Military Review

Large guns (Self-propelled artillery systems in modern conditions)

Large guns (Self-propelled artillery systems in modern conditions)

Nexter's CAESAR artillery system can be installed on a wide variety of truck chassis. Its buyers are France, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Mobile artillery systems still play an important role on the battlefield, despite the use of UAVs and other advanced systems and technologies.

Traditionally, self-propelled artillery systems were installed on tracked chassis, but an increasing number of users are currently putting on wheel options that have better strategic mobility and a lower cost of the entire service life.

Some operators, including France, Norway and Sweden, have already decided to replace their current towed and tracked artillery systems with wheeled variants. However, the tracked systems are expected to remain in service for many more years, because the majority of users upgrade their systems in order to increase their service life.

The newest self-propelled artillery mounts (SAU) usually have on board a computerized fire control system (SLA), which includes a ground navigation system that allows you to perform fire tasks yourself, as well as be deployed as part of a battery or division.

In addition to firing conventional ammunition, such as high-explosive fragmentation, smoke and lighting, in some countries there is a tendency to have more accurate artillery ammunition in service. Investments are more likely to be spent on the purchase of new ammunition and improved means of targeting and tracking targets, than on new platforms.

Suitable artillery

The type of artillery system deployed in combat depends on the type of terrain and the set of targets to be destroyed.

In Afghanistan, for example, towed artillery and mortars are more widespread than tracked self-propelled weapons, since they can be quickly delivered by helicopter. The Netherlands army deployed several Krauss-Maffei Wegmann PzH 2000 crawler howitzers in Afghanistan, which are now being replaced by howitzers of the German army, while the French army has deployed its CAESAR wheeled howitzers in Afghanistan and northern Lebanon.

Due to the increased attention to wheeled platforms, the number of fully-tracked self-propelled artillery systems has dropped dramatically over the past ten years.

The PLZ45 155 mm / 45 cal system developed by the Chinese company North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) is in service with the Chinese army; it was exported to at least two countries - Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The maximum range depends on the combination of projectile / charge, but is usually 39 km when fired with an extended-range caliber projectile with a bottom gas generator (ERFB-BB). To support PLZ45, the PCZ45 transport-charging machine was developed and put into production; she can carry extra 90 155-mm projectiles and charges that can be quickly delivered to the PLZ45 artillery.

The newest tracked artillery system NORINCO PLZ52, armed with 155 mm / 52 cal gun, has a new body and has a total mass of 43 tons against 33 tons of the original PLZ45.

PzH 2000 has now replaced the outdated tracked ACS, operated by the German army. The 155 mm / 52 caliber gun is installed in the tower at the rear of the hull; when you hover the tower can quickly turn to 360 °. Ammunition is 60 pieces of 155-mm projectiles and charges.

Approximately 185 PzH 2000 howitzers were manufactured for the German army with exports to Greece (24), Italy (70) and the Netherlands (57). Production is complete, but can be restarted. As a result of the restructuring, the Netherlands has several redundant systems.

Production of the KNW X-NUMX 155 howitzer is completed, but can be resumed if necessary

155 mm / 52 cal gun Artillery Gun Module (AGM) from the company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann

Mobility issues

Although the PzH 2000 is a very efficient 155-mm ACS, with its tons of 55 it is too heavy for rapid deployment. For this reason, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann proactively developed the 155 mm / 52 cal gun Artillery Gun Module (AGM), its first copy was made in the 1994 year. The AGM is a remote-controlled turret armed with the same Rheinmetall 155 mm / 52 cannon rifle caliber as the PzH 2000 howitzer and equipped with a fully automatic ammunition processing system, which first charges the projectile and then sends the modular charge MCS (Modular Charge System).

Ammunition is 30 155-mm projectiles plus MCS charges; The maximum rate of fire of the gun can be 8 shots per minute, with all the functions of guidance and loading are performed remotely. The first AGM was installed on the MLRS back-up chassis and had a combat mass of about 30 tons.

Sau donar

Further development of the system led to the emergence of the Donar ACS, which in essence is an AGM installed in a special building based on the Pizarro BMP developed by General Dynamics Land Systems Europe - Santa Bárbara Sistemas.

