M198 howitzer

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M198 Howitzer
4-14 Marines in Fallujah.jpg
A 155 mm M198 howitzer firing
Type Towed howitzer
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1979 to Present
Used by U.S. Army
USMC
Australian Army
Royal Thai Army
Tunisian Armed Forces
Lebanese Armed Forces
Military of Honduras
Iraqi Army
Production history
Designed 1968–1977
Manufacturer Rock Island Arsenal (US)
Unit cost US$527,337
Produced 1978–1992
Number built 1600+
Specifications
Weight 7,154 kg (15,772 lb)
Length Combat: 11 m (36 ft 2 in)
Travel: 12.3 m (40 ft 6 in)
Width Travel: 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in)
Height Travel: 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)
Crew 9 enlisted men

Caliber 155 mm (6.1 in)
Rate of fire Maximum: 4 rpm
Sustained: 2 rpm
Maximum firing range Conventional: 22.4km (14 mi)
RAP: 30km (18.6 mi)

The M198 howitzer is a medium-sized, towed artillery piece, developed for service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. It was commissioned to be a lightweight replacement for the WWII-era M114 155mm howitzer. It was designed and prototyped at the Rock Island Arsenal in 1969 with firing tests beginning in 1970 and went into full production there in 1978. It entered service in 1979 and since then 1,600 units have been produced and put into operation.

The M198 is being replaced in US and Australian service by the BAE M777 howitzer.

Description[edit]

The M198 155mm howitzer weighs less than 16,000 pounds, allowing it to be dropped by parachute or transported by a CH-53E Super Stallion or CH-47 Chinook. The M198 is a towed howitzer that is transported tail first. The gun tube can be rotated over the howitzer's trail legs to reduce its length, though this requires removal of the muzzle brake, or left in the firing position for faster deployment. When firing, the weapon is lowered onto its baseplate rather than being anchored to the ground, allowing for rapid emplacement. The breech is operated manually via a screw type mechanism that rests low in an ergonomic position. The M198 fires non-fixed ammunition and can be loaded with a variety of propellants and projectiles. The effective range is 18,100 meters when firing standard projectiles, which increases to 30,000 meters when firing rocket-assisted projectiles and guided ammunition. With the 52-caliber modification the range can surpass 40,000 meters. The weapon system requires a crew of 9 and is capable of firing at a maximum rate of four rounds per minute, two sustained.

The M198 is deployed in separate corps- and army-level field artillery units, as well as in artillery battalions of light and airborne divisions. It also provides field artillery fire support for all Marine Air-Ground Task Force organizations.

Capable munitions[edit]

An M198 during the Gulf War
High Explosive (HE)
(M-107 NC/DC): Explosive Composition B material packed into a thick, internally scored shell which causes a large blast and sends razor-sharp fragments at extreme velocities (5,000–6,000 meters per second). The kill zone is approximately a radius of 50 meters and casualty radius is 100 meters. The Marine Corps and US Army also uses the M795 High Explosive round.
Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP)
A rocket-assisted HE (also known as H.E.R.A.) round that adds to the maximum range of the normal HE. For the 155 mm RAP round, max range is 30.1 kilometres (18.7 mi). M549
White Phosphorus (WP)
A base-ejecting projectile which can come in two versions: felt-wedge and standard. White phosphorus smoke is used to start fires, burn a target, or to create smoke which is useful in concealing the movements of friendly units.
Illumination
Illumination projectiles are base-ejecting rounds which deploy a bright parachute flare ideally 600 meters above the ground and illuminates an area of approximately 1 grid square (1,000,000 square meters). Illumination rounds are often used in conjunction with HE rounds, to illuminate the target area so that HE rounds can be fired more effectively. Illumination rounds can also be used during the daytime to mark targets for aircraft. The M485 Illumination round burns for 120 seconds.
Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM)
A base-ejecting projectile that drops 88 bomblets above a target. Each bomblet has a shaped-charge munition capable of penetrating two inches of solid steel as well as a fragmentation casing which is effective against infantry in the open. The DPICM round is effective against armored vehicles, even tanks (since the deck armor is usually the thinnest on the vehicle), and is also extremely useful against entrenched infantry in positions with overhead cover.
Area Denial Artillery Munition System (ADAMS)
An artillery round that releases anti-personnel mines. These mines eject tripwires to act as booby traps, and when triggered are launched upward before exploding. They are designed to self-destruct after a pre-determined period of time.
Remote Anti Armor Mine System (RAAMS)
An artillery round that releases anti-armor mines, usually used along with ADAMS rounds to prevent the antitank mines from being removed. Designed to self-destruct after a pre-determined period of time.
Copperhead
An artillery launched guided high-explosive munition used for very precise targeting of high-value targets such as tanks and fortifications. It requires the target be designated with a laser designator system. This round is currently no longer produced or used by the US military.
Sense and Destroy ARMor (SADARM)
An experimental munition that is fired in the general direction of an enemy vehicle. The shell activates at a certain point in time ejecting a parachute and then guides itself to the nearest vehicle.

Replacement[edit]

BAE Systems has won the contract to replace the M-198 in the US Army and Marine Corps with its M777 155 mm/39 cal towed howitzer, which weighs less than 11,000 lb/4,220 kg.

Operators[edit]

Australian M198s firing during an exercise

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]