“This weapon is not trivial.”
Panzerhaubitze 2000 – the newest cannon
By Holger Press
5/6/2022 3:54 PM
The federal government wants to support the Ukrainian forces in the fight against the Russian attackers with seven Panzerhaubitzen 2000 soldiers. The weapon system is one of the most modern weapons systems used in the Bundeswehr. But what can it do and how hard is it to learn how to use it?
The Bundeswehr website describes the Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery as “a piece of state-of-the-art artillery”. Indeed, this artillery weapon was developed in the mid-nineties. If you were to compare it to a Russian weapon system, its counterpart would probably be the 2S19. Also a self-propelled howitzer with a 152 mm cannon, which was first presented at the Zhukovsky Aerospace Exhibition near Moscow in August 1992. Russian tanks T-72 or T-80 form the basis of the command here.
Germany has now decided to deliver to Ukraine seven Panzerhaubitzen 2000, which come directly from the repair shop, and therefore should not be immediately missing from the Bundeswehr. At least that’s what Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said in Sliak, Slovakia. The seven guns will complete the already announced delivery of five self-propelled howitzers from the Netherlands.
Intensive course for Ukrainian soldiers
The training of 20 Ukrainian soldiers is scheduled for the Panzerhaubitze 2000 in Idar-Oberstein and completed only 43 days later. Not so long ago, Kai Rohrschneider, Lieutenant General of the Bundeswehr Army, noted that training for these weapons was not trivial, because it was also about how to integrate self-propelled howitzers into the reconnaissance and targeting system. One of the reasons why the Ukrainian trainee already has previous knowledge.
In the first quarter of 2021, the Bundeswehr trained Hungarian soldiers in the 131st artillery battalion at Panzerhaupitz 2000. However, the period here was much longer. Three months was estimated before the officer completed the commander’s course and sent four more soldiers to the platoon commander course, which was then completed after another three months. In this regard, the 43 days allotted to the training of Ukrainian soldiers is a real intensive course.
What distinguishes the Panzerhaubitze 2000?
Panzerhaubitze 2000 is manufactured by German companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. It is the standard gun of the Bundeswehr, with its 155mm gun, which is driven by a tracked armored vehicle, it is very maneuverable and can also be used in difficult terrain.
As already mentioned, the Panzerhaubitze 2000 is one of the most modern pieces of artillery in the world. Its strength lies above all in its accuracy and great combat distance that can be bridged with a long-barreled 155 mm cannon. Firing distances of up to 30 kilometers can be achieved with standard ammunition. With enhanced range ammunition, it reaches up to 40 kilometers. Six grenades can be fired to hit the target at the same time. It is also possible to fire ammunition with so-called time fuses, that is, projectiles that explode only on impact or over the target.
Self-protection by smoke bomb system
Shell magazine Panzerhaubitze 2000 is located in the chassis of the tracked armored car and is arranged around the shell carrier, which is part of the automated ammunition delivery system. The magazine holds 60 rounds. Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-protection systems include a smoke grenade launcher, which has eight 76-mm launchers. A group of four is located to the right and left of the 155 mm cannon. As a secondary weapon, a machine gun is also installed in the center of the gunner’s ammunition.
With the help of the so-called VO-meter, that is, the speedometer, the muzzle firing speed of the projectile is determined. This can vary for different internal ballistic reasons. It affects the accuracy of hitting, is determined for each bullet and is used to calculate correction values. In addition, the accuracy of the shot is achieved by other systems that calculate the corresponding firing commands from the data of the weather squad – temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind speed – and the temperature of the powder and barrel.
In order to determine the position in space, the car, in addition to the VO meter, has a cycle position device and a displacement encoder. While the track mode device serves as an addition to the GPS during the march, in order to be able to shoot accurately even when the vehicle is in a tilted position, the displacement encoder measures the distance covered by the Panzerhaubitze 2000.
Drive with 1000 horsepower
The Panzerhaubitze 2000 engine block is located in the left front part of the chassis. It consists of a MT881Ka-500 diesel engine with a rated power of 1000 hp and a mechanical-hydraulic manual, return gears and steering with four forward and reverse gears. Range 420 km on the road. Here the Panzerhaubitze 2000 can also reach a maximum speed of 60. Off-road it is still 45 km / h. This speed is approximately equivalent to the movement of a main battle tank.
It is important for your protection that the Panzerhaubitze 2000 can quickly change its position after firing its shells so that it does not get caught in a possible anti-battery fire. Thanks to the tank-like infrastructure, the self-propelled howitzer is also able to cross water to a depth of 1.1 m without preparation. With the diving hydraulics turned on, it should reach 1.5 meters in height.