155-mm Iranian SAU Raad-2

Iran has developed and began to produce at least two fully tracked self-propelled artillery systems, Raad-2 155 mm and Raad-1 122 mm, the latter has a tower similar to the tower installed on the widespread Russian 122-mm 2-1 Pink.

The Samsung Techwin defense program division manufactured 1040 self-propelled 155 mm / 39 cal devices M109A2 BAE Systems, which are still in service with the Korean army.

155 mm / 52 cal SAU K9 Thunder are in service with the Korean army

These installations are now complemented by an 155-mm / 52 SAX K9 Thunder, which has a total mass of 46,3 tons and an automatic ammunition processing system installed in the 152 mm / 52 turret, while the charges are loaded manually. All ammunition includes 48 shells and charges. In the Turkish army is also in service version of the howitzer K9 Thunder of local production called Firtina.

BAE Systems AS90 - the only tracked platform of the British Royal Artillery, which, as a rule, is deployed in divisions of six systems

Russian exports

The newest SAU, put into service with the Russian army, is 152-mm 2-19, exported to several countries. A variant armed with a 155-mm / 52 caliber of the western standard, designated 2X19M1, was developed and tested.

Singapore has been self-sufficient in artillery systems for many years. ST Kinetics from this country developed the Primus 155 mm / 39 crawler ACS ss, with a total of 54 systems supposedly delivered.

Today, the British army only uses the AS90 tracked system from BAE Systems (former Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering) with an 155 mm / 39 cal tool, which is usually deployed in divisions of six guns. In total, 179 systems were supplied, but today a total of 132 howitzers are in service; The system is no longer marketed by BAE Systems. The AS90 turret with a 155-mm gun was used for the Krab ACS, developed in Poland for the Polish army.

The US Army has accepted 975 mm / 155 39 Paladin M109A6 Paladin supplies from BAE Systems and the corresponding number of M992 FAASV (Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle) transport-charging machines based on the modified M109 package. This pair was supposed to be replaced by a modern 155-mm ACS Crusader and the corresponding transport-loading machine (TZM), but subsequently they were considered too heavy and the replacement was canceled.

ACS M109A6 Paladin (top). Transport loading machine M992 FAASV (below)

Newest 155 mm / 39 cal SAU M109A6 Paladin Integrated Management

In the framework of the currently canceled program of the Combat Systems of the Future, the NLОSC self-propelled artillery unit 155 mm / 38 cal was developed, which was also canceled. M109A6 Paladin will be replaced by the upgraded installation M109A6 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), BAE Systems has already produced five prototypes of the ACN M109A6 PIM and two TZM FAASV. The ACS consists of a new hull, which includes components of the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, and a modified turret from the M109A6 Paladin in which the 155 mm / 39 cal gun is left.

When opening financing, it is expected that approximately 440 ACS M109A6 Paladin PIM will be purchased by the US Army, the decision on the initial production should be made at the end of 2013 of the year or the beginning of 2014 of the year.

Changing trend

Over the past few years there has been a tendency to create, develop and manufacture wheeled self-propelled guns. Compared to their tracked counterparts, they offer significant benefits to the end user — traditional self-propelled guns usually require heavy weapons to be deployed over long distances, while wheeled systems can be deployed independently. Today, wheeled SAUs can range from heavy, well-protected systems to lighter, air-transportable, usually with a protected cabin and weapons mounted on an unprotected installation in the rear of the chassis. They are usually equipped with stabilizers-coulters, which fall to the ground before the opening of fire, most systems are also equipped with a hydraulic rammer in order to reduce crew fatigue and increase the rate of fire.

However, these wheeled self-propelled guns have a number of drawbacks compared to their tracked counterparts, including worse maneuverability and reduced portable ammunition of ready-made shots.

Today, NORINCO has the largest SG wheelset on the market in the world, including the most powerful SH1 155 mm / 52 caliber system based on the off-road 6x6 chassis with a fully protected front cab. The horizontal guidance angle of the 155-mm gun is 20 °, the vertical guidance angles range from -3 to + 70 °. Declared maximum range when firing caliber projectile extended range with a bottom gas generator - 41 km, ammunition is 20 shells and 20 charges. It is clear that the SH1 ACS is in service with the Chinese army, and quite possibly it was exported to Myanmar.

