 CAESAR (France)

 

   The CAESAR is a French truck-mounted howitzer. It was developed by GIAT to meet the fire support requirements of rapid deployment forces. The main concept behind the CAESAR was to mount a howitzer on an army truck, rather than to tow it. This artillery system is in service with France. It has been exported to Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

   The CAESAR evolved from the ageing F3 self-propelled howitzer, based on the AMX-13 light tank chassis. It is armed with a 155 mm/L52 gun-howitzer, that has a semi-automatic ammunition loading system. It fires all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition, including ordinary and rocket-assisted HE-FRAG rounds, cargo rounds with anti-tank or fragmentation bomblets, smoke and illumination projectiles. Maximum range of fire with rocket-assisted projectile is 42 km. It is also capable of firing Bonus precision-guided anti-tank munitions with a range of 34 km. Maximum rate of fire is 6 rounds per minute. Vehicle carries only 18 rounds and associated charges.

   The CAESAR can be set into and out of action in less than one minute. Brief redeployment time allows to avoid counter-battery fire. Vehicle can be also used on shoot-and-scoot missions.

   This artillery system is operated by a crew of 6. The CAESAR has an armored cab which protects the crew during traveling. However once in operation the gun crew has got no protection.

   Each CAESAR truck-mounted howitzer is supported by an associated ammunition supply vehicle, that is also based on a 6x6 truck chassis.

   The CAESAR is fully air transportable and can be airlifted by the C-130 Hercules or A400M transport aircraft.

 

 

Truck-mounted howitzer comparison

Nr.8 SH-1 (China)

 

   The SH-1 155 mm truck-mounted howitzer was developed in China. It was first publicly revealed in 2007. It is a capable design. However it was not adopted by the Chinese armed forces. The SH-1 has been exported to Pakistan, and Myanmar.

   The SH1 is armed with a 155 mm/L52 howitzer. It is compatible with all standard 155 mm NATO ammunition, as well as ammunition developed by NORINCO. Claimed maximum range of fire is 53 km which was achieved with a rocket assisted V-LAP projectile. This artillery system is able to use Chinese precision guided munitions, based on the Russian Krasnopol technology.

   Ammunition box of the SH-1 artillery system houses 25 rounds of seven different types and their modular charges.

   The SH1 is fitted with a computerized fire control system, navigation, positioning and targeting systems. Vehicle receives target information from a battery command post vehicle.

   Vehicle has a crew of five. In traveling order an armored cab provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. However once in operation the gun crew has got no protection.

 

 

Best truck-mounted howitzer

Nr.9 DANA (Czechoslovakia)

 

   The DANA 152 mm artillery system was developed in the former Czechoslovakia. It was designed as an alternative for the Soviet 2S3 Akatsiya. Unlike many other howitzers of that period the DANA is based on a wheeled chassis. Its production commenced in 1981 and ceased in 1994 with over 750 units built. Currently it is in service with Czech republic, Slovakia, Poland and Libya.

   The DANA is armed with a turret-mounted 152 mm/L39 gun-howitzer. It fires all standard Soviet and indigenous 152 mm rounds. Czech army currently uses three main types of ammunition, high-explosive rounds with a maximum range of 18 km, improved shape high-explosive with a maximum range of 20 km, and high-explosive anti-tank rounds for direct fire at armored targets. The DANA carries 60 rounds. Around 40 rounds are stored in the autoloader and are fed automatically.

   It is worth mentioning that the DANA's autoloader was unique for its time. It is able to load shell and cartridge in any elevation. This feature is considered as standard nowadays and DANA was one of the first artillery systems with such loader in service.

   All crew members of the DANA operate under complete armor protection.

   This artillery system uses an 8x8 armored chassis, that is based around automotive components of the Tatra T815 Koloss heavy high mobility truck. Czechoslovakia preferred a wheeled chassis, because it was less expensive to build and to maintain comparing with a tracked chassis.

 

 

Top 10 truck-mounted howitzers

Nr.10 Bereg (Russia)

 

   The A-222 or Bereg is a Russian coastal defense artillery system. It was developed in the late 1980s. It was developed as a supplement to mobile costal defense missile systems. A small number of these artillery system is currently in service with Russia. First systems were delivered in 2003. The Bereg is being proposed for export, however as of 2015 it received no orders from other countries.

   The main mission of this artillery system is to engage surface ships and prevent over-the-beach landings of enemy forces. It can also engage small-size fast moving naval targets, such as small landing ships, fast attack craft and air-cushioned vessels at a range of up to 20 km. It can also engage ground targets.

   The Bereg is armed with a 130 mm/L54 gun. The gun has a load-assisting system. The Bereg fires HE-FRAG, armor-piercing and illumination rounds. It is also compatible with laser-guided rounds, however this feature is proposed as an option. Maximum range of fire is 27 km. Maximum rate of fire is up to 10 rounds per minute. A total of 40 rounds are carried.

   This artillery system is operated by a crew of 8.

   The Bereg is based on a MAZ-543M 8x8 high-mobility chassis. It has great cross-country performance.

 

 

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Top 10 Self-Propelled Howitzers

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