A self-propelled howitzer is an artillery combat system equipped with its own propulsion system to attack its target. its attacking rate is much faster than towed artillery. Presently, there are three main categories of mobile artillery systems including towed howitzer, self-propelled howitzer based on a tracked armoured vehicle, and self-propelled howitzer mounted on military truck chassis or wheeled armoured vehicle.
Modern self-propelled howitzers such as the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV, Archer, Donar and PzH 2000 show high lethality and manoeuvrability and are considered to be the backbone of the artillery corps.
Top Modern Self Propelled Artillery Guns
In this article, we will discuss the top ten self-propelled artillery systems based on performance characteristics such as firepower and range.
1. K9 Thunder Vajra Howitzers
- K9 Thunder is the world’s most advanced self-propelled howitzer and provides excellent performance with a long shooting range for fire combat and a fast firing speed for real-time, quick-focused firepower.
- Capable of quick displacement after shooting and has excellent manoeuvrability and survivability.
- customized self-propelled howitzer meets the requirements of various countries as well as NATO standards.
- Versatile operational capability as per the requirement of weather and environment, from deserts to snowy fields, and it is being exported to overseas countries.
- Can fire its first round within 30 seconds from the moment it first receives firing information from the Fire Direction Center (FDC) while in the emplaced situation. While moving, it can fire after 60 seconds.
- After firing, K9 Thunder can quickly move away from its last position in anticipation of the enemy’s counter fire, before firing its next shot.
- K9 Thunder protects the internal crew and onboard equipment against 155mm shell fragments, 14.5mm armor-piercing shells and anti-personnel mines.
- In NBC warfare situations, survivability is guaranteed with the onboard air purification system and gas masks for the crew.
- As part of the government’s “Make in India” initiative, Larsen and Toubro (L&TArmoured )’s Systems Complex in Gujarat is producing 155mm/52 calibre cannons.
- The Army is planning to acquire 100 new K9 Vajra Tracked Self-Propelled Howitzers with winter kits from private defence firm Larsen and Toubro (L&T) for their deployment at the northern borders in response to a belligerent China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
2. 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV Is A 152mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
- The 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV is a 152mm new-generation self-propelled howitzer (SPH) developed by UralTransMash, a subsidiary of Russian military equipment producer Uralvagonzavod.
- The first batch of the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV howitzers was delivered to the Russian Armed Forces in 2015. The tracked chassis such as the T-72/90 or T-14 Armata main battle tanks and 8×8 wheeled platforms can be used to integrate the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV system.
- The howitzer can fire high-explosive precision-guided munitions, jammer-carrying projectiles, anti-tank submunitions, as well as standard and rocket-assisted high explosive-fragmentation (HE-FRAG) projectiles.
- The rate of fire is eight rounds a minute while the maximum firing range is 70km. The vehicle has a maximum speed of 60km/h and an operational range of 500km.
- The 2S35 self-propelled howitzer is designed to defeat armoured vehicles, tanks, tactical nuclear weapons, anti-tank weapons, artillery and mortar batteries, enemy manpower and equipment, facilities, air defence missile systems, as well as command and control centres.
- Features of the howitzer include a warning receiver, night vision, microwave shell priming system, nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection system, and shock absorber.
3. Archer 155mm, 52 Calibre Self-Propelled Howitzer
- The Archer 155mm, 52 calibre self-propelled howitzer developed by BAE Systems can strike stationary and mobile targets at land and sea. The capability to meet the present and future requirements of ground troops makes it one of the best howitzers in the world.
- It was developed to create a more mobile version of the FH 77B field howitzer with a longer range of fire. First technical studies to integrate a 155 mm/L52 ordnance of the FH 77B on a wheeled chassis were made in 1995.
- The wheeled artillery system features a fully automated 155mm/L52 gun and a remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS) based on a 6×6 Volvo commercial articulated vehicle.
- The main gun delivers an intensive rate of fire of 21 rounds per 3.5 minutes and can fire all types of 155mm projectiles, including advanced sensor-fused and precision-guided munitions.