NORINCO is also promoting the X122-mm SH2 ACS, which has a secure four-door cab and a rear-mounted artillery mount. The angles of horizontal and vertical guidance, respectively, constitute 22,5 ° and from 0 ° to + 70 °.

122-mm SAU SH2 from the company NORINCO

Same types

The 122-mm gun itself is the same in this setup as in the Type 86 Chinese towed artillery system (the Russian D-30 version), not to mention the many outdated Chinese tracked systems.

The Chinese army is also armed with 122-mm ACS Type 86, which was promoted in the market by Poly Technologies. It is a fairly typical system consisting of the chassis of the 6x6 truck with an unprotected cab in front and an upper part of a standard Type 86 towed howitzer in the rear. Before the start of shooting, the openers are lowered on each side, and the gun can only shoot over the rear of the chassis.

The 105-mm SG SH5 6x6 is aimed at the export market, it has a similar layout to the 122-mm SH2, but is mounted on a slightly different chassis, which has front and rear steering wheels. The 105-mm / 37 cal gun when shooting with the US high-explosive high-explosive ordnance M1 has a maximum range of 12 km, which can be increased to 18 km when using a projectile with a bottom gas generator;

CAESAR in Afghanistan

Nexter, on its own initiative, developed the CAESAR 155 mm / 52 cal artillery system, its first technological prototype was first demonstrated in 1994. The 155 mm / 52 cal gun is installed at the rear of the chassis; after being deployed in the shooting position, the azimuth angle is 17 °, the vertical angles are from -3 to + 66 °. Maximum range when firing caliber projectile extended range reaches 42 km, ammunition consists of 18 155-mm projectiles and the corresponding charges, ready to fire.

The French Ministry of Defense issued the company a contract for five pre-production systems that were supplied in 2002 - 2003. Then 2008 serial systems were installed in 2011 - 72, they were based on the chassis of the Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa 6xXNNXX truck with a protected cab.
There are long-term goals of the French army to replace all of their remaining 155-mm tracked AUF1 TA and towed TR from Nexter with SG CAESAR. In the future, the company hopes to receive an additional order for CAESAR 64 howitzers, which could be delivered between 2015 and 2020 a year.

The Thai Army has taken the initial batch of six CAESAR FGs, which are also based on the Sherpa chassis. The National Guard of Saudi Arabia has ordered a total of 136 howitzers, but they are installed on the Mercedes-Benz Unimog 6x6 off-road chassis, the last batch of 32 systems will be assembled in Saudi Arabia. At the end of 2012, it was also announced that Indonesia ordered the CAESAR SG from Nexter 37 SG.

155-mm Iranian SAU 6 x 6 HM41

ATMOS 2000 from the Israeli company Soltam Systems (above). SAT 155 mm / 52 cal ATROM designed for the Romanian army (two photos below)

Iranian development. And not only

Iran has recently developed the 155 mm NXX ACS, consisting of a truck chassis with a bonnet cab and a standard Iranian 6 mm / 6 towed artillery HM155 rear mounted. After lowering the large coulter with hydraulic actuator to the ground before firing, the gun can only shoot at the frontal arc.

The Israeli company Soltam Systems (currently the Elbit division) has many years of experience in designing, developing and manufacturing towed and self-propelled artillery systems. The company can now offer potential buyers a complete artillery system, not only with weapons and ammunition, but also with SLA, including advanced observers. Currently, an autonomous howitzer on an ATMOS 2000 truck chassis (Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System 2000), which can be installed on an 6 x 6 off-road truck chassis with a bonnet cab, which is usually protected, is being manufactured in the export market.

At the rear of the chassis, 155-mm 52, 45 or 39 feces are mounted with vertical and horizontal drives and a hydraulic rammer. On each side of the platform there is a hydraulic coulter, which descends to the ground before firing.

For the Romanian market, ATMOS has been renamed to 155 system mm / 52 cal ATROM, based on the Romanian chassis 6 x 6; Apparently, the production of this howitzer for the army of this country has not yet begun.

The Italian army has a large fleet of 8 x 8 armored vehicles, including the Centauro 105-mm artillery, as well as an increasing number of Freccia infantry fighting vehicles. In order to provide these units with highly mobile indirect fire, Oto Melara develops an 155-mm ultra-light wheel howitzer, a typical layout of which was shown at Eurosatory 2012.

