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6 novembre 2015 5 06 /11 /novembre /2015 17:35
Artillery: South Korea Does What The Americans Cannot

 

November 3, 2015: Strategy Page

 

South Korea recently sold a hundred of its locally designed and made K9 155mm self-propelled howitzers to India for about $7.5 million each. South Korea has already sold 350 K9s to Turkey and 120 to Poland. While superficially similar to the American M109 the K9 is a heaver (46 tons versus 28 for the M109), carries more ammo and has twice the range (up to 56 kilometers in part because of a barrel that is a third longer). There is more automation on the K9, so it has a crew of five versus six on the M-109. South Korea thus joins Germany in their effort to build a suitable replacement for the elderly M109 design. To get the Indian sale South Korea had to agree to have the K9s assembled in India from South Korean components. This sale gives South Korea an edge in obtaining an even larger contract to supply India with several thousand towed 155mm howitzers. Because of corruption and political problems the Indian Army has not been able to buy any new artillery since the 1980s. The chief competitor for the Indian contract was Russia which offered its similar 42 ton 2S19. The K-9 won on the basis of technical capabilities, field tests and a South Korean reputation for quality and reliability.

 

The K9 and 2S19 are examples of the kind of system the United States sought to build to replace its 1960s era M109. The United States sought to build the 56 ton Crusader to replace the M109s. Crusader was very similar to the K9 but was too complex and expensive and the heavier weight was seen as a disadvantage for a country that has to ship its armored vehicles overseas to use them. For South Korea, Turkey and Poland that is not a problem and more heft (and protection for the crew) is an advantage.

 

One American innovation K9 users will probably adopt is the GPS guided Excalibur shell. This smart shell entered service in 2008 and changed everything. Excalibur has worked very well in combat, and this is radically changing the way artillery operates. Excalibur means 80-90 percent less ammo has to be fired to destroy a target and this results in less wear and tear on SP artillery, less time needed for maintenance, and less time spent replenishing ammo supplies and more time being ready for action.

 

Because of Excalibur (and other precision munitions) since 2001 operations in Iraq and Afghanistan provided very little work for the M109. The lighter, towed, M777 has proved more useful, especially when using the Excalibur shell. Currently, the army plans to keep newly upgraded versions of the M109 around until 2050. The army plans to acquire at least 551 upgraded M-109s by 2027, reflecting the impact of the Excalibur shell, and the number of older M109s that are still fit for service. The M109 was a solid design, which is pretty clear from how difficult it's been to come up with a replacement. So, in the end, the army replaced the M109 with another M109 upgrade and is still seeking a replacement for that.

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10 octobre 2015 6 10 /10 /octobre /2015 11:25
M109 howitzer

M109 howitzer

 

Oct 8, 2015 By Dylan Vosman - defence-blog.com

 

The company BAE Systems will provide the Army of Brazil the first batch of 16 upgraded M109 self-propelled howitzers in 2016. The delivery of the second package is planned for 2018. Armored Troop The Brazilian army has undergone a major modernization in the last decade, especially with the emergence and consolidation of the Armored Training Center (Bld CI) training unit located in Santa Maria (RS). This process has just opened a new stage with the imminent delivery of modernized self-propelled howitzer (VBCOAP) M109. To date innovations in Armored Troop they focused on Movement and Combat Maneuver (MBT) function, with the acquisition of armored combat vehicles Leopard 1A5 KMW. Now the combat role by fires (self-propelled howitzers) gains a new dimension with the acquisition of VBCOAP M109 A5 within the strategic project OCOP (Getting Full Operational Capability) Army.

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 07:50
PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) 155mm self-propelled howitzer

PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) 155mm self-propelled howitzer

 

Sep 29, 2015 by Richard Tomkins(UPI)

 

Lithuania on Tuesday signed an agreement to procure 21 PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers from the German Armed Forces.

 

The deal for the 155mm guns, as well as vehicles and other equipment, is worth nearly $65 million.

 

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense said 16 of the guns will be usable for combat purposes, two will be used for training firing and driving skills, and three for spare parts.

 

"The changed geopolitical situation and lessons learned from the conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine have made the Lithuanian Armed Forces prioritize an efficient fire support to maneuver units on the course of its development," said Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas. "Looking for solution, we turned to Germany, our ally, and its understanding and good will has helped us come up with a compromise on the procurement on one of the most modern self-propelled howitzers in the world within a particularly short time.

