Artillery price

US artillery officials urge European armies to link their big guns

WASHINGTON — U.S. military officials overseeing long-range weapons are urging their European counterparts to tie artillery capabilities to those of NATO members as the war in Ukraine highlights the weapon’s importance .

The push comes amid a growing belief that alliance defense relies heavily on interoperability between friendly armies. In the case of field artillery, this means synchronizing weapons and weapon sensors from different countries so that they can engage targets as a single force.

Major General Stephen Maranian, commanding general of the US Army’s 56th Artillery Command in Germany, said he and his staff deployed to allies in Europe to assess their plans and capabilities for of fires, and what obstacles exist at the net. the systems for a bigger punch in combat.

“What we see looking at what’s happening in the east is that the fire formations are very relevant in 2022 and into the future,” said this week at the Association’s annual convention. the US Army in Washington. As a result, he added, countries want to invest in modernized artillery.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has featured long-range fire as a key part of the fight since 2014, when Moscow’s forces established a front line in the Donbass region after the annexation of Crimea. The full-scale invasion of February 2022 saw Russia throw even more weapons onto the front lines.

Western countries, in turn, supported Ukraine with limited amounts of their own weapons, including HIMARS and M777 howitzers the United States, the CAESAR guns from France, the self-propelled Krab from Poland and the Panzerhaubitze 2000 from Germany and the Netherlands. However, arms stocks in Europe are low and most countries have said they only send what they can afford while maintaining a credible national defence.

Maranian said U.S. Army officials are building on the service’s exercise campaign in Europe to test new concepts for linking artillery forces. During this year’s iteration of the Dynamic Front exercise in July, for example, participants presented a “proof of principle” for this purpose at the Grafenwöhr training area in Germany, he said. . The event paired a US artillery brigade with a multinational fire brigade made up of 11 nations, with NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps providing command and control.

“We were able to validate the concept that you could put together formations of smaller donations from countries that don’t necessarily have a whole battalion or brigade to donate,” Maranian said.

The idea now is to see how neighboring nations – ideally with the same equipment, but not necessarily – decide to form regional clusters of linked artillery on the continent, he explained. Appropriate groupings could be in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and countries in south-eastern Europe, for example.

“I think that’s the way to go: to be able to leverage the artillery that exists in the alliance as we modernize,” Maranian said.

Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, as well as US-European cooperation and multinational investments in defense and global security. Previously, he was editor of Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.