Rheinmetall M109A3G

     Notes: This is an upgraded version of the M109A3 modified for the German Army.  The Germans basically took M109A3s which were becoming obsolete, bought them on the cheap, then retooled and updated them so well that they were considered quite modern until the PzH2000 was introduced.  M109A3Gs were exported to only one other country (Norway), though some of the technology was exported to other countries using the M109.  The M109A3G has essentially become a vehicle more advanced than its parent M109A3.

     One of the first things the Germans did with the M109A3 was to replace the gun barrel with a new L/45 barrel, tipped with a state-of-the-art muzzle brake and with an improved fume extractor on the barrel.  The barrel is also strengthened so that is does not wear as fast and can go a little more between cleanings during fire missions.  This gun was paired with improved fire control, so that it can simply receive instruction data by data-capable radio and have it fed directly into the fire control computer, increasing the speed at which the gun can get into action.  Another fire control computer was installed to give the M109A3G a better chance of hitting a target in direct-fire mode. The M109A3G has an autoloader, further quickening the fire rate, along with a two new onboard magazines storing 22 of the gunís capacity of 36, as well as the required fuzes and powder bags for those 22 rounds.  The gun has new manual elevating and traversing gears; these are used when fine-tuning oneís aim to a more exact solution than one gets from the computer and electric drives.  Fire control information are displayed on an LCD screen, with another for the commander that also displays the information from the driverís screen and some information about the state of the vehicle.  As with most German vehicles, the commanderís weapon has been replaced by an MG-3, and new storage schemes for the machinegunís ammunition allows the M109A3G to carry massive amounts of machinegun ammunition.  The turret traversing and actuation machinery are based on that of the Leopard 1 tank rather than the standard M109 mechanisms.

     The turret of the M109A3G, like all M109s, has a limited traverse of 30 degrees right or left.  The turret houses the commander, gunner, and the two loaders.  The turret has large doors in either side, as well as one in the back of the turret (for ammunition resupply; it opens directly on the back of the internal magazine).  There is another door in the rear lower hull for crew and equipment entry and for quicker ammunition resupply if necessary. The front right deck ahead of the turret has the driver with a hatch that has vision blocks to the front and right; one may be removed and replaced with a night vision block.  The commander has a manually-rotating cupola with all-around vision blocks and an elbow joint that allows him to see through the gunnerís scope and night vision gear.  The gunner has telescopic direct fire sights, an indirect-fire sight, and some night vision gear.  The driver has conventional controls, and the engine is a modified version of the M109A3ís engine, one that develops 405 horsepower and is turbocharged, coupled to an automatic transmission.  The engine and transmission are combined into a power pack, which can be removed in the field with the appropriate equipment in 30 minutes, and installed in an hour. The M109A3G has had a 5kW APU installed into it to run the vehicleís systems when the engine is off and to conserve fuel. An interesting feature is that all the doors and hatches have locks; another one is that the commander has auxiliary controls that allow him to drive the M109A3G.  On each side of the turret, near the top, are a bank of four smoke grenade launchers. The smoke grenades are fired by the commander or gunner electrically. The turret has a ventilation system that forcibly sucks out fumes and propellant particles, simultaneously replacing with fresh air from the outside (and can be turned off in an NBC environment).

     A special consideration is the conversion of all mechanical, gun, and computer measurements to metric standards instead of US measurements.

 

     M109A3G w/KUKA AHK

     In 1998, the Germans started retrofitting the M109A3G with the KUKA AHK (Ammunition Handling Kit).  This called for the addition of a semiautomatic autoloader to the turret of the vehicle, between the magazines at the rear of the turret and the breech of the gun.  In addition, the two magazines were split into six, with potentially each magazine being loaded with a different type of magazine.  Propellant charges are also autoloaded, according to whatís necessary to achieve the required range.  However, fuzes must still be affixed and set by the loader.  The installation includes a module that takes the information from the fire control computer and selects the required number of charges; the gunnerís panel includes buttons to select the magazine(s) to load the gun from.  The AHK includes an electrically-driven hoist and an automatic power rammer.  The AHK can also continue to fire while fresh rounds and charge bags are being reloaded into the back of the turret.  The two loaders standing on the back of the turret during a fire mission to help the rounds from the magazine to the gun are no longer required, reducing the necessary crewmembers.  Despite the seemingly large amount of changes, the AHK can be requires only minor modifications to the hull, turret, and electrical system. Stowage boxes for assorted gear have been added to the turret front on either side of the gun and at the hull rear.

     The AHK retrofits began in 1998, and 262 retrofits were completed in 2000.  The German Army also has an option to buy another 262 AHK units, for converting M109A3Gs currently in storage or for M109A3Gs that are being sold for export (or have already been sold).  The retrofitted vehicles the German Army used were phased out in 2007, along with unmodified M109A3Gs, in favor of the PzH2000.

