Self-propelled howitzers are tracked or wheeled artillery systems.
These have high degree of mobility and that is their main advantage
over 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. Most of modern
self-propelled howitzers are fully or partially armored. 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 self-propelled howitzer in the world? Which is the most
capable and effective self-propelled howitzer? This Top 10 analysis
is based on firepower, rate of fire, ammunition load, deployment and
redeployment time, protection and some other factors.
only includes self-propelled howitzers, that are currently in
service. It does not includes artillery systems that are under
development or at the prototype stage.
top 10 self-propelled howitzers in the world are these:
Panzerhaubitze 2000 or PzH 2000 is a German self-propelled howitzer.
This is a very advanced and extremely capable artillery system.
Initially German Army planned to order a total of 1 254 new
self-propelled howitzers, however in 1996 a contract was signed only
for 185 artillery systems. First of these
self-propelled howitzers were delivered to the German Army in 1998.
It has also been exported to some countries.
The PzH 2000
has a fully-automatic loading system with ammunition management
system. It is compatible with standard NATO 155 mm ammunition.
Maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and
40 km with rocket-assisted projectile.
of fire is a whooping 9 rounds per minute. This artillery system is
capable of Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) firing. It can
launch several shells with different trajectories, that would land
on the target simultaneously. Such way of firing is very efficient.
The PzH 2000
receives target data via datalink. The gun is automatically laid
using the fire control data.
artillery system has a high level of protection. Its front armor
withstands hits from 14.5 mm rounds. Add-on explosive reactive armor
can be fitted in necessary.
Koalytsia-SV is the latest Russian artillery system. It was
developed as a successor to the
2S19 Msta-S. First demonstrator of this self-propelled howitzer
was completed in 2006. It was unique and had two 152 mm guns.
However for some reason twin-barrel design was abandoned. In 2013 a
new prototype of the Koalitsiya-SV was completed. It had a different
design and only one gun. A first batch of 12
artillery systems was delivered to the Russian Army in 2015.
Currently it is one of the most capable howitzers in the world.
the Koalitsiya-SV resembles the older 2S19 Msta-S, it is a totally
different system. It has unmanned turret and is armed with a 152 mm
ordnance. It has a fully automated ammunition loading and handling
system and utilizes modular charge system. This artillery system
can fire a wide range of munitions, including standard and
rocket-assisted HE-FRAG projectiles, cluster projectiles with
anti-tank submunitions, jammer carrying projectiles. Range of fire
with standard projectile is around 30 km and around 40 km with
rocket-assisted projectile. A new long-range precision-guided round
has been developed. It has a claimed maximum range of 70 km. The Koalitsiya-SV
It is also capable of firing older
Krasnopol precision guided munitions with a range of 20-25
of fire is around 8 rounds per minute. It seems that the
Koalitsiya-SV is capable of multiple round simultaneous impact
firing. This artillery system carries impressive onboard ammunition
supply of around 60 to 70 rounds.
Koalitsiya-SV has a high level of automation. This artillery system is operated by a crew of only 3
artillery system has a built-in ammunition reloading system at the rear of the turret
that allows to load ammunition from resupply trucks.
is a new Chinese self-propelled howitzer. It is an improved version
PLZ-05, which is used by the Chinese
army. Currently it is among the most capable artillery systems in
the world. However the PLZ-52 is aimed mainly at export customers, rather
than Chinese army.
PLZ-52 has a modified hull and new turret. This artillery system is
fitted with a 155 mm/L52 howitzer. The PLZ-52 is capable of firing a
full range of Chinese 155 mm munitions. Range of a standard
High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) projectile is around 30 km
and around 40 km of extended-range projectile. Maximum range of fire
is 53 km with rocket-assisted projectile. It has been reported that
China developed a GPS-guided 155 mm projectile. It was claimed that
this projectile has a whooping maximum range of 100 km and accuracy
of 40 m.
