In the middle and at the end of the twentieth century, predominantly single samples of guns were created. The exception in this regard can be said is the American light howitzer М777 Mill, which has been produced since 2005, and is being used by the United States Marine Corps and Ground Forces. This tool was designed and manufactured by BAE Systems. It was intended to replace the outdated M198. The new system has significantly better performance, while its weight is two times less than the M198. Thus, in a combat position, its length is slightly more than 10 meters, and its weight is 4,2 tons. This makes the M777 more mobile. Mill can be transported by air, in particular, using the Osprey V-22 aircraft. With the M198, this was not possible. The new system uses the same ammunition as before, but it is equipped with a new DFCS fire control system connected to the NAVSTAR radio navigation space system. In addition, in МХNUMX there is a system for displaying information that allows you to transfer text communication tools. As a result, the system is able to open fire after 777-3 minutes after the order was given to perform the task. The new system can fire artillery shells 4 caliber millimeters, while adjusting the flight according to CRNS NAVSTAR. In addition, there is a modification howitzer М155А777, which has more advanced software. It provides an opportunity to fire with new Excalibur M2 projectiles. The range of the shells at the same time is 982 kilometers, and the accuracy of the impact is reduced to 40 meters. Earlier, we recall, the firing range left only 10 kilometers. Excalibur projectiles have GPS guidance and a bottom gas generator, which helps to increase the firing range. When firing at a distance of about 30 kilometers, the deviation from the target is no more than 40 meters. When firing at smaller distances, this figure ranges from 7 to 3 meters.
M777 guns are shipped abroad. So, Canada acquired 12 of such systems and deployed a unit in Afghanistan in 2006 year. Howitzer has established itself as an effective fire support system.
If we talk about mobility, then it is better provided by self-propelled artillery mounts, which do not require additional transport for transportation, but at the same time, they cannot be transported by air. These installations, it is worth noting, also reached the summit of its development. In addition, in most Western armies they are no longer necessary, because they no longer conduct wars in the classical sense of the word and, apparently, are not going to hold.
That is why instead of towed guns more and more began to produce new samples of self-propelled units. Americans, by the way, abandoned them altogether, periodically upgrading the M109. The howitzer was put into service by American forces back in 1961 year.
The basic version of this tool is made of armor based on aluminum alloys, which provides reliable protection against fragments of shells and small arms. The stern and sides of the hull are installed vertically. At the stern set closed tower. The engine-transmission group is located in front. Fighting compartment - aft. The main armament of the M109 is a howitzer with an elongated barrel equipped with an ejector and a muzzle brake. Howitzer firing was carried out in separate shots (36 shots included in one set). The firing range reached 14,5 kilometers. The first upgrade, dubbed МХNUMXА109, differed from the base version only in a longer barrel and had a firing range of just over 1 kilometers. In the middle of the 18-s of the twentieth century, the next modernization of howitzers was carried out. The new model is called МХNUMXА70. The main goal of the improvement was to improve the ballistic characteristics. Thus, the trunk was extended and the charge increased. The firing range of the new gun was already 109 kilometers. In addition, active-jet ammunition was also included in the ammunition.
New upgrades were carried out very soon, resulting in the M109А3 guns (they differed in the new method of fastening the guns), the М109А4 (had a more advanced system of protection against weapons of mass destruction), the М109А5 (almost nothing different from their predecessors) and, finally, the M109XXXX and almost "(The first guns entered service in 6 year). The new gun has a new automatic fire control system, a new tower with a long-barreled gun, more powerful reservations and an improved suspension.
In Germany, the obsolete howitzer M109 was supposed to replace tank artillery self-propelled gun PzH-2000. The difference between these guns boils down to the high mobility of the new installation. The PzH-2000 is capable of performing the same amount of tasks as the three M109 combined. Its firing range reaches 30 kilometers, in the case of using special shells - 40 kilometers. The ammunition includes 60 rounds. The new gun has an automatic loading mode, providing a firing speed of 10 rounds per minute. Repair and maintenance of the howitzer is greatly simplified by combining the MT11-881 multi-fuel diesel engine and hydromechanical transmission into a single power unit. In addition, the PzH-2000 has an automatic fire extinguishing system, navigation topographic systems, as well as a modern fire control system, which makes it possible to carry out tasks quickly and accurately. Nevertheless, this gun was not accepted into service in the 90s, so Germany produced a little more than 300 units of howitzers, of which 185 are in service with the Bundeswehr, 57 from the Netherlands, 24 from Greece and 70 from Italians.