- The Archer system operates in conjugation with current command and control systems and delivers outstanding tracking capability to fire rounds for a maximum range of 50km.
- Its cabin is designed to protect the crew from artillery fragments and mines, as well as nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats. The system completes the firing sequence and leaves the place of action in just 40 seconds.
- The highly mobile vehicle provides a maximum speed of 70km/h and a cruising range of 500km.
4. DONAR Artillery Gun Module 155mm Howitzer
- In 2004, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann revealed that it had built the prototype of a 155 mm self-propelled artillery gun based on the chassis of the US-developed Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
- This system is called the Artillery Gun Module (AGM) and has been developed as a private venture to meet the future potential operational requirements of the German Army. The verification phase was finished in early 2007.
- The hull and cab of the 155 mm/52 calibre AGM are of all-welded aluminium armour that provides the occupants with protection from small arms fire, shell splinters and NBC attack. The system has a crew of two people.
- based on the ASCOD 2 infantry fighting vehicle chassis supplied by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS).
- Air-transportable, medium-weight, turreted self-propelled howitzer based on the proven technology of the PzH 2000 SP howitzer in service with the German Army.
- The system is fully autonomous and provides the same performance as the PzH 2000, but with reduced cost, crew levels and weight.
- The gun module can be fitted on a tracked or wheeled chassis. The intention is to integrate the gun module into available in-service chassis for the customer country and to set up co-production arrangements with the local in-country chassis producer to provide a cost-effective and medium-weight indirect fire support platform.
5. PzH 2000 Is A Highly Mobile 155mm/L52 Artillery System
- The PzH 2000 is a highly mobile 155mm/L52 artillery system developed by KMW for the German Army. The capability to support both conventional and asymmetric missions makes the PzH 2000 one of the most effective howitzers in the world.
- More than 330 PzH 2000 systems have been delivered to four Nato member countries to date.
- The PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) is the 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) together with the main subcontractor Rheinmetall Landsysteme for the German Army.
- KMW received a contract in 1996 for the production of 185 units. The first system was delivered in July 1998 and deliveries for this batch are complete. Rheinmetall (formerly MaK) delivers the complete chassis for all series vehicles.
- In May 2001, during test firings for the Hellenic Army, the PzH 2000 fired 20 rounds all to ranges exceeding 40km (41.8km maximum). The ranges were achieved using M2000BB Assegai shells from Naschem / Denel of South Africa, in combination with the Rheinmetall DM 72 modular charge system.
- In November 2002, in live firings in Sweden, a similar range was achieved with Rheinmetall’s new long-range RH 40 BB ammunition, also fired with the modular charge system.
- A PzH 2000 howitzer turret has been mounted on the deck of the German Navy F124 frigate, Hamburg, as a demonstration of the feasibility of the system for naval applications. The concept is called MONARC and requires flexible elastic mounting.
6. CAESAR Self-Propelled Artillery System
- Built on proven artillery systems such as the AMF3 gun, the 155 GCT AUF1 self-propelled gun and the 155 TRF1 towed gun, CAESAR is the optimum combination of their features.
- Versatility, mobility, easy operation, combat readiness and survivability are the key features of this new 155 mm/52-caliber weapon system which is fully interoperable with the NATO 39 cal. equipment and 52 cal. JB MoU.
- From a mobility and maintenance viewpoint, the self-propelled artillery systems are penalized both by their weight and their tracked chassis.
- Towed guns are disadvantaged in terms of manoeuvrability and survivability by their size and their design. The genuinely versatile CAESAR fills the gap with the innovative solutions it offers and meets the operational requirements, whatever the conflict level, the theatre of operations and the nature of forces involved.
- It can support all types of motorised, mechanised and armoured units, including rapid deployment forces.
- It offers enhanced firepower through quicker response, longer range and improved accuracy. It covers larger areas with fewer guns and favours initiative, manoeuvring and quick reaction time while minimizing risks.
- It is effective in each fire mission such as direct support fire, in-depth action fire, counterbattery fire and even in coastal defence missions.