 

Vehicle

                                Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

M109A3G

$692,530

D, A

500 kg

25 tons

6

17

Headlights

Shielded

M109A3G w/AHK

$764,725

D, A

500 kg

26 tons

4

17

Headlights

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

M109A3G

133/93

37/26

511

150

Trtd

T4

TF8  TS4  TR4  HF10  HS3  HR3

M109A3G w/AHK

129/91

36/25

511

153

Trtd

T4

TF8  TS4  TR4  HF10  HS3  HR3

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

+2

Fair

155mm L/45 Howitzer, MG-3 (C)

36x155mm, 10000x7.62mm

 

Rheinmetall PzH2000

     Notes: Perhaps the most advanced mobile artillery system in the world today, the PzH2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000, or Armored Howitzer 2000) began to replace the M109A3G in German service in 1998, and by 2007, had replaced the last M109A3G in German service.  (The M109A3G soldiers on in Norwegian service.)

     The PzH2000 evolved out of the former multinational SP70 program, which ended in 1986 after producing only a handful of prototypes, which no one agreed on.  The PzH2000 is known for itís lack of need for an FDC along with very high shelling rates Ė as high as 3 rounds in 9 seconds and 10 rounds in 56 seconds.  It is also quite adept at MRSI fire missions.  Using special experimental rounds, the PzH2000 has been able to shell targets as far away as 60 kilometers.  In addition to Germany, the PzH2000 is used by the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Italy. and Qatar; Croatia is also negotiating for the PzH2000, and the US, Finland, Australia, and Sweden have tested the PzH2000, but elected for other designs.  The PzH2000 was used in combat in Afghanistan by Germany and the Dutch.  The German Armyís compliment was originally 154 in active service (reduced from an original request for 450 vehicles), but 31 are now in storage due to the high RL cost of operating the PzH2000.  The Italians operate the next largest contingent of PzH2000, with the Italians using 70 which are license-produced by OTO-Melara.  The Dutch originally ordered 57 units, but they had put into service only 39, demanding that Rheinmetall upgrade the remaining vehicles before they would accept them, and this has not happened as of March 2018.

     The German Navy experimented with mounting the turret of the PzH2000 on F220 frigates (the test ship was the Hamburg), but the recoil was found to be too excessive and the weight of the turret too much (the turret alone weighs slightly more than 16.5 tons).  F220 frigates were armed with 76mm guns, while the F125 class was armed with a new OTO-Melara 127mm gun.

    The PzH2000 is a huge vehicle; this is partially the result of all the electronics, computers, and navigational aids; for the most part, however, it is the result of the sheer amount of ammunition carried, enough to carry on a pretty decent bombardment before the ammo carriers arrive.  (Rheinmetall is currently working on a resupply vehicle similar in concept to the US M992.)  Down in the guts of the gun and the turret, ammo is not only autoloaded; the proper fuze is selected by the autoloading program and a short, narrow conveyor sends the fuze to the loader responsible for fuze attachment.  The autoloader also retrieves the proper round in response to a touch on an LCD panel by the gunner. The LCD is touch-capacitive, so only a bare finger will actuate it. The gun is a Wegmann-designed L/52 155mm howitzer; the elevation limit is +65 degrees, and the depression limit is -2.5 degrees.  This gives the PzH2000 a chance at ground targets and direct lay if necessary, and the PzH2000 can actually engage ground targets while moving at about half speed.  The PzH2000 is able to use any 155mm NATO-howitzer-compatible round, including Chinese copies and the new US-made Excalibur GPS-guided round. The gun uses a new German-designed modular propellant charge system, designed specifically for use with the PzH2000ís autoloader and fire control computers; traditional bagged charges may also be used, but the loaders must load them into the gun by hand and the autoloader cannot handle them, halving fire rate. The turret can revolve 360 degrees and fire from any direction the turret is turned to; the turret covers almost a third of the hull top.  The fire control system is capable of self-directed fire, and in response to crew or FDC input, automatically turns the turret and trains the gun to the correct elevation; once the magazine is loaded, only the gunner and assistant gunner are needed if the vehicle is in automatic firing mode. The autoloader is so fast that crews require training because when the gunning is in automatic mode, the assistant gunner and loaders have less than five seconds to get their hands and arms out of the way or they stand a good chance of having them injured. The fire control system includes a laser rangefinder/designator, which is used in direct-lay operations or when engaging vehicles. The chassis is heavy enough that no jacks or supports are necessary when firing, regardless of turret angle. The barrel is chrome-plated and includes an advanced muzzle brake, modified from the M109A3Gís muzzle brake.  On the glacis is a phased array radar which measures the muzzle velocity of each round as it exists the barrel, to allow the crew to adjust for climatic conditions and wind, as well as barrel droop.  The commanderís cupola is armed with a medium or light machinegun; one example is given below.

