The Panzerhaubitze PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer is an armored tracked combat vehicle with a front-mounted engine-transmission compartment. The combat compartment with the rotating turret occupies all the middle and rear parts of the machine.
The armor of the tower provides protection against small arms, large pieces of artillery and mortar shells with a caliber of up to 14.5 mm. From above, the most responsible places of the self-propelled gun are covered with reactive armor. This provides protection against the cumulative elements of cluster munitions (artillery shells and aerial bombs, as well as shock-core ammunition). On the front and side projections of the self-propelled guns, the installation of reactive armor blocks is not provided, since the PzH 2000 is not intended to act directly on the battlefield.
PzH 2000 is equipped with protection systems against weapons of mass destruction, ventilation, as well as fire warning and fire extinguishing system. An additional measure to protect the crew is a powerful partition in the aft part of the turret that separates the loads from the combat compartment. In the event of an explosion of charges, the energy of the explosion is returned, which significantly increases the probability of survivability of the crew in combat.
The main armament of the PzH 2000 is a 155-mm howitzer with a barrel length of 52 caliber (slightly more than 8 m), mounted on a circular swing tower. The range of vertical pointing angles is from -2.5 to +65 °. The barrel channel is chrome plated, which prolongs its service life. The volume of the charging chamber is 23 liters. The gun is equipped with a slotted muzzle brake of a new model, which reduces the intensity of the flash and reduces the recoil of the weapon when the bullet leaves the barrel of the weapon. The semi-automatic wedge bolt is equipped with a magazine for 32 standard detonator capsules with ring conveyor.
The additional armament of the PzH 2000 self-propelled gun consists of a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun and 8 grenade launchers (4 on each side) designed to fire smoke grenades. The ammunition of the self-propelled gun includes 60 artillery shells, 48 full-round charges, as well as 2,000 machine-gun shells and 8 grenades for grenade launchers.
An innovative feature of the PzH 2000 was the use of the MTLS modular projectile charging system developed by the Rheinmetall company. In this system, a full charge consists of 6 modules. The use of MTLS allows you to increase the rate of fire, prevents the formation of soot in the barrel and its rapid wear, improves ignition and eliminates the danger of ignition.
The maximum range of fire with a standard L15A2 projectile is 30 km, with a projectile with a lower nozzle “Base Leak” – about 35 km, with active-reactive ammunition – 40 km. At the same time, the howitzer can fire using conventional “NATO” standard charges.
The main type of the PzH 2000 projectile is the British-developed high-explosive L15. The mass of bullets of this family, depending on the modification, is 41.75-43.55 kg, the mass of the explosive is 11.3 kg. The L15A1 variant is equipped with a conductive belt, and the L15A2 is also equipped with a choke that reduces barrel wear.
PzH 2000 can fire other types of projectiles, for example, DM63 cartridges filled with 642 fragmentation warheads (fire range – 27.1 km). The ammunition of the ACS includes the SMArt 155 (DM702A1) projectile, which includes two self-guided submunitions (the guidance system of the latter includes infrared sensors and a microwave radar). Such a projectile weighs 47 kg, the firing range reaches 27.5 km.
In 2006, PzH 2000 conducted test firings with a V-LAP active-reactive projectile developed by the South African company Denel at a distance of 56 km. This indicator is not excessive – it was limited by the size of the storage area. At the end of 2013, test firing of the American guided missile M982 “Excalibur” took place. The minimum firing range of this ammunition is 9 km, the maximum is 48 km.
The self-propelled gun is equipped with two sights – panoramic PERI R19 and TN80 (8x magnification), used for direct fire. There is also a laser range finder with a range of up to 2,800 m. At the disposal of the commander of the self-propelled gun is a periscopic observation device PERI-RTNL80 with variable magnification (2- and 8-fold). In addition, the PzH 2000 is equipped with a radar that measures the initial velocity of each projectile fired. The phased antenna array is mounted on the front wall of the tower.
The sensors of the guidance and guidance system are mounted on the barrel of the weapon, which automatically determines the spatial position of the barrel of the weapon and determines the necessary starting point for semi-automatic and automatic aiming. The PzH 2000 is also equipped with an onboard navigation system and an AN/PSN-11 GPS receiver. The fire control system allows you to implement a mode of simultaneously hitting a target with 3-5 rounds, due to the introduction of corrections with each shot.
While the ACS works in automatic mode, two team members are sufficient for its maintenance, although its full-time team consists of five people. In addition to the commander, gunner and driver-machine, it includes two loaders that activate when reloading or exiting the loading machine.
PzH 2000, without exaggeration, set a new standard for the development of self-propelled guns in other countries of the world. This machine has a firepower comparable to three M109 self-propelled guns of the latest modifications. In addition, the German artillery system has a much higher chance of surviving on the battlefield due to its high mobility, better armor, ability to act as both a fixed firing point and a mobile weapon system. The built-in self-propelled system allows it to operate independently of external correctors and artillery observers.
Source: Port Altele