 

"That is a clear demonstration that Germany understands the reasons behind our security concerns and is sending a clear signal that it stands firmly by Lithuania."

 

The other equipment being purchased from Germany includes 26 M577 V2 armored command vehicles and six BPZ2 recovery tanks.

 

Also included in the deal is training for Lithuanian troops who will use the self-propelled howitzers, which will begin to arrive in Lithuania next year.

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:20
M119 howitzer still plays critical role for US Army

 

September 14, 2015 By Army News Service -

 

More than two decades have passed since the first M119 howitzer rolled off the production line at Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, or RIA-JMTC, yet it remains one of the Army’s primary direct and indirect fire support assets. This lightweight, air-mobile, towed howitzer has been the workhorse for the Army’s infantry brigade combat teams’ direct support artillery battalions. Throughout the past 13 years, it has seen extensive use in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, or OEF and OIF. The Army has employed this howitzer in some of the most austere conditions in the world, firing multiple-round, high-angle, high-charge missions on a daily basis in support of combat troops. High-angle fire is used for firing into or out of deep defilade such as that found in heavily wooded, mountainous and urban areas. It is also used to fire over high-terrain features near friendly troops. To counteract the effects of these high operational-tempo combat conditions and to increase the survivability of the howitzer, the Project Manager for Towed Artillery Systems, or PM TAS, which manages the M119A3 howitzer within the Program Executive Office for Ammunition, or PEO Ammo, has developed an ongoing system modernization program.

 

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26 février 2015 4 26 /02 /février /2015 17:45
Sudan unveils 122 mm self-propelled howitzer, armoured vehicles at IDEX

 

26 February 2015 by defenceWeb

 

The Military Industry Corporation (MIC) Khalifa-1 122 mm self-propelled howitzer has made its international show debut at IDEX 2015 in Abu Dhabi, along with several other products.

 

The weapon is already in service with Sudan’s army. It comprises a 6x6 Kamaz 43118 truck with a protected four-door cab for the five crew and a 122 mm D-30 howitzer on the back of the vehicle. The normally towed howitzer is transplanted onto the vehicle, and as such is manually traversed (40 degrees left and right). Elevation is minus five to plus 70 degrees, or 15 to 70 degrees above the cabin.

 

Hydraulically lowered stabilisers are used to anchor the vehicle when firing and the steel sides are hydraulically folded down in order to give access to artillery shells – 45 projectiles and charges are carried. Range is around 17 km and maximum firing rate is eight rounds per minute. The 20 500 kg vehicle can be readied for firing within 90 seconds. The vehicle’s top speed is around 90 km/h.

 

The vehicle can be fitted with the Karary IGZ01 fire control system, which includes a laser range finder, GPS, telecommunications device etc.

 

The MIC displayed some of its other hardware at IDEX 2015, such as the 120 mm mortar carrier variant of its Khatim-2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), a mobile version of the Taka 107 mm multiple rocket launcher, the Nimr long-range patrol vehicle, unarmoured Tamal tactical vehicle and Sarsar-2 armoured reconnaissance vehicle. The Khatim-2 is loosely based on the BMP-2 via the Iranian Boraq-2 IFV.

 

The Sarsar-2 is based on a 1.2 ton KIA chassis but fitted with armour able to withstand 7.62x51 mm rounds. The vehicle weights 5.5 tons. Other items displayed at IDEX 2015 included the Ateed remote weapon station, apparently based on the Iranian ARIO-H762 and the Sarib anti-tank guided missile (apparently based on the Chinese HJ-8). The Ateed can operate either a 12.7 mm or 7.62 mm machinegun and uses a high resolution day camera, laser range finder and thermal imager. A DShK 12.7 mm heavy machinegun was mounted on the Ateed at IDEX 2015.

 

Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir attended the IDEX opening ceremony on Sunday in his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates since 2008. He arrived with an 11-member delegation, comprised of Ministers of the Presidency, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Investments, Electricity, Minerals, Livestock and Fisheries, Labour, the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and the head of police.

 

Since the 1990s Chinese, Russian and Iranian companies have helped Sudan develop its domestic military industry after an international arms embargo placed on the country. The Military Industry Corporation was established in 1993 to manufacture weapons and equipment for the Sudanese military and is now marketing its products internationally. Products include main battle tanks (based on Chinese designs), small arms, recoilless rifles, mortars, rocket launchers, upgraded armoured vehicles, ammunition, electronics and uniforms.

