Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems successfully demonstrated a new self-propelled howitzer integrated onto a wheeled platform in early March 2023 at the Shivta firing range in southern Israel.
As noted by the company, German weapons maker Rheinmetall and Elbit Systems have successfully conducted a live fire demonstration of an automated 155mm L52 wheeled self-propelled howitzer. It was attended by high-ranking officials of the armed forces of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary.
Rheinmetall and Elbit Systems signed a cooperation agreement last year to develop, manufacture and market an automated European 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer system.
Led by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH, the “Rheinmetall Elbit” team will compete for Germany’s “Future System, Indirect Fire, Medium-Range (ZukSysIndF)” program, which will modernize and broaden the Bundeswehr’s artillery capabilities. The UK’s “Mobile Fires Platform” program also remains a focus and additional potential customers, such as Hungary, have expressed interest.
The cooperation between Rheinmetall and Elbit builds on the fully automated wheeled self-propelled howitzer procurement programs that Elbit has signed with Israel and additional customers. As a result, a technically mature system is already available, enabling the integration of a Rheinmetall gun into the unmanned, fully robotic artillery turret of the Elbit system. The integration is currently in an advanced phase of the verification process. This will help reduce development risks and enable faster realization of operational readiness.
Intensive bilateral technology transfer is currently underway, increasing the availability of domestic know-how and components. Rheinmetall is currently carrying out modifications to customize the system to European operational requirements and the German regulatory approval process. Furthermore, the Düsseldorf-based tech enterprise brings its tried-and-tested 155mm L52 gun; high mobility HX 10×10 tactical truck with a well-protected cabin; and electronic components for the fire control unit and sensor suite to the solution.
Rheinmetall is already working to future-proof the solution by enhancing the range of its tube artillery. In addition to the battle-proven L52 and its advanced A1 version, the wheeled self-propelled howitzer is designed to integrate the L60 gun in the future. The L60 is in development and features a significantly larger chamber and a longer 60-calibre barrel. This gun will be able to attain ranges of up to 83 km with JBMoU-compliant ammunition. The Rheinmetall-Elbit wheeled self-propelled howitzer meets the specifications of the Bundeswehr for a future wheel-based, medium-range indirect fire system.
“We are proud to present the world with this advanced 155mm artillery system”, declared John Abunassar, chief of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems division, and Yehuda (Udi) Vered, general manager of Elbit Systems, in a joint statement. “The successful demonstration of the automated howitzer highlights the synergies and innovative technologies of the Rheinmetall-Elbit team – a team that is uniquely positioned to supply the armed forces of Germany and other nations with an outstanding new tube artillery capability. We are convinced that this joint German-Israeli project will contribute to strengthening ties between our two nations and their armed forces.”