Artillery types

US seeks 155mm artillery with digital fire control and barrel cooling

WASHINGTON – The US military is starting to look for opportunities to purchase or produce a 155mm self-propelled howitzer with digital fire control and barrel cooling, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing SAM.gov. The order was published on January 7 and the first manufacturers are expected to provide the necessary information by February 5, 2022.

Photo Credit: Army Reconnaissance

SAM.gov states that this is preliminary market research, which should select the right participants and their products.

The United States has additional requirements for the future new self-propelled howitzer of a new generation. For example, it must allow mounting on a truck. This means that the artillery system is highly mobile, deploying on a stationary artillery gun and returning to a vehicle within minutes.

Interested vendors are to provide a 155mm self-propelled howitzer design, which has an increased firing range, as well as a greater volume of fire. In addition to barrel cooling and digital fire control, the howitzer must have self-contained modes, subsystems, and components. The new 155 mm artillery should allow the installation of various types of weapons to support the firepower of the howitzer.

Barrel cooling

Barrel cooling is a requirement which, if achieved, will not only extend the life of the 155mm gun, but will ensure intense and high firing velocities, which will increase the number of projectiles fired per minute.

According to artillery engineers, cooling of a howitzer barrel is achieved by integral cooling of the middle wall of the barrel chamber, as well as cooling of the remaining outer surface along the barrel. To obtain the desired effect and evaluate the final result, artillery engineers must model the effects of barrel heating, due to circular fire. It is necessary to determine the degree of radial and axial conductivity in the barrel wall. Once engineers receive the results of these studies, they can determine the optimal radiator size for the gun.

Digital fire control

Digital fire control is nothing new that should come as a surprise to US government study participants. Even dozens of howitzer designs in the United States and around the world currently use these software and hardware solutions, such as the 155mm Joint Lightweed Texted Artillery Digitzer, Stryker Mobile Gun System, and HIMARS/MLRS vehicles, and systems international ones such as LINAPS .

Digital fire control is production automation that, through network-intensive software solutions, enables remote howitzer firing without the need for manual firing by the crew as before.

Digital fire control systems include hardware systems for extreme environments, system integration, display and computer that controls fire through a series of mathematical calculations, computerized artillery tactical data system , etc

Why is the United States looking for new 155mm howitzers?

The question is important because only a few months ago the US government already evaluated several 155 mm wheeled howitzers. Military experts say the test results likely didn’t impress the US military, which should have already decided on a new howitzer in mid-2021.

According to some analysts and artillery experts, the reasons can be reduced to three main ones:

  • The howitzers that have been offered to the US military so far lack the necessary firing range, as well as to work with more types of portable ammunition than exist.
  • The howitzers that have been proposed so far by the US Army do not allow the integration of the gun on different types of wheeled chassis.
  • The proposed howitzers do not have soft recoil technology. This technology reduces the load on the trolley and other parts of the structure, making the wheel system itself much lighter than those currently on the market.

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