|Weapons & Weapon Systems
Although originally designed by Rheinmetall W & M GmbH for the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery system, now in production for the German Army, the 155 mm L52 calibre ordnance is now being marketed by the company as a retrofit system for older artillery weapons.
The Rheinmetall 23 litre 155 mm L52 calibre ordnance together with the Rheinmetall Modular Charge System (MTLS) give the required range and rate of fire required by artillery in the 21st century.
The introduction of the MTLS (German Army designation DM 72), which as well as being used in the new PzH 2000, will also be used with the existing 155 mm M109A3G and the 155 mm 39 calibre towed FH-70, also offers the user significant logistical advantages as well as being easier to handle under field conditions, less wear on gun tubes and low sensitivity to hazardous ignition.
The 155 mm L52 ordnance system coupled with the six zone MTLS has a maximum range of 30 km with the standard L15A2 high explosive projectile and up to 40 km with extended range ammunition.
The 155 mm L52 ordnance conforms to the Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is the baseline for Western artillery for the 21st century.
When being used with older artillery systems such as the M109A3G and towed FH-70 with its 39 calibre ordnance, only five MTLS modules can be used.
The actual weapon system includes the cannon assembly with an enhanced slotted muzzle brake, a wedge breech block assembly, recoil and recuperator system, ballistic protection, elevating mechanism interface and temperature sensors for thermal management.
The 155 mm 52 calibre ordnance is 8.06 m long and is connected to the breech-block by an interrupted thread allowing for the quick removal of the gun from outside of the howitzer without dismantling the weapon system.
Intensive computer simulations of the dynamic firing and recoil process resulted in an optimised barrel having enhanced accuracy with reduced weight. A glass fibre reinforced plastic bore evacuator ensure an almost gas-free crew compartment and also contributes to weight saving.
The slot type muzzle brake contributes to an increase in muzzle velocity and also reduces the muzzle flash. Integrated into the breech wedge is an exchangeable primer magazine with an endless conveyor for automatic primer transport, loading and unloading, controlled by the wedge movement.
The firing mechanism allows automatic solenoid actuated firing as well as manual firing. A long wear life is achieved as the barrel is chrome plated.
In production for PzH 2000 of which 185 have been ordered by German Army with first deliveries taking place in mid-1998. The PzH 2000 has also been selected by the Italian Army which is expected to procure 70 systems.