Friday, August 26, 2011

Defense Technology International Magazine September 2011

The 155-mm/52-cal. PzH (Panzerhaubitze) 2000, developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rhein-metall Defense, is the gold standard of self-propelled artillery. It is also heavy�56 tons�and expensive. While the weapon is formidable, many armies want self-propelled artillery with greater strategic mobility and lower cost. Two candidates from KMW and Rheinmetall meet this need. KMW's entry is Donar (an ancient Germanic god of fire), a tracked system. The Rheinmetall weapon is the RWG-52, a wheeled platform. (RWG means Rheinmetall Wheeled Gun.) Donar's development goes back to studies a decade ago for a naval derivative of the PzH 2000 turret, called Monarc. When the German navy opted for Oto Melara's 127/64 LW turret, Monarc technology was earmarked for a land-warfare turret. The Artillery Gun Module was unveiled in 2004. It combined a compact turret using the same 155/52 Rheinmetall ordnance of the PzH 2000, with a modified multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) chassis�the latter sourced from the second-hand market to keep costs down. The goal was limiting weight to 27 tons, with 12.5 tons for the turret.