     The hull contains the driver on the front left side, behind a splashboard (the PzH2000 cannot swim, but can ford almost completely up to the level of the chassis top).  Major components were taken from the Leopard 2; when seen from the side, the PzH2000ís Leopard 2 heritage is obvious (though it is elongated by one roadwheel).  No less than three long-range secure data-capable radios equip the PzH2000, along with a medium-range and short range secure radios for general communication.  To accomplish its self-FDC capability, the PzH2000 has a large amount of computer; these computers also take care of navigational needs, providing maps, data on enemy and friendly positions, and the state of the vehicle.  This information gets distributed to the LCD screens of the appropriate crewmember, and controls if necessary.  Night vision is copious aboard the PzH2000, especially for the gunner (and the commander through his elbow scope.  Power is provided by an MTU 881 Ka-500 turbocharged diesel developing 986 horsepower, a level of power provided or surpassing many modern main battle tanks.  The fuel tank is split into three cells, each its own fire/explosion detection and suppression system, and destruction of one cell does not necessarily mean the loss of the other cells. The driver has conventional controls as well as an automatic (with a manual backup). There are also separate fire/explosion detection and suppressions for the turret, driverís compartment, engine compartment, and transmission. The gunner is in the turret, with a loaderís hatch above him; the loaderís hatch also has a manually-rotating cupola, ringed by vision blocks, like the commanderís cupola.  He does not have night vision devices (though in Afghanistan, many crews added a shielding to the commanderís position and a shielded weapons mount to the loaderís cupola). The hatches open to the rear, providing a sort of shield to the rear of the commander or loader.  Eight smoke grenade launchers are on the PzH2000, four on each side of the turret; they are fired by the commander or loader from a switch panel on their cupolas. The crew has an NBC overpressure system with a collective vehicular backup, as well as an air purifier, air conditioner, and heater.  The turret rear as well as the hull rear have large doors to allow crew entry as well as equipment loading; the turret doors open directly into the magazine to allow quicker replenishment of ammunition.  Finally, a 10kW APU is installed, running off vehicle fuel, which runs the systems while the engine is off.  The PzH2000 is equipped with a full NATO-compatible BMS as well as a vehicle state monitoring system, and another small computer module has every tech manual or bulletin on it as well as an operatorís manual. The PzH2000 is NBC protected, right down to the anti-chemical paint.

     The PzH2000 is equipped with lugs for ERA on the glacis, side skirts, turret front, turret sides, and the first quarter of the turret roof.

 

Dutch PzH2000s

     The Dutch, in particular, have been critical about the PzH2000ís performance, particularly in Afghanistan.  They have even mothballed most of their PzH2000s until they can find an answer to the PzH2000ís perceived shortcomings.  Their criticism generally lies in the PzH2000 and the weather encountered in Afghanistan; the Dutch say that the PzH2000 does not handle dust well, as well as high temperatures and very low temperatures.  A particular problem is that Dutch crews occupying a position found they needed to keep the gun barrel (and mind you, this is an L/52 barrel Ė itís not what you could call short) in the shade, or much of the initial shots of a barrage would be off target.  In addition, they found that the gun barrel contracted excessively in very cold conditions, again, initial fire from the gun would be inaccurate.  (This could be partially alleviated by applying warming packs or blankets to the barrel for a time before shooting.)  They found the need to apply appliquť armor, especially to the turret roof and hull floor.  The NBC system, air conditioning system, and heating system were found to be inadequate in the Afghan conditions, as Rheinmetall designed them with Europe in mind and didnít think of where else they might be deployed. The Dutch are also dissatisfied that the PzH2000 is air-transportable by only the very largest cargo aircraft, aircraft that the Dutch donít have in their Air Force. (This is a limitation that stopped the PzH2000 from being chosen by several countries.) Finally, the tracks were very hard on muddy Afghan roads, and their PzH2000s got stuck on more than one occasion.

 

German PzH2000 Upgrade

     In 2013, the Germans retrofitted its PzH2000s with noise-cancellation headphones for the crew, changing the short and medium-range radios for long-range data-capable radios (for a total of four long-range data-capable radios). The radios have automatic countermeasures for MIJI interference. An inertial navigation backup was installed for the land navigation system.  Applique armor was added to the hull and turret. Engine modifications give the PzH-2000 somewhat more horsepower, and simplifies maintenance somewhat.  Speed-wise, the increased horsepower is largely negated by the increased weight.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: Comparable to the US M109A6 Paladin, the PzH2000 was in short supply in the Twilight War.

     Merc 2000 Notes: Budget cuts resulted in the PzH2000 production being cut by almost two-thirds.

