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The German Panzerhaubitze 2000. Photo FWM

South Africa: Military specialist speculates on German howitzer sighting

The German Panzerhaubitze 2000 (or just PzH 2000) was spotted in South Africa recently. FWM interviewed a military specialist to speculate on the sighting of the howitzer.

Published: June 29, 2018, 10:10 am

    It is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for the German army to replace its quickly aging fleet of M109A6 Howitzers developed in the 1950s and ’60s.

    The German 55-ton howitzer is powered by an eight-cylinder direct-injection, supercharged diesel engine. It can unload three 155mm artillery shells in just nine seconds, ten rounds in 56 seconds, and maintain a steady 10-13 round/minute fire rate as long as the barrel holds.

    The 52 caliber barrel is plated with chromium to keep it from failing under the massive heat stress exerted by shooting off all those rounds.

    The howitzer can automatically replenish rounds from a pre-stocked supply of 60 shells within 12 minutes. The weapon’s range depends on the type of rounds employed, but it can reach up to 48km with an average miss distance at that range of less than a metre.

    Why is the German howitzer in South Africa?

    I guess they have come to test the thing here over long distances, because one does not get that opportunity in Germany as it is not empty and undeveloped. Perhaps the weather is better for them too than other places in the world? No swamps or mud or ice and snow or gray weather? In South Africa it does not rain that much.

    But why would they want to test this equipment?

    Maybe they are doing ammunition tests here. Stored ammunition must be tested regularly and the results are used to calibrate or adjust guns.

    Are the Germans hoping to sell the howitzer to the ANC government?

    Perhaps they will show the thing here to an impressionable apparatchik in the hope of selling the thing, even if South Africa was previously able to build be one of the world’s best long-distance cannons, the G6.

    Tell us more about the G6.

    Unlike many other self-propelled artillery systems the G6 Rhino was already based on an armoured wheeled chassis, so the G6 Rhino is a mine-protected self-propelled howitzer on six wheels. It was once considered one of the most mobile self-propelled howitzers based on a chassis that was engineered to be mine-resistant and blastproof. It was actually made to withstand multiple TM-46 detonations.

    The wheels enhanced mobility, as well as to allow it to deploy long distances by road without consuming excessive quantities of fuel or requiring a tank transporter.

    The new G6-52 is fitted with automated ammunition handling system with a rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute and is capable of multiple round simultaneous impact firing. Maximum range of fire is 67 km with velocity enhanced long range projectiles. In terms of firing range the G6-52 outperforms any other artillery system.

    According to Military Today, the G6 Rhino fires HE-FRAG, smoke, illumination and incendiary rounds. It is compatible with all NATO 155-mm ammunition. A total of 47 rounds are carried. Maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 39 km with rocket-assisted. It also fires newly developed velocity enhanced long range projectiles with a maximum range of 50 km.

    The G6 Rhino can fire the first round within 60 seconds. Out of action time is 30 seconds, which allows to avoid counter-battery fire and gives shoot-and-scoot capability.

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