 

The MIC has used Chinese hardware as the inspiration for many of its own products but the Sudanese military also uses a wide variety of Chinese weapons, such as the Type 96 main battle tank, HJ-8 and HJ-73D anti-tank missile, Type 56 and Type 81 rifles, CQ rifle, QJZ-89 12.7 mm machinegun, M99 12.7 mm sniper rifle, Type 80 machinegun, Type69-1 rocket propelled grenade, NP-42 pistol and the QLZ-87 automatic grenade launcher and recently selected the 5.56 mm QBZ-17 bullpup assault rifle to meet its future needs.

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8 avril 2014 2 08 /04 /avril /2014 16:20
US Army leads development of improved coating for howitzer breech spindles

An M776 howitzer's corroded chrome-plated standard obturator spindle sits next to a newly plated production at the US Army Aberdeen test center in Maryland, US. Photo Conrad Johnson, RDECOM.

 

8 April 2014 army-technology.com

 

The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's (RDECOM) Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) is working on a project to identify, evaluate and implement an improved coating process for howitzer breech spindles.

 

Working in collaboration with the Product Manager Towed Artillery Systems (PM TAS), the ARDEC has shortlisted three new coating and application processes for further testing based on performance and cost. It had been evaluating 12 material formulations in small samples.

 

The selected processes include high power impulse magnetron sputtering from Sheffield Hallam University, accelerated plasma arc from Phygen Coatings, and electroless nickel plating.

 

The team had developed a list of ten primary metrics necessary for a new coating and application process, which included resistance to corrosion, mechanical wear and high temperatures.

 

In an effort to ensure that the coatings withstand the rigours of soldier use, the team has joined forces with the Aberdeen test center for live-fire testing on a howitzer range.

 

After the first round of firing, the spindle undergoes 30 days of weathering in a caustic and acidic propellant byproduct, called a swab water. This is to replicate potential combat conditions, and is followed by another round of firing and then a final weathering cycle.

 

ARDEC project technical lead and materials engineer Dr Christopher Mulligan said the new processes are vastly outperforming the legacy chrome electroplating in terms of corrosion and wear.

"The new technique will boost the howitzer performance, reduce the logistical burden on the soldier, and reduce environmental hazards."

 

The team has also identified and funded a newly developed chemical vapour deposition type coating known as Carbonyl from Canada, and is planning to start testing over the next few months.

 

A final decision is expected to be made within 90 days of the completion of testing of all processes, with an aim for a production-ready coating within six months to a year.

 

The new technique will boost the howitzer performance, reduce the logistical burden on the soldier, and reduce environmental hazards. According to Mulligan, it will save the government more than $2m each year.

 

The evaluation of foreign processes and materials is being funded through the foreign comparative testing (FCT) programme.

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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
Israeli Firm Bags P368-M Deal to Supply Artillery to Army

Elbit Systems Athos 155mm howitzer (photo : behance)

 

29.03.2014 Defense Studies

MANILA, Philippines -- Elbit Systems Land and C41, a defense material manufacturer based in Israel, won the bid to supply the Army more than P368 million worth of artillery, a source privy to the bidding said.

“Elbit offers P368,837,332 for 12 pieces of 155 Howitzer canons with accessories and ammunition,” beating Bosnian firm BNT, the source said.

The second conference that concluded with the choosing of the winning bid was held in Camp Aguinaldo.

The defense department’s Bids and Awards Committee for the project is led by Assistant Secretary Efren Fernandez.

Elbit offered its Athos howitzer system.

Bids for the contract were opened on December 5 last year, following a pre-bid conference on November 22.

(Interaksyon)

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5 mars 2014 3 05 /03 /mars /2014 17:35
DND Rebidding 155mm Howitzers

DND will acquire 12 units 155mm howitzer (photo : Rowielip)

 

Mar. 5, 2014 Defense Studies

Philippine gov't to purchase 12 howitzers

MANILA (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government said Wednesday that it would acquire 12 units of 155-millimeter howitzers in its bid to upgrade the army's capability to fight leftist rebel group New People's Army (NPA) and the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.

The Department of National Defense (DND) said the government is spending 438.6 million pesos (9.78 million U.S. dollars) to purchase the weapons.