Vehicle

                                Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

PzH2000

$1,682,226

D, A

500 kg

55.33 tons

5

28

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

PzH2000 (Dutch Upgrade)

$1,714,274

D, A

500 kg

55.96 tons

5

37

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

PzH2000 (German Upgrade)

$1,779,814

D, A

500 kg

55.58 tons

5

34

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

PzH2000

142/100

40/28

970

365

Trtd

T6

TF17Sp  TS12Sp  TR11  HF21Sp  HS11Sp  HR8*

PzH2000 (Dutch Upgrade)

141/99

39/27

970

369

Trtd

T6

TF20Sp  TS15Sp  TR11  HF26Sp  HS14Sp  HR9**

PzH2000 (German Upgrade)

143/100

40/28

970

371

Trtd

T6

TF19Sp  TS14Sp  TR11  HF25Sp  HS13Sp  HR8*

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

+2

Fair

155mm Wegmann L/52 howitzer, MG3 or MAG (C)

60x155mm, 2000x7.62mm

*Most PzH2000s have a hull floor AV of 8Sp, and a roof AV of 6Sp.

**The current Dutch variant of the PzH2000 has a hull floor AV of 9Sp, and a roof AV of 8.  However, original Dutch versions of the PzH2000 used in Afghanistan in 2009 or earlier do not have these armor upgrades. These have the same AVs of the standard version of the PzH2000 as well as the other stats.

 

Rheinmetall AGM-Derived Vehicles

    Notes: This entry is more a loose collection of artillery vehicles based on the PzH2000ís systems and gun, rather than a specific vehicle and variants of it.  The vehicles here are based, more or less depending upon the vehicle, on the PzH2000ís systems and gun, but on a smaller, lighter chassis.  Though some of these vehicles are still prototypes, demonstrators, or vehicles ready to field-test, KMW is already receiving interest from several countries.  This is because they are much less expensive in RL cost, and because they are smaller and lighter (and much more easily transported) then the massive PzH2000. 

 

Artillery Gun Module (AGM)

     Actually an acronym for Artillerie Geschutz Module, which means the above) the AGM is, as the name indicates, a gun module which can be fitted to virtually any chassis; the primary version Rheinmetall is using at present is on an M270 MRLS chassis.  It can be put on a tracked or wheeled chassis, the latter requiring a heavy truck which is 6x6, 8x8, or 10x10.  KMWís literature shows projected mountings on various MBT chassis and heavy MAN and Iveco trucks.  Rheinmetall says they are able to tailor the AGM for almost any type of chassis that a country may desire to be made over into an artillery vehicle.  The turret module and gun weigh 12.5 tons. The AGM is distantly-related to the MONARC ship-based gun module mentioned above, but of course is also very much different (especially in shape and armor protection.

 

Artillery Gun Module (AGM)/M270 MLRS

     The AGM uses lightweight aluminum armor instead of steel, a smaller crew, and an advanced autoloading system, but the same electronics and gun of the PzH2000.  The autoloader is based on the PzH2000ís autoloader. The result (at least on the MLRS chassis) is an SP artillery vehicle over one-half the weight and almost one-half the size of the PzH2000. The AGM can be carried in less space on ships, carried on smaller tank transporter vehicles, used on LHC-type hovercrafts, and even airportable in a wide selection of aircraft operating now and air-droppable.  The AGM is armored, and the rest of the vehicle is armored at the same time. (The armor is light, but a little better than similar-sized armored vehicles, especially on top and the floor.) An applique armor kit has been devised. The MLRS-chassis uses a remote gun module that is controlled by the crew inside the cab, similar to the way the MLRS already operates, with the firing and control systems changed to be able to control the gun remotely.  The fire control panels are derived from those of the PxH2000, which are themselves are almost identical to the standardized NATO fire control systems. The AGM module is in a turret, which can be completely rotated through 360 degrees.  The elevation and depression limits are the same as the PzH2000, though the depression is limited to +3 degrees if the turret is rotated to the front.  The turret and gun are self-contained, operating by themselves once commands from the crew are given it.  The rear of the vehicle has two doors on the front on either side of the gun, allowing the magazines contained in the front of the turret and hull to be replenished, and is fitted with a lifting system fitted to carry the rounds up to the turret and put them into the magazines.  The magazines, unfortunately due to the design, cannot be continuously replenished for a long, uninterrupted bombardment.  (I have not seen any information that would indicate whether or not the AGM needs stabilizing jacks or spades to fire, though it seems likely that they would be needed for such a light vehicle unless some very advanced recoil buffering is used.)