7. Nora-B/52 Is A New Generation 155mm/L52 Self-Propelled Howitzer
- The Nora-B/52 is a new generation 155mm/L52 self-propelled howitzer produced by Yugoimport SDPR. It replaced the ageing artillery systems in service with the Serbian Army.
- The first prototype of the NORA B-52 was completed in 2003. The system development was completed in 2004 and the first 12 systems entered into service with the Serbian Army in 2007.
- The Serbian Army received its first 12 NORA-B/52 systems in 2007. The artillery was also delivered to the armed forces of Myanmar, Kenya, and Bangladesh.
- The howitzer is capable of firing all standard Nato 155mm ammunition at a rate of six rounds per minute. It can strike targets within the range of 42km using extended-range full–bore–base bleed (ERFB-BB) projectile.
- The NORA-B/52 is equipped with an automatic gun loader. The armoured version offers protection against small arms fire, artillery shell splinters and mines. The system, mounted on FAP 8×8 cross-country chassis, attains a maximum speed of 80km/h to 100km/h.
- The howitzer has high firepower and cross-country mobility. It offers both direct and indirect fire support and enables high and low angle fire without altering its firing position.
8. KRAB 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
- KRAB is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH) manufactured by the Polish heavy industry manufacturer Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) in cooperation with BAE Systems and OBRUM.
- The howitzer is intended to destroy batteries of artillery and anti-aircraft missiles, command posts, as well as enemy fortifications and mechanised detachments.
- The artillery system integrates a 155mm/L52 howitzer firing all standard Nato 155mm ammunition. It is also fitted with ZZKO TOPAZ fire-control system, 12.7 mm machine gun, and smoke grenade launchers.
- The KRAB can destroy the targets within the range of 40km with an intense rate of fire of six rounds per minute.
- The artillery system is powered by an S12-U water-cooled, turbocharged diesel engine, developing up to 625kW at 2,000rpm. The maximum speed of the howitzer is 60km/h while the range is 650km with full fuel tanks.
9. ATMOS (Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System)
- The ATMOS 2000 (Autonomous Truck MOunted howitzer System) self-propelled gun-howitzer was developed by Soltam as a private venture. Later this company became a part of Elbit Systems.
- The existence of this Israeli artillery system was revealed in 1999. However official details were released only in 2001.
- This howitzer was aimed mainly at the export market. In 2003 an undisclosed export customer ordered an undisclosed number of these artillery systems.
- In 2006 the ATMOS 2000 began trials with the Israel Defense Forces. In 2013 deliveries commenced to Thailand. In 2016 this artillery system has been spotted in Rwanda.
- The ATMOS (Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System) is a computerised 155mm self-propelled artillery system produced by Elbit Systems.
- It is a light, long-range, highly mobile artillery system addressing the critical requirements of today’s land forces.
- The modular design of the ATMOS allows for integration on a variety of qualified in-service trucks.
- The system integrates the most advanced 52-calibre Nato standard gun system with a range of 41km. It can fire at an intense rate of five rounds per minute when fed by an autoloader.
- The ATMOS artillery system is equipped with an in-built electronic suite, offering increased firepower and accuracy. It can be mounted on any 6×6 or 8×8 in-service high-mobility trucks with a modified protected cabin and special layout.
10. Singapore Self Propelled Howitzer 1 (SSPH 1) Primus
- The Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 (SSPH 1) Primus is a 155mm artillery system developed collectively by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) and Singapore Technologies Kinetics (ST Kinetics).
- It is the most lightsome 39 calibres self-propelled artillery system in the world.
- The SSPH-1 (Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1) Primus (first) is based on the US M109 155 mm self-propelled howitzer, which is the most widely used system of its type in the world.
- The Primus was developed to meet the operational requirements of the Singapore Armed Forces. Development began in 1996 and the first prototype was completed in 2000.
- The SSPH1 Primus is in service with the Singapore Armored Forces.
- The howitzer integrates a patented ammunition handling system, an automatic fire control system, and a 7.62mm machine gun. The 550hp Detroit diesel engine coupled to GD HMPT-500-3EC provides the Primus with a top speed of 50km/h and a range of 350km.