Artillery: Panzerhaubitze Ost

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November 8, 2015: Lithuania is buying 21 used PzH (Panzerhaubitze, or armored howitzer) self-propelled 155mm gun systems from Germany. The deal includes 32 support vehicles, most of them forward observer vehicles based on the M113. Lithuania is paying $66 million for over fifty well maintained vehicles. The deal includes fire control software for the vehicles and training.

Lithuania is small (population 2.9 million) and has not got a lot of money (defense spending of $644 million a year) but one battalion of self-propelled artillery will make a difference because Lithuania is a member of NATO and they don’t have to defeat a Russian invasion, just slow it down until other NATO members can come to their aid. The PzH 2000s will replace towed M101 105mm howitzers with a range of 11 kilometers.

The PzH 2000 was built to replace (in the late 1990s) the 1950s era American M-109s in German service. The PzH 2000 is larger (at 56 tons, compared to 28) than the M-109, has a longer range gun, a smaller crew (three compared to four men), and more capabilities and features as well. This enables the PZH 2000 to deliver more accurate fire over longer distance (40 kilometers) and do it quicker than other artillery.

 


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