The DND said it will conduct a bidding, which will be open to local and foreign contractors on March 11.

The government said the additional howitzers will be used by the Philippine Army which is at the forefront in the fight against the NPA and the Abu Sayyaf.

(Xinhua)

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29 janvier 2014 3 29 /01 /janvier /2014 12:35
India to conduct new trials of indigenous 155mm Bofors howitzer

Bofors 155mm howitzer of the Indian Army. Photo Hemantphoto79

 

29 January 2014 army-technology.com

 

The Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is planning to conduct new trials of the domestically manufactured 155mm Bofors howitzer in February or March 2014.

 

The electronically upgraded indigenous variant of the Swedish 155mm Bofors howitzer had burst during trials at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan, in August 2013, The Times of India reports.

 

An undisclosed source was quoted by the news agency as saying that the faults have been rectified following the barrel burst.

 

''The fourth and the fifth prototypes have undergone `internal firing tests' in Balasore over the last couple of months. Now, the guns are being readied for the trials,'' the source said.

"The faults have been rectified following the barrel burst."

 

Around 114 Bofors howitzers are being manufactured by Jabalpur-based OFB as part of a INR12.6bn ($200m) contract using the designs obtained under transfer of technology (ToT) provisions in the controversial INR14.7bn ($227m) contract awarded to Bofors in March 1986 for supply of 410 howitzers.

 

The OFB has electronically upgraded the guns to 45 calibre from the original 39 calibre, giving the new howitzer a 38km range compared to the 30km of the original Bofors 155mm Howitzer field gun, according to the news agency.

 

The Indian Army, which has a requirement for 414 howitzers, has not inducted a single 155mm gun in the past three decades since the infamous Bofors scandal.

 

Also called as Haubits 77, the Field Howitzer 77 (FH77) is a Swedish 155 mm howitzer, and is available in two versions, namely Haubits 77 A with a sliding block mechanism and the FH77 B export version with an interrupted screw breech.

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11 décembre 2013 3 11 /12 /décembre /2013 17:20
M982 Excalibur round - photo USMC

M982 Excalibur round - photo USMC

 

11 December 2013 army-technology.com

 

Raytheon has completed the final phase of compatibility testing of precision-guided Excalibur projectiles with the German-made PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer in collaboration with the US Army, marking completion of a multi-phase assessment.

 

During the trials carried out at Yuma Proving Ground, the PzH2000 fired ten Excalibur projectiles at targets ranging from 9km to 48km, with all rounds striking within 3m of the targets.

 

The live-fire demonstration, funded by the US, Germany and supported by Raytheon-funded initial testing, also demonstrated the projectile's capability to manoeuvre from the ballistic trajectory to an offset target.

 

Raytheon Missile Systems Land Warfare Systems product line vice-president Michelle Lohmeier said: "The PzH2000 is one of many highly capable cannon artillery systems currently deployed, and now we've proven that it can fire the only mature, true precision solution available today."

 

In October, Raytheon also tested the Excalibur from the Swedish Archer and US howitzers.

 

The German Ministry of Defence is currently assessing Excalibur and competitive technologies, with a contract decision anticipated next year.

 

US Army Excalibur programme manager Lt Col Josh Walsh said: "Raytheon's Excalibur is a combat-proven solution that has been fielded and used in combat since 2007 with nearly 700 firings in coalition operations."

 

In a bid to validate the production readiness of Excalibur Ib, Raytheon would carry out a first article test by the end of the year, with further plans of a live-fire demonstration of the 'Excalibur-S' early next year.

 

The 155mm precision-guided, extended-range Excalibur deploys GPS guidance, which would allow précised, first-round effects capability in any situation, while reducing time, cost and logistical load associated with using other artillery munitions.

PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) 155mm self-propelled howitzer

PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) 155mm self-propelled howitzer

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18 octobre 2013 5 18 /10 /octobre /2013 16:50
The M777 howitzer is manufactured in Barrow, England. (BAE)

The M777 howitzer is manufactured in Barrow, England. (BAE)

 

Oct. 17, 2013 - By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense News

 

LONDON — BAE Systems will suspend production of the M777 howitzer unless it can quickly secure a long-talked about order from India for the lightweight 155mm weapon.