Wheel artillery self-propelled guns are also very popular with the military. Thus, during the Cold War, the South African G-6 was practically the only model of this type of guns.
The howitzer first appeared in the 1981 year, but it entered serial production only in the 1988 year, immediately after the test batch was used during the fighting in Angola. The howitzer is based on the massive 6x6 wheeled chassis. The 525 diesel engine horsepower was located behind the driver-mechanic. The tower was located behind. The tower is equipped with a 155-millimeter barrel. In the combat position, shells and caps are fed through a hatch located at the back of the tower. Horizontal guidance is limited to an angle of 40 degrees. Note also that the G-6 "Reno" is part of a complete artillery system, which includes a large selection of ERFB ammunition, which, if necessary, can be re-equipped with a gas generator for ERFB-BB ammunition. The firing range reaches 30 and 39 kilometers, respectively. The system also includes a meteorological station, an automated fire control system, ammunition speed sensors.
As for the more new developments of self-propelled artillery installations on a wheel base, here we should note the Swedish "Archer" and the French "Caesar".
The FH77 BW L52 ACS “Archer” (or “Archer”) is an instrument, the idea of which is coordinated with the plan for reforming NATO troops. This installation is based on the FH77 towed howitzer. The gun itself is mounted on a wheeled platform in a container, one end of which is equipped with a special counterweight to compensate for the impact force when fired. The cabin is armored, protects against small arms and debris. In addition, a 7,2 millimeter machine gun can be mounted on its roof. For this tool you can use a significant amount of artillery shells, even of foreign manufacture. So, in particular, you can use the American Excalibur. The firing range reaches approximately 40 kilometers (for European projectiles) and 60 kilometers (for American). The speed of the Archer is 70 kilometers per hour. In addition, it can be transported by air using the European Hercules A 400M.
The Caesar system is also installed on the wheeled chassis of a truck with great maneuverability. The cabin is protected by armored sheets. This tool has several advantages - ease of maintenance, low cost of production, stealth and mobility.
Despite the fact that France and Sweden themselves purchased a small number of these guns (the total number is about 150 units), however, Caesar in the 2006 year entered service with the Thai armed forces and the army of Saudi Arabia.
As for Russia, the armed forces of its army are ACS 2C3 "Acacia" and ACS 2C1 "Gvozdika".
Self-propelled installation "Akatsiya" entered service with the Soviet troops in the year 1971. Work on its creation was begun even earlier - in 1967 year. Developed by OKB-9, the project manager was the first deputy head of the Bureau Golubev. The first prototypes were ready next year, but the tests revealed significant shortcomings, in particular, excessive gassedness of the fighting compartment during the shooting. The first large batch of howitzers was released in the 1973 year (70 installations).
The 2C3 “Acacia” ACS is designed to suppress and destroy artillery weapons, a nuclear attack and the enemy’s living resources, destroy self-propelled guns and tanks, and destroy field defense barriers and structures. The structure of the installation includes a tracked chassis, a rotating turret and an artillery part of the 2А33 (it consists of a D-22 howitzer of 152 caliber of a millimeter, making it possible to fire both in direct fire and on a trajectory). Lifting manual mechanism allows the angle of elevation of the trunk to 60 degrees. The ammunition consists of separate shell-loading shells: high-explosive fragmentation shells OF-540, OF-25 and OF-54 OGS, cumulative shells of BP-540, blunt-and-blunt-headed armored-piercing shells Br-540 and Бр-540 and Бр-syn-XNUMX and Бр-syn-XNUMX and Бр-и N-XX and Armored-piercing shells Br-XNUMX and Br-NNXX and Br-NNXX and Arm-bln-XNXX and Arm-piercing shells Br-XNUMX and Br-INXX and Br-NNXX and Arm-bln-XXX and Arm-piercing shells Br-XNUMX and Br-INXX and Br-NNXX and Arm-bln-XXXX and Arm-piercing shells Br-XNUMX and Br-INXX and Br-NN.