The first exhibition copy of the turret, armed with a 155-mm / 39 caliber cannon, was mounted on the hull of an Centauro 105-mm artillery system. An automatic ammunition supply system can be installed in the turret, allowing 8 shots per minute to be achieved at a rate of fire.

Serbian system

In addition to the extensive family of towed artillery systems being manufactured, including retrofit kits, the Serbian company Yugoimport developed the wheeled SAU NORA B-52 155-mm / 52 cal, which is sold to at least two foreign buyers. The system mounts on the chassis of an 8x8 off-road truck and usually shoots back at a horizontal 30 ° arc and with vertical angles from -5 ° to + 65 °.

In 70, the former Czechoslovakia became one of the first countries to develop a wheeled artillery system with an 152-mm ZTS Dana cannon based on the Tatra 8 x 8 truck chassis. This system had a protected compartment for the calculation in front, a fully protected tower in the middle, and a protected engine compartment in the back. It was made over 750 pieces, they are still in service with the Czech Republic, Georgia, Libya, Poland and Slovakia.

As a result of further development, a Zuzana 155-mm / 45 caliber howitzer appeared, which was supplied to Cyprus and Slovakia, and its version of the Zuzana A1 155-mm / 52 SAU was recently developed.

Denel's G6-52 is a modification of the basic model originally developed for the South African army

With the exception of tank The Olifant South African Army operates exclusively wheeled vehicles, including a 6 mm / 155 cal G45 howitzer from Denel Land Systems, which has a combat weight of approximately 47 tons and is armed with a 155 mm / 45 caliber cannon mounted in a well-protected turret in the rear of the hull ammunition 45 rounds.

In total, the 43 howitzer G6 was manufactured for the South African army, 24 howitzers were exported to Oman and 78 howitzers to the UAE. In the course of further development, the G6-52 howitzer with an 155-mm / 52 cannon cal with a system of automatic ammunition processing, which supplies shells and MCS modular charges, appeared.

SAU Rheinmetall Wheeled Gun 52 from the company Rheinmetall Defense

Export hopes

For the export market, the company developed the T5 Condor howitzer, which is usually based on the Tatra 8x8 truck chassis with a rear-mounted 155 mm / 45 cal gun or 155 mm / 52 cal gun.

Rheinmetall Defense developed the Rheinmetall Wheeled Gun 52 self-propelled gun, while the hull was designed by Industrial Automotive Design, and the tower was armed with the same 155 mm / 52 cal instrument as the German PzH 2000.

Norway and Sweden are replacing their current fleets of artillery systems with a FH77 BW L52 Archer 6x6 howitzer from BAE Systems; each country received for the start 24 system. Archer is based on the Volvo 6 x 6 off-road truck chassis with a protected cab and 155 mm / 52 cal guns behind, where there is also ammunition for ready shells and charges for them. The installation has a maximum rate of fire up to 8 shots per minute, all operations are conducted remotely from the cab.

While a self-propelled artillery system may have limited use in counterinsurgency operations, it can become a key player in traditional maneuver operations due to its sufficient mobility, and a high level of protection allows it to work together with tanks and infantry fighting vehicles for which it provides fire support. .

Materials used:
Land Warfare International December / January 2013
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  1. Professor
    Professor 3 March 2014 09: 34
    The article is excellent "+". Technically, there are no complaints, but the introduction "Mobile artillery systems still play an important role on the battlefield, despite the use of UAVs and other advanced systems and technologies" is not at all true. Barrel artillery goes into the background, or even the third plan. This is especially evident in the example of two constantly at warring countries, so to speak, located on the "battlefield". We are talking about Israel and the United States. The number of barrels is decreasing, and the use of MLRS and other precision weapons is increasing.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. kplayer
      kplayer 5 March 2014 14: 47
      Quote: Professor
      ... The number of barrels is decreasing, and the use of MLRS and other precision weapons is growing.

