Artillery: France Seeks Survivable Artillery


July 9, 2024: The fighting in Ukraine made it clear that the French concept of mounting 155mm guns on a truck to rapidly fire a few rounds, then move to avoid return (counterbattery) fire was not only unique but very effective. So far, only ten percent of these truck-mounted guns have been destroyed in Ukraine compared to a third of the conventional 155mm guns carried in an armored, tracked vehicle. The getaway speed of the truck-mounted systems made the difference and other countries are taking note. Another vital component of truck mounted artillery success is the heavy use of the new FPV (First Person View) attack UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or drones. The operators of the FPV drones wear a viewing device over their eyes so they can see what the FPV drone camera sees. These FPV drones are used for finding targets for truck mounted artillery as well as making attacks themselves. The 155mm artillery shells make a bigger bang than the small amount of explosives in an FPV drone.

Ukraine builds its own FPV drones and is now manufacturing its own truck-mounted artillery system called Bohdana. Ukraine is producing ten of them a month. France and many other nations have found that the truck-mounted 155mm gun is the weapon of the future, replacing traditional tracked self-propelled artillery armored vehicles and most of the towed artillery systems. The only towed artillery to survive are those that must be moved to locations by a helicopter carrying the howitzer via a sling beneath the helicopter. These are still used for combat in remote areas, as was experienced by the Americans in Afghanistan until it left in 2021. The current Afghan government has the same problem but no helicopter with slings to carry it out.




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