Development of the 2C1 “Gvozdika” began in 1967 year. The artillery unit was provided by the Uralmash, the chassis - by the Kharkov Tractor Plant. The weapon was adopted in 1971 year, and a year later began mass production.
Department of management and the engine-transmission department are located in front of the case. In the rear and middle parts is the fighting compartment. Howitzer caliber 122 millimeter is placed in an armored full-circle turret. The barrel is equipped with a muzzle two-chamber brake and an ejector. In order to facilitate the charging of the instrument, an electromechanical dismounting mechanism is used. Note also that this howitzer is floating, however, the wave height should not exceed 15 centimeters, and the flow velocity is 0,5 meters per second.
In addition, Russia produces (albeit in small quantities) relatively new 2CXNNXX Msta artillery mounts. They were put into service in 19 year. Most of these installations were intended for export. Currently it is in service with Ukraine and Belarus.
This weapon can fire at observable and hidden objects with direct and indirect fire, it can be used in mountainous conditions. The chassis is similar to the T-80. Anti-aircraft machine gun installation, which is controlled remotely from the tower, is designed to protect against helicopters and light armored vehicles. A large 2A64 howitzer of the 152 caliber of millimeter is mounted in a large turret, which provides an automated system for the supply and storage of ammunition. The rate of fire is 8 shots per minute. The maximum firing range reaches 24 kilometers (using standard projectiles) and 29 kilometers (using reactive projectiles). Especially for this tool was developed cluster projectile, which is 42 fragmentation and armor-piercing grenades. In addition, a cluster projectile is used, which scatters small transmitters that interfere with enemy communication. A distinctive feature of the 2C19 is the availability of equipment for the underwater control of tanks, which makes it possible to overcome the depth to 5 meters.
New 35-tonnage PLZ 05 self-propelled artillery mounts have appeared in China, which have much in common with the Russian Mstay. The first instrument was created in 2003, although design work began in the middle of the 90. This installation is based on a tracked chassis. The engine compartment is located at the front. The tower is large. The main armament is an 155-millimeter howitzer with a barrel whose length is 45 caliber. An automatic charging system was used, which made it possible to increase the firing characteristics of the system. The fire control system contains a laser range finder, a panoramic sight, a ballistic computer, a two-channel sight equipped with a thermal imager, a radar sensor for measuring the velocity of a projectile.
An additional anti-aircraft gun W85 caliber 12,7 millimeter is installed on the turret. In addition, smoke grenade launchers are used.
In addition to China, other Asian countries are engaged in the development and production of new self-propelled units. So, in particular, in Japan, the installation was installed Type 99, in the number of 70 units. ACS Type 99 refers to heavy self-propelled howitzers, which has a range of 30 kilometers. For shooting shells of caliber 155 millimeters are used. The elevation angle is 85 degrees. In addition, the turret mounted a machine gun caliber 12,7 millimeter. The installation is capable of moving at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour.
In South Korea, created a powerful installation K9. 500 units were purchased for the national army. Approximately the same quantity was delivered to Turkey.
Thus, if we talk about the further development of barreled artillery, then most likely it will be carried out with the help of the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles into the fire control systems. But in the event that the transition to such systems is total, these installations will rise sharply in price.
However, there is a high probability that this will not happen in the West. Today, by the way, all attempts to create such shells have so far ended in failure.
If we talk about rocket artillery, then during the Cold War in the states that are part of the North Atlantic Alliance, they were treated very skeptically because of the low accuracy, range and speed of projectiles.
In the Soviet Union, in 1960, work began on the creation of the divisional multiple launch rocket system BM-21 “Grad”, which in essence was a continuation of “Katyusha”. The development of the 9М22 unguided rocket projectile played a major role in the formation of the completed installation image, the main feature of which was the folding stabilizer planes. This made it possible to make the installation multi-layered, tubular and compact.