The PLZ-52 is capable
of firing Chinese precision guided projectiles. In the late 1990s China obtained the
Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology
and production licese. Later it successfully developed its own
precision guided munitions. These laser-guided projectiles have a maximum range of 20-25 km. Furthermore China publicly
revealed new precision guided anti-armor projectiles, similar to the
Bonus. The original Bonus projectile carries two smart anti-tank submunitions
to a range of 34 km. So Chinese equivalent of this projectile should
have similar performance.
artillery system has a semi-automatic or even fully automatic
ammunition loading system.
of fire is around 8 to 10 rounds per minute. The PLZ-52 is capable of Multiple Round
Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) firing. It can launch up to 4 rounds that
would hit the same target simultaneously.
Thunder (South Korea)
K9 Thunder is a South Korean self-propelled howitzer. In the late
1980s Republic of Korea Army drew up its requirements for a new
indigenous 155 mm tracked howitzer to meet the requirements of 21st
century. Key operational requirements included a higher rate of
fire, longer range, better accuracy and faster into and out of
action times. Development of the K9 Thunder began in 1989. It
entered service in 1999 and replaced the older K55 self-propelled
howitzer, that is a Korean version of American
M109A2. The K9 is
fielded by the ROK Army in large numbers.
is fitted with automatic shell handling and ramming system. It is
compatible with standard NATO 155 mm ammunition. Maximum range of
fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 40 km with
Thunder has a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute and is
capable of multiple-round simultaneous-impact firing. It is able to
fire three rounds in 15 seconds, each in different trajectories, so
that all of the shells arrive on target at the same time.
artillery system carries a total of 48 rounds for the main gun.
The K9 is
fitted with automatic fire control system with internal navigation
system and automatic gun laying systems. It takes 30 seconds to
prepare to fire at emplacement and 60 seconds from movement.
artillery system is supported by a dedicated K10 ammunition resupply
vehicle. It is also based on the K9 chassis. The reloading process
is fully automated and can be performed without exposing the crew
under enemy fire or in the contaminated areas.
Firtina is a Turkish 155 mm self-propelled howitzer. It uses
subsystems of the K9. It is in service with the Turkish armed
Type 99 (Japan)
The Type 99
is a Japanese self-propelled howitzer. It was developed by the
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Steel Works. A small
number of Type 99 self-propelled howitzers is currently in service
with the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. So far this howitzer was
never exported. Earlier Japan's laws did not allow export of weapons
and military equipment.
range of fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and
approximately 38 km with rocket assisted projectile. Maximum rate of
fire is around 6 rounds per minute.
The Type 99
self-propelled howitzer is resupplied from the Type 99 ammunition
resupply vehicle. A battery of the Type 99 howitzers also includes a
mobile command post and fire control radar.
also referred as the Type 05, is a recent Chinese development. It
was developed as a successor to the
Type 83 SPH. It evolved from the
This 155 mm
self-propelled howitzer has an automatic ammunition loading
system. Some sources report, that this autoloader has been copied
Russian 2S19 Msta-S.
fires Chinese 155 mm ammunition. Maximum range of fire with
rocket-assisted projectile is over 40
km. It is also capable of firing laser-guided projectiles, based on
Krasnopol technology. Also
there is a GPS-guided projectile with a claimed maximum range of 100
km, however it is unconfirmed.
of fire is about 8 to 10 rounds per minute. Onboard ammunition
supply is around 30 rounds.
self-propelled howitzer is supported by an associated ammunition
resupply vehicle, which carries ammunition under armor on the
battlefield. The resupply vehicle carries about 90 rounds and is
capable of automated delivery. This support vehicle is fitted with a
crane, which is used for ammunition handling operations and can be
also used to replace the powerpack and for other load-handling
is a further upgrade of the ubiquitous
M109 self-propelled howitzer,
which that introduced in early 1960s. Formerly it was known as the
M109A6 PIM. Unofficially this latest version is still being referred
as the Paladin. In 2013 the M109A7 was approved for production.
First of these artillery systems will be delivered to the US Army in
new automated loader and some components of the canceled
range of fire is 24 km with standard projectile and 30 km with
rocket assisted. The M109A7 can also fire
extended-range precision guided projectiles that have a maximum
range of 40 km.
maximum rate of fire is only 4 rounds per minute. This limitation is
due to design of this self-propelled howitzer, that traces its roots
back to the late 1950s.
has a brief reaction time. It can stop and fire the first round in
under 60 seconds. Sustained rate of fire is 1 round per minute.