     The AGM is able to use any 155mm NATO-howitzer-compatible round, including Chinese copies and the new US-made Excalibur GPS-guided round. The gun uses a new German-designed modular propellant charge system, the same as on the PzH-2000, with a modified autoloader and fire control computers; traditional bagged charges may also be used, with the new the autoloader able to handle them, but halving fire rate. The turret can revolve 360 degrees and fire from any direction the turret is turned to; the turret covers almost a half of the hull top.  The fire control system is capable of self-directed fire, and in response to crew or FDC input, automatically turns the turret and trains the gun to the correct elevation. The autoloader is so fast that crews require training because when the gunning is in automatic mode, the assistant gunner and loaders, if they are in the turret, have less than five seconds to get their hands and arms out of the way or they stand a good chance of having them injured. The fire control system includes a laser rangefinder/designator, which is used in direct-lay operations or when engaging vehicles. The 155mm howitzer is the same as used on the PzH2000, though the breech and its mechanisms are slightly modified to use the new autoloader.  The gun is capable of firing up to eight rounds per minute for short bursts, or 2-3 rounds per minute for a normal rate bombardment.  The AGM can fire MRSI missions, using up to five rounds for one MRSI salvo.  If necessary (usually due to damage to the turret, autoloader, or controls), there is room in the turret for the gunner and assistant gunner to enter the turret and conduct fire missions manually.  The gunner and assistant gunner are the only crew needed to operate the gun and turret, whether from the cab controls or inside the turret.  There is a door on the back of the turret so that, if necessary, the crew can enter the turret, whether to conduct fire missions manually or to conduct maintenance.

     The MLRS chassis is fitted with a new, more powerful engine, giving the AGM excellent speed and maneuverability.  The new engine is a Cummins VTA-903T, a turbocharged diesel engine with 550 horsepower. The transmission is fully automatic, and the controls are conventional with a power boost (or functioning without it if damaged). The tracks can also be operated using controls for pivot steering.  Fording up to 1.2 meters can be conducted. The driver has conventional controls as well as an automatic (with a manual backup). There are also separate fire/explosion detection and suppressions for the turret, crew compartment, engine compartment, and transmission.  There are currently no smoke grenade launchers, though launchers on either side of the turret may be included in a future update.

     The crew is equipped with a full NBC Overpressure suite with a vehicular NBC backup, to which mask hoses can be attached.  The crew also has a heater and air conditioner, though again the air conditioner is a compact model that shows up easily on IR/thermal observation.  (This is not as obvious as the APU, however, as the exhaust is at the back of the cab between the cab and the turret.)  The cab is extended at the rear, housing the computers and electronics (except the fire control panel) and a 30-liter drinking water tank (insulated, though not chilled). This rear area also has room for crew personal equipment, small arms, and ammunition and something like couple of light rockets or a small case of grenades. The AGM is fitted with a compact APU, with 8kW of power, and operating off the vehicleís fuel tanks.  The APU is under armor at the rear of the vehicle. (A disadvantage of this APUís compact design is that it runs hotter than most under-armor APUs, and creates a hot spot for IR/thermal detection on the point outside the armor where it is located.) The cab is accessed through armored doors on either side of the cab; the driver is on the left side, the gunner in the middle, and the AG on the right side. 

     Currently, the AGM is only fitted with night vision equipment in the turret, which may accessed by the cab through a downlink panel.  Projected updates for about 2020 call for a HUD-type display similar to the Caesar 2, HUD display, showing a thermal night vision picture, navigation information, speed, RPMs, fuel, and a few other items reflecting on the windshield. (See French SP Artillery.) Future updates also include a weapon mounted in front on a power-rotating cupola above the AGís position; the weapon may be sighted, aimed, and fired from inside the closed cab through a downlink viewer (though not reloaded, though the AG may link up to three belts together with the mount). The navigation system of this upgrade has an Inertial Positioning backup for the GPS.  Four Smoke Grenade launchers are found on either side of the turret.

    

AGM/Donar

     The Donar is a variant of the AGM, using the same turret as the AGM/MLRS, but mounted on the chassis of an ASCOD 2 multiple-use fighting vehicle chassis.  Pt was introduced at Eurosatory in 2008, the same show at which the AGM/MLRS was introduced in 2004.  As with the AGM/MLRS, the Donar is being offered for export, though Donar at present (as of Mar 18) exists as a fully-functioning prototype and demonstrator, and ready for field tests.  However, the IDF has shown considerable interest in the Donar, and is even participating in its design process and contributing scientist and engineers.  They are also supplying military personnel for the field tests.  (The Israelis have already stated that if they buy the Donar, they will seek a license for Elbit to produce the design in Israel.)  The name, ďDonarĒ, refers to the old German pagan god of thunder.  For export purposes, especially to Scandinavian and some eastern NATO countries, the name ďThorĒ is used.

