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Panzerhaubitze 2000 in profile.
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Wars||War in Afghanistan|
|Unit cost||US$4.5 million|
|Weight||Combat: 55.8 t (61.5 short tons)|
|Length||11.7 m (38 ft 5 in)|
|Width||3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)|
|Height||3.1 m (10 ft 2 in)|
|Crew||5 (commander, driver, gunner, and two loaders)|
|Armor||welded steel, 14.5 mm resistant
additional bomblet protection
Rheinmetall 155 mm L52 Artillery Gun
|Rheinmetall MG3 7.62 mm machine gun|
|Engine||MTU 881 Ka-500
1,000 PS (986 hp, 736 kW)
|420 km (261 mi)|
|Speed||Road: 67 km/h (41 mph)
Off-road: 45 km/h (28 mph)
The Panzerhaubitze 2000 ("armoured howitzer 2000"), abbreviated PzH 2000, is a German 155 mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall for the German Army. The PzH 2000 is one of the most powerful conventional artillery systems deployed in the 2010s. It is particularly notable for a very high rate of fire; in burst mode it can fire three rounds in 9 seconds, ten rounds in 56 seconds, and can—depending on barrel heating—fire between 10 and 13 rounds per minute continuously. The PzH 2000 has automatic support for up to 5 rounds of Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI). The replenishment of shells is automated. Two operators can load 60 shells and propelling charges in less than 12 minutes. PzH 2000 has also been selected by the armies of Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania and Croatia, and more orders are probable as many NATO forces replace their M109 howitzers.
In 1986 Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany, agreed to terminate their existing development of the PzH 155-1 (SP70) program, which had run into reliability problems and had design defects, notably being mounted on a modified tank chassis. A new Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMOU) for a 52 calibre barrel (based on a UK proposal) to replace 39 calibre was nearing agreement. German industry was asked for proposals to build a new design with gun conforming to the JBMOU. Of the proposed designs, Wegmann's was selected.
Rheinmetall designed the 155 mm 52-calibre JBMOU compliant gun, which is chromium-lined for its entire 8 metre length and includes a muzzle brake on the end. The gun uses a new modular charge system with six charges (five identical), which can be combined to provide the optimal total charge for the range to the target, as well as the conventional bagged charge systems. Primer is loaded separately via a conveyor belt, and the entire loading, laying and clearing is completely automated. The maximum range of the gun is 30 km with the standard L15A2 round (a UK design for FH-70 and stockpiled by Germany for M109G and FH70), about 35 km with base bleed rounds, and at least 40 km with assisted projectiles. In April 2006 a PzH 2000 shot assisted shells (Denel V-Lap) over a distance of 56 km with a probable maximum range of over 60 km. The gun can also fire the SMArt 155 artillery round, which is used by Germany and Greece.
Wegmann supplied both the chassis, sharing some components with the Leopard 2, and the turret for the gun. The system has superb cross-country performance because of its use of continuous tracks and considerable protection in the case of counter-fire. The turret includes a phased array radar on the front glacis for measuring the muzzle velocity of each round fired. Laying data can be automatically provided via encrypted radio from the battery fire direction centre.
Wegman eventually won a contract in 1996 for 185 to be delivered to Germany's rapid reaction force, followed by another 410 for the main force. Wegmann and Krauss-Maffei, the two main German military tracked vehicle designers, merged in 1998.
A lighter, more air-portable version, using the gun in a module fitted to a lighter chassis, has been developed by Krauss-Maffei. It is called the Artillery Gun Module.
In December 2013, Raytheon and the German Army completed compatibility testing for the M982 Excalibur extended range guided artillery shell with the PzH2000. 10 Excaliburs were fired at ranges from 9 to 48 kilometers. Shells hit within three meters of their targets, with an average miss distance of one meter at 48 km. The Excalibur may be accepted by the German Army in 2014.
