July 13, 2007:
The German manufacturer of the
highly successful PzH 2000 self propelled (SP) 155mm artillery gun, has
developed a lighter version. The AGM (Artillery Gun Module) self propelled gun
puts the 12.5 ton PzH 2000 turret on a lighter armored vehicle, or heavy truck.
The turret contains a fully automated loading system, and 30 155mm shells and
propellant charges. There is only a two man crew, and one of them enters the
firing information, and the shell is loaded and fired in the proper direction.
Mounted on the same chassis as the U.S. MLRS rocket launcher, the AGM weighs 27
tons. If you mount it on a heavy (6x6) truck, it weighs about 23 tons. In
contrast, the PzH 2000 weighs 55 tons, and most of the additional weight is
armor, to protect the gun from enemy counter-fire. But the AGM, using GPS
guided rounds (like the new U.S. Excalibur), would be able to fire one or two
rounds, and get away before counter-fire could arrive. Thus one AGM, with 30
Excalibur rounds, could be able to take out two dozen targets (taking into account
misfires and targets needed a second shell), before needing resupply.
All this is just as revolutionary as what happened
a century ago, when more accurate, long range howitzers appeared, making
precision artillery fire, at targets over the horizon, a possibility for the
first time. This innovation changed artillery use on a fundamental level for
the next century.