      The advanced ISAF support bases (similar to those of the Vietnam War) include from two batteries to a battalion (3-4 baht.), Predominantly barreled artillery.
  2. igor.borov775
    igor.borov775 3 March 2014 10: 58
    An article as an article, Just one conclusion suggests itself, Fighting gathered where wheeled vehicles have an absolute advantage, In Africa in lowland countries, and where the terrain is very severe for such products, tracked vehicles are still ahead, The only thing that worries the designers is the transportation and weight of the combat vehicle, Everything is being done to drag it with turntables, The second and rare-earth element is now entering a new era, Now the Yankees are selling lightweight rare-earth systems in the Middle East, where aiming at a target or satellite or other devices is just complete ls, Now there is an operating time and testing of new systems where there are completely different methods of warfare, Yes, and we somehow hinted at, namely the opening of fire to defeat the enemy at a distance of not less than 75-95 km, Americans are sobering about this and to the surprise of the Japanese, By the way, the Chinese army has been getting rid of towed products for about 5 years, and very light self-propelled guns are put up for sale and have interest, not at the expense of combat
  3. Duke
    Duke 3 March 2014 12: 18
    Great, well-illustrated article. Thanks for the review.
  4. AVV
    AVV 3 March 2014 12: 33
    Almost nothing has been written about our systems, but in vain !!!
    1. Mazadrive
      Mazadrive 3 March 2014 14: 31
      Because Msta-S doesn’t even fit into soles =)
  5. schizophrenic
    schizophrenic 3 March 2014 13: 56
    Article + is now becoming more and more precise and accurate, until the problem of cost and efficiency is resolved. One weapon for local conflicts is another for regional wars, when the economy runs to the limit.
    1. kplayer
      kplayer 5 March 2014 20: 23
      Maybe about artillery!? ...
      Quote: schizophrenic
      Article + is now becoming more and more precise and accurate, until the problem of cost and efficiency is resolved.

      Regarding artillery, they speak of range (accuracy is determined by artillery ACS combat complexes, or the corresponding ammunition).
      There is no cost-effectiveness problem, there is an economic criterion for determining the appropriateness of using certain systems of weapons and ammunition (determined at the stage of adoption).
      Quote: schizophrenic
      One weapon for local conflicts is another for regional wars ...

      The use of artillery (in local or large-scale regional conflicts) in any case satisfies the "cost-effectiveness" criterion, there are doubts about the tactical (or operational) need for the use of certain types of ammunition (for example, cluster munitions) and MLRS.
      The combat strength of the participating forces and the nomenclature of ammunition are determined by the command at the planning stage of military operations based on intelligence data. The combat strength of forces, i.e. their typical organizational and staffing structure is decisive in what weapons will be used by military personnel and unit commanders (often at their discretion).
      Quote: schizophrenic
      ... when the economy runs to the limit.

      Governments usually with the assistance / recommendation of spec. departmental analytical (including intelligence) services are weighed against economic and industrial opportunities. If the state has been subjected to aggression, then its army is not up to such criteria ("cost-effectiveness").
    2. The comment was deleted.
  6. parusnik
    parusnik 3 March 2014 15: 31
    About ours, no .. sorry, but there are interesting developments .. But let's say so at all times, Russian artillery was better .. The Englishmen won the Spanish armada, not without our help .. did their bit .. sorry ..
  7. Aristocrat
    Aristocrat 4 March 2014 07: 04
    Quote: Professor
    With the number of trunks is reduced, and the use of MLRS and other precision weapons is growing.

    The multiple launch rocket systems (RZSO) by definition are not high-precision weapons (works on areas). The only caveat is that in addition to conventional missiles (RS), you can use other types of ammunition, including adjusted and homing.
    1. Professor
      Professor 4 March 2014 10: 50
      Quote: Aristocrat
      The multiple launch rocket systems (RZSO) by definition are not high-precision weapons (works on areas).

      The same can be said of the barrel artillery.

      Quote: Aristocrat
      The only caveat is that in addition to conventional missiles (RS), you can use other types of ammunition, including adjusted and homing.