     As stated above, the Donarís turret is identical to that of the AGM/MLRS.  The crew compartment and remote control panel is also similar to the AGM/MLRS, including downlinked night vision, telescopic vision, and sights.  The crew sits in a forward cab, with large bullet-resistant windows to the front (which may be covered with armored shutters, and smaller windows in the doors, which too may be covered with armored shutters.  The front shutters have vision blocks within them.

     The Donar uses the more powerful MTU 8V-199-TE22 engine used by the Ulan variant of the ASCOD, which develops 720 horsepower. The Donar also has the same compact 8kW generator under armor as the AGM/MLRS above.  The turret has an additional piece of night vision equipment, a thermal imager borrowed from the ASCOD and integrated into the Donarís fire control and observation system.  The output of the night vision/observation suite of the turret may be fed to a downlinked monitor in front of the gunnerís position inside the cab.

     For the gun capabilities, see the AGM/MLRS; they are nearly the same, except when the gun is facing forward, it has a depression limit of zero degrees.  The crew also benefits from a NBC Overpressure system with vehicular backup, a small air conditioner, a 40-liter insulated drinking water tank, and a heater, inside an extension in the back, where the crew may also put their personal equipment, small arms, and ancillary equipment. 

     For most other specifics, see the AGM/MLRS above.

     The Donar may also benefit from the 2020 upgrades, with the same set as that of the AGM/MLRS.  KMW indicates that it is willing to mount the L39 gun on the Donar upon request.

 

Boxer RCH-155

     This version of the AGM is based on the chassis of Boxer APC, new to service and just in the past few years having been sold, topped with the Armored Gun Module turret.  This makes the RCH-155 a bit tall and top-heavy, but gives it the mobility on roads of a wheeled vehicle, as well as the less-expensive chassis, transmission, and drive train.  As with the AGM MLRS, the gun is contained in a special turret module, having modifications only as necessary to mate it with the Boxer chassis.  The modifications are easily done, as the Boxer is designed to take modular turrets and OWSs.  The Germans and the Dutch are reportedly interested in the RCH-155, but no orders have been made yet.

     In the RCH-155, the crew is seated behind the engine and transmission, with the driver on the right, gunner in the center, and assistant gunner on the left.  Each has a hatch to enter and exit the vehicle on the front deck (the crew is in the front of the vehicle, behind the powerpack.)  Like the other vehicles in this family, the crew is in a sealed compartment, and have NBC Overpressure protection with a vehicular NBC backup, an air conditioner, a heater, and a space to the rear of the crew compartment, containing room for their personal gear, small arms and ancillary weapons, extra ammunition, and a 40-liter drinking water tanks that is not refrigerated, but is insulated.  The compartment also contains most of the vehicleís electronics, except those that are required to be in the turret to make use of them.  The crew, like the other AGM vehicles, has a downlinked control set for the gun and can view through the turret using a monitor that shows the view through the turretís night vision and telescopic sights, as well as its aiming reticule.

     The 155mm Wegmann L52 gun is capable of an elevation of +65 degrees, and a depression of -25 degrees, when facing in any direction.  It is fed by the same advanced autoloader as the other AGMs, and the magazines are reloaded the same way.  The turret has an access door on the back for crew entry, if needed.

     The Boxer chassis has steel armor on the outside; however internally it is actually a type of composite armor on some of the surfaces Ė not as thick as found on tanks, but helpful when hit.  The turret, however, is aluminum armor, as is standard for the AGM.  However, KMW has been experimenting with mounting MEXAS composite applique, to give the turret armor matching the hull.  The hull armor is modular and can be replaced in the field when damaged or by more effective armor.  The turret armor requires applique.  The shape of the vehicle, especially in the hull, present a reduced radar signature to enemy radar detection and radar crews trying to detect the RCH-155 have a -4 chance.  The RCH-155 also has a reduced IR signature and the chance of IR detection is one level harder.  The standard 8 kW APU is buried inside the fuselage with only a cooled exhaust pipe and air intake exposed to the outside, so it does not have the increased heat signature of the other members of the AGM family.

     The RCH-155 is powered by an uprated version of the Boxer MRAVís MTU 8V199 TE20 turbocharged diesel, developing 804 horsepower and complying with EURO 3 pollution-control standards.  (This means little in T2K terms, except that the vehicle smokes much less than most diesel-powered vehicles).  The suspension is considerably beefed up, so that spades or blades need not be lowered to fire the howitzer.  The RCH-155 is the heaviest of the AGM vehicles developed so far, primarily due to the size of the RCH-155 and the steel layers or armor on the hull; however, the powerful engine mitigates this, and the RCH-155 is quite speedy and maneuverable.  It has a central tire inflation system, allowing to cope with problem terrain such as swamps, deep snow, sand, and mud; the vehicle also has antilock brakes and puncture-resistant tires.  On the upgraded version, the driver has an actual thermal camera which connects to a flat-panel inside the driverís compartment.