Paladin is escorted by an associated ammunition supply vehicle. It
is based on the same chassis and carries spare ammunition under
The US Army
plans to obtain a fleet of 580 M109A7 howitzers and the same number
of associated armored ammunition support vehicles.
self-propelled howitzer was developed by BAE Systems Land Systems.
Turret of the Krab is almost identical to that installed on the
Braveheart. This artillery system uses a modified chassis of the
PT-91 Twardy main battle tank. The Krab won international
competition and was selected by the Polish Army. First of these
howitzers were delivered to the Polish Army in 2012. However future
of this artillery system is uncertain due to various problems.
The Krab is
fitted with 155 mm/L52 howitzer, which is compatible with all
standard NATO 155 mm ammunition. The Krab has an automatic
projectile loading system and modular charge system. Maximum range
of fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 40 km with
rocket assisted projectile. A total of 60 rounds are carried.
The Krab is
fitted with polish fire control system, intercom and radios. Vehicle
is completed with Danish muzzle reference system, which tracks
outgoing projectiles and adjusts the next shot.
uses modified chassis of the PT-91 Twardy man battle tank. However
since 2012 production of the engine for this chassis stopped. In
2014 it was reported that Poland plans to acquire 120 tracked
chassis of the South Korean
self-propelled howitzer for the Krab.
this artillery system consists of 6 Krab self-propelled howitzers, 2
ammunition resupply vehicles based on the 6x6 military trucks, Waran
maintenance vehicle and Azalia artillery C3I vehicle.
The AS90 is
a British self-propelled howitzer. It was developed by Vickers. It
entered service with the British Army in 1993. Production ceased in
1995. A total of 179 AS90 self-propelled howitzers were built for
the British Army. It replaced the FV433 Abbot and the US
The AS90 is
fitted with 155 mm/L39 howitzer. It is fitted with an automated
loading system. It is compatible with all standard NATO 155 mm
ammunition. Maximum range of fire is 24.7 km with standard HE-FRAG
projectile and 32 km with a rocket assisted projectile. The AS90 is
capable of firing 3 rounds in 10 seconds. Maximum rate of fire is 6
rounds per minute, sustained - 2 rounds per minute. A total of 48
rounds are carried.
AS90 is supported by an 8x8 high mobility logistic support vehicle,
fitted with a load handling system. It is used to transport
The AS90 Braveheart
was an upgrade programme of the AS90. It was fitted with longer 155
/ L52 gun and had improved range of fire. This project was
terminated. However BAE Systems created a
artillery system fitted the AS90 Braveheart turret
on a modified
Twardy main battle tank
chassis. This artillery system was aimed to meet a Polish Army
requirement. Eventually it was adopted and deliveries commenced in
2012. Polish Army requirement was for 80 howitzers of this type.
However the whole program was plagued with problems.
2S19 Msta-S (Russia)
Msta-S self-propelled howitzer entered service with the
Soviet Army in 1989. Currently it is in service with Russia,
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ukraine and Venezuela. Russian Army operates about
550 of these artillery systems.
artillery system is fitted with an semi-automatic loader that can
load the gun at any angle. The Msta-S is compatible with all
standard Soviet and Russian 152 mm shells. It fires a wide
range of munitions, including standard and rocket-assisted HE-FRAG projectiles, cluster projectiles with
anti-tank submunitions, jammer carrying projectiles. It is capable of
Krasnopol precision guided munitions. Maximum
range of fire is 24.7 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 28.9
with rocket-assisted projectile. The Krasnopol projectile has a
maximum range of 20-25 km and a hit probability of 70-90%, depending
on the version. It can also engage
of fire is 7-8 rounds per minute. A total of 50 rounds are carried
inside the Msta-S. This artillery system has got no dedicated
reloading vehicle. However there is a separate conveyer in the rear
of the turret allows loading of ground ammunition.
is a recent upgraded version. It was adopted by the Russian Army in