 

The company said in a statement on Thursday that it had begun consulting staff and unions ahead of the suspension of production at its Barrow, England, facility because of continuing delays in negotiations with the Indian government over the sale of 145 guns.

 

Up to 200 jobs are at risk at the Barrow site, where BAE also builds nuclear submarines and supports other artillery programs. Its Hattiesburg, Miss., site in the US, which undertakes final assembly and testing of the gun, is not immediately impacted, the BAE statement said.

 

“The [Barrow] move comes about because of ongoing delays in the US government foreign military sale of M777 howitzers to India,” the company said.

 

A letter of agreement (LoA) between the US and Indian governments for the sale of the towed 155mm weapons expired on Tuesday, triggering a rise in the ceiling price of the package of guns, training and support from US $647 million to $885 million. That price, though, is likely subject to some flexibility if the deal can be finalized quickly.

 

Nobody is holding their breath for a quick deal. The major price escalation from the US government and BAE is likely to lead to further delay. In addition, India is gearing up for a general election.

 

India hasn’t managed to buy any new howitzers since the 1980s’ purchase of weapons from Bofors — a deal that became embroiled in a huge corruption scandal involving financial kickbacks.

 

A letter of request for the M777s was received from India in late 2012, and all trials and evaluations completed in January this year. The LoA has been in place since February.

 

BAE ceased producing assemblies for new gun orders this year and has been investing its own cash, keeping the line alive with work on spares and various inventory items.

 

But the company said that after months of its own investment, it can no longer maintain staffing levels. The artillery side of the Barrow facility employs around 350 people, the majority on the M777.

 

The British-based defense contractor has been building the weapon since 2004, predominantly for the US Marines and Army. Over 1,000 guns have been ordered and the last of those weapons, destined for the Australian military, are being assembled at the company’s Hattiesburg.

 

Barrow is responsible for the welding, machining and fabrication of specialized titanium items, such as the howitzer’s saddle and cradle. Final assembly and test of the M777 is undertaken by around 50 employees at Hattiesburg.

 

BAE said the Hattiesburg facility is completing assembly of guns destined for the Australians and also resetting some weapons supplied to the US military.

 

That work is expected to take the US side of the M777 operation through to around April next year.

 

The announcement of the potential closure of the UK howitzer production site comes just 24 hours after BAE’s US arm said it was closing its Sealy, Texas, wheeled armored vehicle facility, with the loss of up to 325 jobs.

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16 octobre 2013 3 16 /10 /octobre /2013 11:35
Indian Bofors gun's barrel bursts during trials

 

 

15th October 2013 newindianexpress.com (PTI)

 

NEW DELHI - A barrel of the indigenous - version of the Bofors howitzers burst during their trials in the Pokharan range, delaying plans to induct these artillery guns into the Army.

 

The Defence Acquisition Council had recently approved the procurement of 144 such guns by the Army which are being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board, Jabalpur.

 

During the recent trials of the gun in Pokharan, the barrel of the gun burst when the Army was conducting the user trials for approving the gun for induction in the Army, sources said here.

 

The OFB has now been asked to carry out a defect identification inquiry (DII) by the Defence Ministry to ascertain the reasons behind the bursting of the barrel during the crucial trials, they said.

 

The user trials are carried out by the Services for approving the product being tested for induction.

 

The gun has been performing very well so far but the mishap will delay the user trials for another three to four months, they said.

 

Defence Minister AK Antony has been taking personal interest in the development of this programme and has asked both the Department of Defence Production and the Army to cooperate fully for making it successful.

 

The gun design, provided as part of technology transfer, has been gathering dust due to the taint associated with Bofors in the light of the payoffs scam.

 

If successful, the project would save the country millions of rupees and give the Indian Army much needed firepower.

 

The Army has failed to procure even a single piece of artillery after the Bofors scandal erupted in 1980s. All attempts to procure howitzers have had to be cancelled due to one reason or another.

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2 octobre 2012 2 02 /10 /octobre /2012 17:10

M777A2 howitzer

 

02/10/2012 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter

 

Back in May 2012, Indian defence officials agreed that the Indian Army could have 145 M777 Howitzer light artillery systems. The deal still then needed clearances from India's Cabinet Committee on Security and its Ministry of Finance.

 

Five months on, India's about to issue the US Government with a formal LoR (Letter of Request) for these M777 Howitzers, paving the way for them to soon enter Indian Army service.