     AGMs that are not upgraded with additional armor can be fitted with lugs for ERA on the glacis, hull sides, turret sides, and turret rear.

     For other AGM-specific devices, see previous AGM entries and the PZH2000.

 

Other-Armed AGMs

     KMW has indicated that it is willing to replace the L/52 ordnance of the AGM with L39 ordnance; in addition, they are willing to replace the entire gun with a longer-range 105mm gun.  The 105mm gun has not yet been announced; I have used a possible 105mm replacement below in the stats.  These variants are found at the end of the stats.  They use the same electronics as the AGM, with fire control computers adjusted for the new shorter howitzers, and the lesser-caliber gun if necessary.

     For mocking up the stats on a 105mm-howitzer-armed AGM, I used the stats of an M119A3/L119A3 Light Gun, and assumed that it is properly modified to be used on in the AGM module.  It turns out that, with a little research, that little modification would actually be needed to fit the M119/L119 gun to the AGM, and these modifications would primarily be in the shock-absorption system, the recuperators and recoil/reloading system, and the magazines. (And of course, the removal of the gun trails and axles and wheels and suchlike).  The A3 version already has a digital sighting system including a rangefinding laser and a computer to give the gun crew coordinates, so producing an interface with the AGM module shouldnít be too difficult.  Of course it does not have the range or throw weight of a 155mm Wegmann L/52 gun, but it does a reasonably-long barrel that gives it decent range.  The weight of the gun itself is only 630 kilograms.  The gun can be readied to fire in as little as 1-2 minutes (and probably ten times faster on a mobile platform like the AGM series).  The six magazines in the AGMís turret hold seven rounds apiece instead of five, due to their smaller size.

 

 

Vehicle

                                Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

AGM/MLRS

$998,172

D, A

565 kg

27 tons

3

17

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

AGM/MLRS (Upgraded)

$1,104,619

D, A

418 kg

28.06 tons

3

17

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

Donar

$1,054,278

D, A

645 kg

31.5 tons

3

18

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

Donar (Upgraded)

$1,219,872

D, A

498 kg

32.56 tons

3

19

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

RCH-155

$1,086,112

D, A

797 kg

35 tons

3

24

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Crew), Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Crew), LLTV Backup Camera (D)

Shielded

RCH-155 (Upgraded)

$1,221,715

D, A

650 kg

36.17 tons

3

25

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Crew), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Crew), LLTV Backup Camera (D)

Shielded

AGM/MLRS (L39 Gun)

$974,778

D, A

703 kg

26.45 tons

3

17

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

AGM/MLRS (Upgrade, L39)

$1,081,225

D, A

556 kg

27.51 tons

3

17

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

Donar (L39 Gun)

$1,030,884

D, A

783 kg

30.95 tons

3

18

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

Donar (Upgraded, L39 Gun)

$1,196,478

D, A

518 kg

32.01 tons

3

19

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

RCH-155 (L39 Gun)

$1,062,718

D, A

935 kg

34.45 tons

3

24

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Crew), Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Crew), LLTV Backup Camera (D)

Shielded

RCH-155 (Upgraded, L39 Gun)

$1,198,321

D, A

670 kg

35.62 tons

3

25

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Crew), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Crew), LLTV Backup Camera (D)

Shielded

AGM/MLRS (105mm Gun)

$780,641

D, A

1.05 tons

24.15 tons

3

15

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

AGM/MLRS (105mm Gun, Upgraded)

$887,088

D, A

903 kg

25.21 tons

3

16

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

Donar (105mm Gun)

$836,747

D, A

1.13 tons

28.65 tons

3

16

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

Donar (105mm, Upgraded)

$943,194

D, A

983 kg

29.71 tons

3

17

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Cab), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Cab)

Shielded

RCH-105

$868,581

D, A

1.28 tons

32.15 tons

3

23

Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Crew), Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Crew), LLTV Backup Camera (D)

Shielded

RCH-105 (Upgraded)

$975,028

D, A

1.13 tons

33.21 tons

3

24

Thermal Imaging (D), Passive IR (AG, Downlink to Crew), Thermal Imaging, Image Intensification (G, AG, Turret; Downlink to Crew), LLTV Backup Camera (D)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

AGM/MLRS

158/111

44/31

617

204

Trtd

T4

TF6  TS4  TR3  HF6  HS4  HR3*

AGM/MLRS (Upgraded)

155/109

43/30

617

212

Trtd

T4

TF10Sp  TS7Sp  TR4  HF13Sp  HS5Sp  HR4**

Donar

158/111

44/31

860

267

Trtd

T3

TF6  TS4  TR3  HF17Sp  HS10Sp  HR7**

Donar (Upgraded)

154/108

43/30

860

276

Trtd

T3

TF10Sp  TS7Sp  TR4  HF24Sp  11Sp  HR8***

RCH-155

177/89

49/25

614

294

Trtd

W(4)

