New Self-Propelled Gun for the IDF

Last week, the IDF General Staff decided to acquire a new self-propelled gun (SPG). This is one of the major projects of the IDF Ground Arm's procurement program for the coming years

The need for a new self-propelled gun (SPG) arose in the IDF Ground Forces Command years ago, but the decision itself was long delayed, due to budgetary constraints. The need stems from the fact that the current SPG layout, named "Doher" (Hebrew for 'rider'), is based on guns that were delivered to the IDF after the Yom Kippur War (1973). The maintenance costs of the old SPGs are very high, and each gun requires no fewer than ten staff members. Also, their range is limited to 20-27 km.

The IDF Artillery Corps has defined the characteristics of the new SPG so that the number of crewmembers will be only four, the range will be increased to 40 km, and the rate of fire will be improved significantly. Two major companies are expected to compete in the tender for the new SPG, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Elbit has already won the preliminary tender for the production of a demonstrator of the new gun.

The new SPG that Elbit will offer the IDF will be based on the ATMOS howitzer, which was also presented at the International Fire Conference and Exhibition (May 17-18, 2016), organized by Israel Defense and the Israeli Artillery Association.

Elbit System's ATMOS is a 155mm/52 caliber truck-mounted Howitzer. It offers enhanced mobility and integrates a relatively inexpensive platform with advanced computerized weapons system. The ATMOS system is modular and can be mounted on various types of trucks, which allows great flexibility. The truck can also be mounted with all the necessary equipment, including fire control system and a system to generate the electricity needed to operate all auxiliary systems.

The ATMOS has a tactical computer, inertial navigation system (INS), a radar system for testing cannon's muzzle velocity and Day/Night optical systems to detect targets independently. The system was tested by the IDF, but for now, it seems that their priority is a self-propelled gun, which can be mounted on Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) with undercarriage, preferably Bradley type, which can be bought from the Americans.

IAI, however, offers the IDF Ground Forces a new version of the German KMW's SPG, which will be produced on US soil, in US Foreign Military Financing (FMF).

The 155 mm SPG offered by KMW is called Artillery Gun Module (AGM) and is supposed to be manned by 4-5 fighters. The fire rate of the German Howitzer is high, it has a 52 caliber, and its range is over 40 km.

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Photo: Ronen Topelberg

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