 

According to local sources, the Indian Army's getting these artillery systems so they can be deployed in remote, high-level parts of the country such as Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Once they've been acquired through the Foreign Military Sales programme and been pressed in service, they'll be the first Indian Army artillery guns to have been deployed since the mid-1980s.

 

M777 Howitzer

 

Manufactured by BAE Systems, the M777 155mm lightweight field Howitzer is a rapidly-deployable artillery system that combines strategic mobility with minimal radar and thermal signatures.

 

The M777 Howitzer's been used in Afghanistan since 2006 and, to date, fired more than 40,000 rounds. It's got an unassisted range of over 24 kilometres and an assisted range of over 30 kilometres, while at peak performance levels it's got a five-round-per-minute rate of fire.

 

The M777 can be taken on the road at speeds of up of 88 kilometres per hour, or on rough ground at maximum speeds of 25 kilometres per hour. It can be towed by a variety of vehicle types, or can be airlifted in battle by C-130 Hercules strategic transport aircraft or CH-47D Chinook and MV-22 Osprey transport helicopters.

 

Indian Army Howitzers

 

On Indian ground, the M777 Howitzer's high-deployability will come into its own in the country's mountainous regions, say Indian news sources.

 

Besides the M777 Howitzers, in future months, the Indian Army is also looking to acquire 100 tracked guns, 180 self-propelled wheeled gun systems and 814 mounted gun systems.

 

More on these - and the Indian Army Howitzers purchase - in future Armed Forces International news.

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9 avril 2012 1 09 /04 /avril /2012 21:04

M777-LIGHTWEIGHT-FIELD-HOWITZER.jpg

 

Apr. 9, 2012 By ANDREW CHUTER and PAUL KALLENDER-UMEZU – Defence News

 

LONDON and TOKYO — Just four months after Japan announced a ground-breaking relaxation of restrictions on the development of defense equipment with foreign partners, Tokyo is taking its first steps toward a deal with the British government.

 

Japan is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding covering future partnering in the defense and research sector with the British as part of a planned April 10 summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his counterpart, David Cameron.

 

The Japanese have teamed with the U.S. for years on joint defense programs covering areas such as missile defense. But for half a century, it has banned cooperation with anybody else.

 

That changed last December, when the Japanese government said it would lift its ban on the joint development or production of defense equipment with international partners.

 

Sources in London said it may take another nine months or so before there is a firm agreement in place.

 

A U.S. defense industry executive, however, warned against expecting rapid progress on joint development with the Japanese if the U.S. experience is anything to go by.

 

“The Japanese have been discussing development for years with the U.S.,” he said. “The concrete progress has been glacial by U.S. standards, but the rules have changed, and the financial environment is such that Japanese industry knows they need to cooperate to advance, or in some cases, probably to survive.”

 

Ahead of the April 10 meeting, Japanese Defense Ministry spokesman Takaaki Ohno confirmed that senior ministry officials will meet British counterparts as part of the high-level diplomatic exchange between the two countries. But while defense cooperation and joint development programs are on the agenda, he said, no specific details had been decided yet.

 

A British Ministry of Defence spokesperson said, “The U.K. will continue to work with the Japanese MoD to identify the best opportunities for our defense industries to cooperate on equipment projects following the announcement of changes to the Japanese policy on overseas transfer of defense equipment.”

 

Previous media speculation in Japan said that three or four joint development programs were being discussed, including possible work in the artillery sector.

 

Shinichi Kiyotani, a Japan-based defense analyst, said he didn’t expect any major announcements to come from the April 10 meeting, and that any Anglo-Japanese defense cooperation would start slowly, perhaps with deals to cooperate on subsystems development.

 

Two areas might be mine detection and clearing, where the U.K. and Japan have complementary technology, as well as nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) suits, he said.

 

Recent U.K. government export licensing applications show the British already provide components for the NBC market in Japan. There may also be cooperation in field artillery, with Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Forces interested in BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems M777 howitzer, he said.

 

BAE is the world leader in lightweight 155mm howitzer systems, with customers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

 

Tony Ennis, president of North East Asia for BAE Systems, said, “Should such [an intergovernmental] framework be agreed to in the future, we would view it as an excellent initiative which would help us continue building on our established presence in Japan and explore new opportunities.”

 

The biggest British defense export to Japan in recent times was the sale of 14 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

 

Local AW101 builder Kawasaki has delivered half of the order so far.

