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155-mm Self-propelled Howitzer

PzH-2000

Crew  5
Dimensions and weight 
Total weight in combat order  55 t 
Overall length  11 670 mm 
Chassis length  7 870 mm
Overall width  3 480 mm 
Overall height   3 400 mm
Armament 
Main gun  155-mm howitzer
Barrels length 52 caliber
Machine gun 7.62-mm
Traverse range  360 degrees 
Elevation range  - 2.5 to + 65 degrees 
Maximum rate of fire 9 rounds/min
Combat load
Main gun 60 rounds
Machine gun  1 500 - 2 000 cartridges
Projectiles weight 43.5 kg
Maximum flying range 40 km
Mobility 
Engine power  1 000 h.p.
Maximum road speed  60 km/h 
Maximum cross country speed 45 km/h
Autonomy on roads  420 km 
Maneuverability 
Slope  30
Vertical step  1.1 m
Ditch  3 m
Ford 1.5 m
   PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzer development process began in 1987 by German companies "Vegmann" and "Mak", right after the end of the international self-propelled howitzer project "SP70". PzH-2000 (Panzerhaubitze - armored self-propelled howitzer) polygon tests began in 1993. In year 1996 there was made agreement by German ministry of defense and howitzer producers to build first 185 howitzers for Bundesver forces. Overall German ministry of defense plans to order only 238 self-propelled howitzers notwithstanding on that fact that earlier it planned to purchase 1254 ones. Ministry of defense of Sweden showed interest to this howitzer as a substitute for out-dated field artillery and also for coastal guard units.

   PzH-2000 is the most modern serially produced self-propelled howitzer. However it's design is based on classical self-propelled field artillery unit, with frontally arranged engine and transmission compartment. Turret with artillery system is mounted in the rear part of the hull. 

   Hull and turret are made from armored steel plates. Armor protects crew and mechanisms from 14.5-mm machine-gun and lower caliber bullets as well as from artillery projectile and mine shells. Turret design intends usage of dynamic armor from both turret sides and on the roof.

   Self-propelled howitzer has powerful, main 155-mm gun with 52 caliber long barrel. Barrel is fitted with muzzle break and projectile-case ejector. Turret rotating and howitzer aiming devices are based on electrifyc mechanisms, which are more safer than hydraulic-ones. Furthermore it increases howitzer vitality in the battlefield. Main gun has elevation range from -2.5 to +65 degrees. Travers range is 360 degrees.

   PzH-2000 is able to use all standard 155-mm NATO projectiles including nuclear, guided and clusters. Ordinary High-Explosion fragmentation projectile maximum flying range is 30 km, and 40 km with improved aerodynamic shape projectile. Howitzer is fitted with automatic reloading mechanism. It automatically loads projectiles from magazine, with 60 projectile capacity. It also has the other magazine, which is intended to load modular projectile charge (intended for 288 modules). 

   Automatic reloading mechanism in polygon tests showed later rate of fire results: three shots in 9.2 s (normative result - 10 s), eight shots in 51.4 s (60 s), 20 shots in 2 min 30 s (3 min). These results showed that 2 men crew with high level automatic aiming and reloading processes are able to work on their own. Now together with commander and gunner there are two more loaders, who have to reload gun in case of reloading mechanism failures.

   Additional armament consists from 7.62-mm anti-aircraft machine gun, placed on the turret roof. 

   PzH-2000 use multi-fuel German "MTU" 881 series diesel engine. Transmission is hydromechanic HSWL developed by "Renk" company. Engine and transmission are placed in one module what simplifies it's maintenance and repair in the battlefield.

   Self-propelled howitzer has one more additional engine, which services crew when main engine is turned off.

   PzH-2000 chassis use some mechanisms and parts from "Leopard 2" main battle tank. It simplifies howitzer serial production and maintenance as well as Bundesver armed forces use "Leopard 2" main battle tanks. Howitzer has seven bearing rolls from each side. Tracking wheels are placed frontally. Tracks are made from steel with rubber-metallic hinge. Tracks are interchangeable with "Leopard 2" main battle tank tracks. 

   PzH-2000 chassis successfully passed tests in extreme maintenance conditions in Canadian Shilo polygon. It was tested in low temperature conditions (-30C and below). In such conditions it passed more than 3 000 km. In USA Utah polygon it was tested in high dust conditions and air temperatures, reaching +51C. In Utah howitzer passed 4 000 km. 

   In cross-country conditions PzH-2000 reaches maximum speed of 45 km/h. On the road maximum speed is 60 km/h. It manages 30 slopes, 1.1 m vertical steps, 3 m wide trenches. It fords unprepared 1.5 m depth water obstacles.

   PzH-2000 is fitted with automatic fire extinguishing system, Nuclear Biological Chemical protection system, navigational and topographical complexes. Modern radio equipment provide data exchange in the battlefield between field artillery units. 


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