Palmaria (artillery)

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Argentinian VCA 155
Argentinian VCA 155 - TAM hull with Palmaria turret
TypeSelf-propelled artillery
Place of originItaly
Service history
WarsLibyan Civil War (2011)
Weight46,632 kg (102,590 lb)
Length11.474 m (37 ft 8 in)
Width2.35 m (7 ft 8 in)
Height2.874 m (9 ft 5 in)

one 155 mm howitzer
one 7.62 mm machine gun
Engineeight-cylinder diesel engine
750 PS (740 hp, 552 kW)
Power/weight16.1 PS/tonne
Suspensiontorsion bar
400 km (250 miles)
Speed60 km/h (37 mph)

The Palmaria is an Italian self-propelled howitzer using the 155 mm (6.1″) NATO-standard artillery calibre.[1]


Developed by OTO Melara for the export market, the development of the Palmaria began in 1977,[2] with the first prototype appearing in 1981.[1]


The Palmaria's chassis is based on the OF-40 main battle tank.

The primary armament is a 155 mm howitzer, with a secondary 7.62mm machine gun or 12.7 mm machine gun. The howitzer has an automatic loading system, providing a rate of fire of one round every 15 seconds[1] or a burst-fire rate of three rounds every 25 seconds.[2] The loader has 23 ready rounds, with seven more rounds stored in the hull. Including manual reloading of the charge, the overall firing rate is normally one round per minute for one hour. Intense firing is four rounds in one minute. Sustained fire is one round every three minutes for an indefinite period.[2] A wide variety of 155 mm munitions are available, including specially developed Simmel rounds with a range of 24.7 km and rocket-assisted ones with a range of 30 km.

The turret is hydraulic with manual backup, and has 360 degree rotation with elevation limits of -4 to +70 degrees.[3] It has its own auxiliary power supply which conserves fuel for the main engine.[1]

Operational history[edit]

Palmarias of the Libyan Army, destroyed by French air force near Benghazi on March 19, 2011, in Opération Harmattan.

Libya was the first country outside Italy to adopt the Palmaria, initially ordering 210 in 1982.[1][4] Their army's artillery strength in 2004 included 160 Palmaria.[5] Several were destroyed during the 2011 Libyan civil war as a result of multinational military intervention.[6]

Other users include Nigeria, which took 25 Palmaria in 1982, and Argentina, taking the last 25 vehicles in 1986.[2] Argentina mounted the Palmaria turrets onto TAM chassis as one possible replacement for their AMX-13 Mk. F-3 self-propelled guns. This vehicle became the TAM VCA Palmaria.[7]


Map of Palmaria operators in blue

Current operators[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Trewhitt, Philip (1999). Armoured Fighting Vehicles. 119: Dempsey-Parr. ISBN 1-84084-328-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gourley, Scott (April 1990). "Fire for effect: western developments in self-propelled artillery". Armada International. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Margiotta, Franklin D. (ed) (1996). Encyclopedia of Land Forces and Warfare. Potomac Books. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-57488-087-8.
  5. ^ a b Cordesman, Anthony (2004). The Military Balance in the Middle East. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 100. ISBN 0-275-98399-4.
  6. ^ a b "Battle Of Libya" Al Jazeera video report, 22 March 2011, at 35 second mark
  7. ^ a b "TAM Series of Medium Tracked Armoured Vehicles". Retrieved 2007-12-18.