 

Ohno said the April 10 meeting with the British could be seen in the context of last year’s partial relaxation of Japan’s three principles on exporting arms, under which the export of weapons and related technologies had been essentially banned.

 

“The U.K. is a potential partner because our policy is that partner countries are ones that are able to cooperate with us as allies, and the U.K. is a member of NATO,” Ohno said.

Looking for Alternatives?

 

Several Japan-based sources characterized the talks as part of a growing and genuine interest in forging defense cooperation with the U.K., partly because Japan could now do it, and partly because of a feeling that Tokyo needs to compensate the British for Japan’s controversial decision to purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters over the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace Japan’s aging Mitsubishi F-4EJ Kai Phantoms.

 

Tim Huxley, the International Institute for Strategic Studies-Asia executive director, said the Japanese may have other motives for broadening their defense partnership base beyond the U.S.

 

“The Japanese may want alternatives to reliance on the U.S. for defense-industrial collaboration,” he said. “Partnership with the U.K., and probably also other friendly states with advanced defense-industrial capabilities, such as France and maybe Australia, offers a way of ‘keeping the Americans honest,’” he said.

 

The partnership approach also has benefits for the British. With government defense research and technology spending on the floor in Britain, the Ministry of Defence has been looking for foreign partnerships to offset the decline.

 

Late last year, Britain signed a defense research agreement with India covering advanced explosives, UAVs and other sectors.

 

“From the British government perspective, collaboration with Asian partners provides an opportunity to broaden defense-industrial collaboration beyond Europe, where cooperation other than at the bilateral Anglo-French level has virtually become anathema for the Conservatives,” Huxley said.

 

The Tokyo summit is part of Cameron’s three-country swing through Asia, which also will take him to Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

He is expected to emphasize Britain’s continuing commitment to support of the Eurofighter Typhoon program ahead of a decision by the Malaysians on the procurement of a new combat jet.

 

A number of defense deals with the Malaysians also could be announced. And the visit to Indonesia could see a defense pact signed by the two countries.

 

Staff writer Wendell Minnick in Taipei contributed to this report.

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7 octobre 2011 5 07 /10 /octobre /2011 12:05

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/20080106_Calibration.jpg

photo US Army

 

October 7, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE

 

Saudi Arabia is expanding its towed artillery forces by purchasing 36 M777A2 155mm towed howitzers from the United States, along with 17,136 rounds of High Explosive (HE) ammunition and 2,304 rounds of longer range Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAPs). Also being bought are 54 M119A2 105mm towed howitzers. 

 

The Saudis are also buying 432 HMMWV (hummer) vehicles to tow the guns, haul ammo and carry the crews and their gear. For fire control, they are also buying six AN/TPQ-36V Fire Finder Radar Systems (for spotting the location of enemy artillery firing towards them.) Finally, the Saudis are buying 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS), which are computer-based fire control systems that can co-ordinate air strikes, mortars fire and howitzer fire.

 

The M777 is a British design and, at four tons, is the lightest 155mm towed howitzer ever fielded. A crew of five fires regular rounds to 24 kilometers and RAP rounds to 40 kilometers. M777 Fire control is handled by computerized system that allows faster response time and more accurate shooting. Users have found the M777 accurate and reliable. The M119A2 is another British design. Each one weighs 2.1 tons, has a crew of five and a range 13.7 kilometers (19.5 kilometers with RAP shells).

 

Saudi Arabia already has some older towed 105mm howitzers, which the new ones will complement, and eventually replace. These howitzers are used in batteries of six guns.

 

Saudi Arabia is not buying any of the new GPS guided 155mm Excalibur shell. Excalibur makes 155mm shells as accurate as smart bombs, and is considered necessary when artillery is used in proximity to civilians. Excalibur also reduces the number of shells used. The Excalibur also doubles the M777 range, to 40 kilometers, without losing any accuracy.

 

While the Excalibur proved useful in Iraq, it didn't increase the workload of the few 155mm howitzers that were being used there. But Afghanistan was a different story, with the troops spread over a much larger area. This was the kind of situation that the new M777 towed 155mm howitzer was made for. So the army and marine artillery battalions attached to combat brigades are again training on their howitzers, and preparing to operate as artillerymen again, in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia is expected to be more like Afghanistan as far as the Saudis are concerned.

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