TF6  TS4  TR4  HF25Cp  HS15Cp  HS8Sp****

RCH-155 (Upgraded)

172/86

48/24

614

304

Trtd

W(4)

TF10Cp  TS8Cp  TR6Sp  HF31Cp  HS19Cp  HR11Sp*****

AGM/MLRS (L39 Gun)

160/82

40/28

617

202

Trtd

T4

TF6  TS4  TR3  HF6  HS4  HR3*

AGM/MLRS (Upgrade, L39)

157/79

40/28

617

205

Trtd

T4

TF10Sp  TS7Sp  TR4  HF13Sp  HS5Sp  HR4**

Donar (L39 Gun)

160/112

45/31

860

264

Trtd

T3

TF6  TS4  TR3  HF17Sp  HS10Sp  HR7**

Donar (Upgraded, L39 Gun

158/111

44/31

860

261

Trtd

T3

TF10Sp  TS7Sp  TR4  HF24Sp  11Sp  HR8***

RCH-155 (L39 Gun)

179/90

50/26

614

291

Trtd

W(4)

TF6  TS4  TR4  HF25Cp  HS15Cp  HS8Sp****

RCH-155 (Upgraded, L39 Gun)

174/87

49/25

614

301

Trtd

W(4)

TF10Cp  TS8Cp  TR6Sp  HF31Cp  HS19Cp  HR11Sp*****

AGM/MLRS (105mm Gun)

158/111

44/31

617

193

Trtd

T4

TF6  TS4  TR3  HF6  HS4  HR3*

AGM/MLRS (105mm Gun, Upgraded)

155/109

43/30

617

197

Trtd

T4

TF10Sp  TS7Sp  TR4  HF13Sp  HS5Sp  HR4**

Donar (105mm Gun)

160/112

45/32

860

264

Trtd

T3

TF6  TS4  TR3  HF17Sp  HS10Sp  HR7**

Donar (105mm, Upgraded)

156/109

44/31

860

 

272

Trtd

T3

TF10Sp  TS7Sp  TR4  HF24Sp  11Sp  HR8***

RCH-105

179/90

50/26

614

290

Trtd

W(4)

TF6  TS4  TR4  HF25Cp  HS15Cp  HS8Sp****

RCH-105 (Upgraded)

174/87

49/24

614

300

Trtd

W(4)

TF10Cp  TS8Cp  TR6Sp  HF31Cp  HS19Cp  HR11Sp*****

 

Vehicles

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

AGM (MLRS)/Donar

+2

Fair

155mm L/52 Wegmann Howitzer

30x155mm

AGM (MLRS) Upgraded

+2

Fair

155mm L/52 Wegmann Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

Donar (Upgraded)

+3

Fair

155mm L/52 Wegmann Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

RCH-155

+2

Fair

155mm L/52 Wegmann Howitzer

30x155mm

RCH-155 (Upgraded)

+3

Fair

155mm L/52 Wegmann Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

AGM/MLRS (L/39)

+2

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer

30x155mm

AGM/MLRS (Upgraded, L39)

+2

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

Donar (L/39 Gun)

+2

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer

30x155mm

Donar (Upgraded, L39)

+3

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

RCH-155 (L39 Gun)

+2

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer

30x155mm

RCH-155 (Upgrade, L39 Gun)

+3

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

AGM/MLRS/Donar (105mm Gun)

+2

Fair

105mm L/40 L119A3 Howitzer

42x105mm

Donar (105mm, Upgraded)

+3

Fair

105mm L/40 L119A3 Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

42x105mmm 2000x7.62mm

RCH-105

+2

Fair

105mm L/40 L119A3 Howitzer

42x105mm

RCH-105 (Upgraded)

+3

Fair

105mm L/40 L119A3 Howitzer, MG3 (AG)

30x155mmm 2000x7.62mm

*Floor and roof AVs, for the cab as well as the turret, are AV4Sp for the roof and 6Sp for the floor.

**Roof AV is 5Sp, and floor AV is 7Sp, including the top of the cab and turret.

***Roof AV is 6Sp, and floor AV is 8Sp, including the top of the cab and turret.

****Roof AV is 6Sp, and floor AV is 8Sp, including the top of the hull and turret.  The hull roof area in front of the turret but before the glacis, however, has an AV of 15Sp. The rear hull face has an AV of 8Sp, except for the door, which is 5Sp (25% chance of hitting the door from a rear-quartering shot).

*****Roof AV is 7Sp, and floor AV is 9Sp. Including the top of the turret and hull. The hull roof area in front of the turret but before the glacis, however, has an AV of 15Sp. The rear hull face has an AV of 11Sp, except for the door, which is 6Sp (25% chance of hitting the door from a rear-quartering shot).