Combat record and alterations
The PzH 2000 was used for the first time in combat by the Dutch Army in August 2006 against Taliban targets in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Medusa. Since then it has been used regularly in support of coalition troops in Uruzgan province, also in Afghanistan. The PzH 2000 was also used extensively during the Battle of Chora. It is known as "the long arm of ISAF". The gun has been criticised by the Dutch in Uruzgan province as the NBC system designed for use in Europe cannot cope with the high level of dust in Afghanistan. The guns have been modified with additional armor being fitted to the roof to protect against mortar rounds. There have been other reports of problems including the need to keep it in the shade unless actually firing, the damage it does to poorly built roads and a significant 'cold gun' effect necessitating the use of 'warmers'.
Since the beginning of June 2010, German ISAF troops at PRT Kunduz have three PzH2000 at their disposal. They were first used on 10 July 2010 to provide support for the recovery of a damaged vehicle. This was the first time in its history the Bundeswehr has used heavy artillery in combat. The PzH2000 also played a key role during Operation Halmazag in November 2010, when the villages of Isa Khel and Quatliam were retaken from the Taliban by German paratroopers.
- Croatia: Order made for 15 systems. Twelve units completely modernized and overhauled and three used for spare parts and a simulator. Training and support trucks valued are also included. Total value is 41 million euros.The first PzH 2000 was delivered on 29 July 2015. All of the systems are to be delivered between 2015 and 2016.
- Germany: 149, of which 72 in active service (Total initial number 185, from these 15 sold to Croatia and 21 to Lithuania)
- Greece: 24
- Italy: 68, 2 pre-production models were retired
- Lithuania: 21 to be delivered between 2015 and 2019.
- Netherlands: 18 active, 6 for training, 12 reserve
- Qatar: 24 ordered, first three were delivered in fall 2015
A number of armies have tested the system and its ability to provide accurate fire at 40 km has been a major selling point.
The PzH 2000 was considered for the US Army's Crusader concept system, but several requirements of the Crusader made it unsuitable. The Crusader specifications placed the crew and gun in separate compartments, allowing a single highly armoured crew compartment to control the firing of an entire battery of guns through intervehicle links. In addition the Crusader included an automated ammunition tender, and an active cooled barrel.
The PzH2000 was a contender for Phase 1C of Australia's Land 17 Artillery Replacement Program prior to that phase of the project being cancelled in May 2012.
- Evaluation operators
- Finland: Tested one alongside the 155mm SpGH ZUZANA and AS-90 "Braveheart". Tests ended 1998 and due the cost efficiency issues no SPG system was selected, but instead more of the cheaper 155 K 98 field guns were bought.
- Germany: German Navy evaluated a modified system known as MONARC for installation onboard frigates; while the system performed well components were difficult to protect against corrosion.
- Sweden: 1 slightly modified but went for the Archer Artillery system instead.
Dutch PzH-2000 firing on targets in Chora. June 16, 2007.
PzH 2000 of the German Army used for training.
Remote firing of the PzH 2000 by a German Army soldier in Kunduz, Afghanistan (July 2010)
- AHS Krab
- Bandkanon 1C
- 2S19 Msta
- M109 howitzer
- Type 99
- K-9 Thunder
- T-155 Fırtına
- GCT 155mm
- Army Technology with data on PzH2000
- KMweg.de Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- German Army PzH 2000 Howitzer Test Fires Excalibur 155mm Artillery Projectile - Deagel.com, 10 December 2013
- Bundeswehr setzt erstmals schwere Artillerie ein. Hamburger Abendblatt, 12 July 2010
- Der Kampf um Quatliam, by David Schraven (German)
- Nicholas, de Larrinaga (29 July 2015). "Croatia receives first PzH 2000". IHS Jane's 360. IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- "Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Supports Qatar’s Army Moderni zation" (PDF) (Press release). Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
- "Rethink of Defence projects to save billions". ABC Online. May 3, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
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