      EXTRA missiles are currently offered in four-pack containers each for use by ground launchers and, for more precise strikes, can be equipped with a GPS guidance system. Thanks to disposable sealed bag-containers, a long service life and low operating costs are achieved. The missile has a range of over 130 (up to 150) kilometers and is equipped with a 125-kg warhead. The launch weight of the rocket is 450 kg, and the circular probable deviation (CVO) is less than 10 meters.
  8. Aristocrat
    Aristocrat 4 March 2014 07: 13
    Barrel artillery was, is and will be. It will always be relevant. Remember how Khrushchev cut artillery up on rockets. Well, sobering came on time, until all the guns were melted down.
    The tendency to shift to wheels is understandable. Cost reduction of both production and operation. But it is natural that systems will always be used in at least two or three versions. Self-propelled with a caterpillar mover. The same system on a wheeled chassis. And she is in the towed version. The latter is due to the fact that the towed gun + the cost of the tug is always cheaper than the wheeled or the more tracked version.
  9. Aristocrat
    Aristocrat 4 March 2014 13: 55
    Quote: Professor

    The same can be said of the barrel artillery.

    You will not argue that I supposedly called the barrel artillery a high-precision weapon?
  10. kplayer
    kplayer 4 March 2014 16: 48
    It is worth noting that in addition to the widespread and quite popular self-propelled art. systems, both tracked and wheeled, recently there has been a tendency to manufacture barrel art. systems made on wheelbases (6x6 / 8x8) trucks with an open platform for installing the gun part. It might seem that this is due to the need for light airborne self-propelled systems, the mobility of which ensures a quick change of position on the battlefield to a sufficient distance from the original (due to the absence of an armored hull), to avoid being hit by enemy PA counterfire, but in fact, in terms of mass and dimensions for transportation by C-130, C-160 and A400M aircraft, only the French system "Caesar" ("Caesar") is suitable, while the only one of its kind. Those. Why are the remaining systems on the chassis of trucks being created, to occupy what niche in the artillery? - unclear!
    There are: rocket artillery (MLRS); self-propelled barrel artillery (the basis of the PA fleet of modern armies); and towed barreled artillery (light 105-mm and 155-mm howitzers and 155-mm self-propelled) - here it is clear!

    He noted for himself that a tendency has been outlined in the armies of the World, which has especially manifested itself with the widespread fashion for MRAP class armored vehicles, not to maintain a database with a well-armed and trained enemy army, but at best to destroy terrorist groups and detachments, or even to suppress easy and poorly armed popular (separatist, rebel, partisan, etc.) uprisings and rebellions.

    PS: Norway refused to purchase the Swedish FH-77BW (L52) "Archer", 6x6 system.
  11. kplayer
    kplayer 4 March 2014 23: 13
    Quote: igor.borov775
    ... One conclusion just begs, They gathered to fight where the wheeled technique has an absolute advantage, In Africa in lowland countries, and where the terrain is very severe for such products, the caterpillar equipment is still ahead ...

    Those. Is that what he is (conclusion)? And where did they finally get together to fight?

    Quote: igor.borov775
    ... The only thing that so interests the designers is the transportation and weight of the combat vehicle, Everything is being done to drag it with turntables ...

    And there are examples of such art war machines. systems? And what kind of turntables do you mean (after all, the Mi-26, or the UH-60 Black Hawk)?

    Quote: igor.borov775
    ... Second yes, RZO now a new era is approaching, Now the Yankees are selling lightweight RZO systems in the Middle East where aiming at a target is either satellite or other devices, Just the circle has ended, now there is an operating time and testing of new systems where there are completely different methods of warfare, Yes, and somehow they hinted at us, namely, the opening of fire to defeat the enemy at a distance of not less than 75-95 km, the Americans are ringing this with might and main, and to the surprise of the Japanese ...

    It is clear that the speech is for MLRS (judging by the distance of destruction), but about what, in fact, what are the other ways of maintaining a database (in relation to artillery and its systems) and what kind of mysterious circle has ended? - some mysticism!
    And in our country nobody "stuttered" (the mentioned 95 km. For MLRS "Smerch" is a reality for a long time).

    Quote: igor.borov775
    ... By the way, the Chinese army has been getting rid of towed products for about 5 years, and very light self-propelled guns are put up for sale and are of interest, not to the detriment of combat characteristics

    Here it is reasonable to return to the question for the second quote, what kind of mysterious "very light SPGs" (in the sense, they are also Chinese)?
  12. beifall
    beifall 10 March 2014 14: 46
    Photos are good !!!!!!!!!!!