XM2001 Crusader

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XM2001 Crusader
XM2001 Crusader.jpg
XM2001 Crusader firing a shell
Mass43 tons
Length7.53 m
Width3.31 m
Height3.00 m
Crew3 (Commander, Driver, Gunner)

XM297E2 155mm cannon
EngineGE/Honeywell LV100-5 turbine engine
1500 hp (1119 kW)
Suspensiontorsion bar
Speed39-48 km/h

The XM2001 Crusader was to be the United States Army's next-generation self-propelled howitzer (SPH), designed to improve the survivability, lethality, mobility, and effectiveness of the artillery as well as the overall force. It was initially scheduled for fielding by 2008. United Defense was the prime contractor; General Dynamics the major subcontractor. In early May 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld cancelled the USD$11 billion program because he considered it neither mobile nor precise enough.[1] The prototype SPH vehicle is on display at the cannon park at Fort Sill.


The Crusader was conceived as the Advanced Field Artillery System (AFAS), part of a family of vehicles built around a common chassis in the Armored Systems Modernization program. In 1994 AFAS was renamed "Crusader."[2]

In 1996 the Crusader's experimental liquid fuel system was replaced by more traditional solid propellant bags. In 1997 the Government Accountability Office advised the Army to consider instead upgrading the Paladin or purchase German Panzerhaubitze 2000.[2]

The Crusader was intended to replace the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer and the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV). It was intended to be an automated gun artillery system to support the Interim Brigade Combat Teams (IBCT) Counterattack Corps and a basis for other vehicle developments.

Key features of the Crusader design included:

  • A cooled XM297E2 cannon for sustained high rates of fire
  • Automated ammunition handling and loading
  • Cockpit with embedded command and control
  • Composite armor
  • Survivability features to protect the vehicle and crew
  • GE/Honeywell LV100-5 gas turbine engine to keep up with other fighting vehicles

Using the same chassis, the resupply vehicles (RSVs) would deliver automatic, reciprocal transfer of ammunition, data and fuel to the SPH or another RSV.

Program Timeline[edit]

  • 1QFY95 Approved to commence program definition and risk reduction (PDRR) phase.
  • 2QFY98 In-process review completed and manufacture of the PDRR prototype systems begun.
  • 3QFY99 Delivery of first RSV prototype.
  • 2QFY00 Delivery of first prototype howitzer SPH 1.
  • 1QFY02 Successful preliminary design review.
  • 1QFY02 More than 4000 rounds fired from SPH 1.
  • 2QFY02 Program discontinued.


Curb Weight 40 tons 36 tons 33.3 tons
Length 7.53 m 7.53 m 11.03 m
Width 3.31 m 3.31 m 2.44 m
Height 3.00 m 3.00 m 3.59 m
Cross-Country Mobility 39–48 km/h 39–48 km/h 64 km/h
Armament Cooled 155 mm none none
Max Range 400–500 km (assisted)
Rate of Fire/Resupply 10-12 rounds/min 48 rounds in 10 min 48 rounds in 10 min
Crew 3 3 3


In October 1999 Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki outlined a future that envisioned transforming heavy brigades into lighter brigades outfitted with wheeled Interim Armored Vehicles, later renamed "Stryker." Shinseki said the priority of a lighter, more mobile army could shift resources from heavier armored vehicle acquisitions.[3] The following month Shinseki said the vehicles were too heavy: the howitzer and its resupply vehicle would weigh a combined 110 tons, more than could be carried by any of the Air Force's aircraft, including the C-5 Galaxy. Shinseki spoke with contractor United Defense about bringing down the combined weight of the two vehicles by 20 tons, which United agreed was possible.[2]

In April 2001 a panel convened by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recommended canceling the Crusader and other defense modernization programs. An official involved called the Crusader "a wonderful system -- for a legacy world."[4]

As of 2002 the Army planned to acquire 480 Crusaders at a program cost of $11 billion.[5]

In February 2002 President George W. Bush allocated $475 million for the Crusader program in the White House's 2003 budget proposal, which also proposed increased Pentagon spending by $48 billion.[6]

In April Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, whose concerns about defense modernization overspending had intensified, met with Pentagon officials including Army Secretary Thomas E. White to discuss defense spending cuts to free funding for more essential modernization programs. The officials discussed cuts to the Crusader, RAH-66 Comanche helicopter, and F-22 Raptor. Some officials questioned whether the howitzer was redundant given the parallel development of a lighter howitzer for the Future Combat Systems modernization effort.[5]

On May 9 Rumsfeld announced that he would ask Congress to cancel the $11 billion program. Days before, Congress members favorable to the Crusader received talking points from Army official who sought to save the program. The last-minute lobbying prompted anger from Rumsfeld and an internal Army investigation into its congressional liaison office.[7] The investigation culminated with the resignation of the Army official who had distributed the talking points.[8] After being absolved himself of wrongdoing in the matter, Army Secretary White assured that he supported Rumsfeld's decision and said the Army was analyzing alternatives to the Crusader including the M982 Excalibur 155-mm guided artillery shell.[9] The House Appropriations Committee responded, after rejected a measure that would have sustained the program until the fall, asking the Pentagon to delay plans to cancel the Crusader.[10] Later that month President Bush asked Congress to reallocate the Crusader's budget towards other Army developmental weapons including $310 million for Future Combat Systems in the proposed 2003 Pentagon budget.[11]

It had a speed of around 40 mph (64 km/h) compared to the PzH 2000 speed of around 37 mph (60 km/h). However, the Pentagon refused German suggestions of producing a PzH that would have detachable armor, which could be shipped separately, or substituting titanium for steel in many parts.[citation needed]

Similar vehicles[edit]


  1. ^ "Prepared Statement of the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense on the Crusader Recommendation before the Senate Committee on Armed Services" (PDF). May 16, 2002. pp. 9–11. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c Graham, Bradley (25 November 1999). "Army's Big Gun Must Lose Some Weight". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  3. ^ Myers, Steven Lee (13 October 1999). "Army is Restructuringwith Brigades for Rapid Response". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  4. ^ Myers, Steven Lee (23 April 2002). "Pentagon panel recommends scuttling howitzer system". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b Thom Shanker; James Dao (16 April 2002). "Defense Secretary Wants Cuts in Weapons Systems to Pay for New Technologies". Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  6. ^ Dao, James (2 February 2002). "A Nation Challenged: the Military Budget; Bush Sees Big Rise in Military Budget for Next 5 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  7. ^ Shanker, Thom (3 May 2002). "National Briefing | Washington: Army Investigates Lobbying Effort". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  8. ^ Dao, James (10 May 2002). "Army Liaison Who Lobbied Congress For Weapon Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  9. ^ Dao, James (9 May 2002). "Rumsfeld Sets Up Showdown Over Weapon". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  10. ^ Dao, James (16 May 2002). "A Lift for a Weapons System". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  11. ^ Shanker, Thom (30 May 2002). "President Formally Seeks Halt to Crusader Artillery Program". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.