The armament of the Soviet troops "Grad" was adopted in 1963 year. The whole system consists of an installation, unguided rocket projectiles of 122 caliber of millimeter, a 9Т254 transport charging machine and a fire control system. The fire can be fired both in salvo and by single shots. A full volley lasts 20 seconds. The transition to the combat position takes about 3,5 minutes.
Serial production of systems was carried out in Perm. Before 1995, the BM-21 combat vehicles were delivered to more than 50 states of the world in the amount of about 2 thousand units. Today "Grad" is in service with the armies of 30 countries of the world.
This complex was used in many local military conflicts, in particular, during the conflict of the USSR and China in 1969, near Damansky Island, and later in Angola, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
In addition to this system, in the Soviet Union were also developed and produced RGF “Smerch” and “Hurricane”. The Smerch system was adopted in 1987 year. The firing range reaches about 90 kilometers. The duration of the volley leaves 38 seconds. Shooting is conducted as a volley, and single projectiles. The 300 caliber millimeters rockets, which are used for firing, are equipped with a solid-fuel engine, flight control system and trajectory correction.
The Hurricane reactive system appeared in 1975 year. It is made on a wheeled chassis, the artillery unit has sixteen tubular guides, sight and guidance mechanisms mounted on a swivel base, a balancing mechanism, and hydraulic and electrical equipment. For firing use shells 9М27Ф, 9М27К, 9М27С, 9М59, 9М27К3, 9М27К2 and 9М51. The firing range reaches only 35 kilometers.
The Americans appreciated all the advantages of rocket artillery only in the 1980-s. At the same time a powerful MLRS salvo fire was created.
This installation is designed to perform combat missions in any weather and at any time of the day. With its help, it is possible to destroy and destroy guns, forces and means of rocket artillery, areas of accumulation of means and forces of air defense, cargo and lightly armored vehicles. The firing range reaches 70 kilometers. The first systems were put into service in the 1982 year.
It should be noted that this installation remained the only one in the military bloc, while many European states began to refuse to use it due to the fact that they had signed the convention banning cluster bombs.
In addition, another system was developed in the United States - HIMARS. Its creation was due to the need to equip the troops with highly mobile installations that could be transported by air to any place. Starting work on the installation refers to the beginning of the 1990-ies. A prototype was introduced in 1994 year, and from 2005 year, the system began to enter service. HIMARS tests were conducted during the operation “Iraqi Freedom”, and then it was deployed in Afghanistan.
According to many experts, the fact that the prospects for the development of rocket artillery is very large is obvious. Systems of this kind in the near future will be able to replace not only the barrel artillery, but partially Aviation. Their use is more advantageous in the sense that in the case of use on ground facilities there is no risk of losing an expensive fighter along with the crew, and there is no need to spend money on fuel. All that is needed is ammunition, which, by the way, is much cheaper than aviation. Low accuracy can be compensated by the number of shells that are fired in one salvo. Moreover, the shells are gradually becoming adjustable.
All this, together with an increase in the firing range and the use of splinters, makes the system the most versatile and easy to use.
To date, the first position in terms of the development of rocket artillery is China. Here, back in 70-80-ies, a large number of samples of multiple launch rocket systems were created, both on the basis of samples borrowed from the USSR, and our own.
It was in China that the most long-range and powerful rocket launcher system WS-2 was created, which has a firing range of the order of 200 kilometers. Moreover, modifications of this system - WS-2D - have an even greater range - about 350-400 kilometers. At the same time, they have a hypersonic speed. It is clear that neither the American nor the old Soviet systems are able to repel the impact of such guns.
You can still talk a lot about the barrel and rocket artillery, and not tell about all the samples, because there is a great many of them. But in any case, certain conclusions from the foregoing suggest themselves: the barrel artillery became morally outdated, therefore its production and development in the world are gradually ceasing. But at the same time, artillery guns can be used for a long time, and the installation, which was made several decades ago, can hit the target no worse than the modern model. Therefore, it is safe to say that such weapons will remain in service with the armies of the world for a long time.
With regard to multiple rocket launchers, their role in the near future will increase significantly.