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Subject: SP or Towed for Norway?
Guardsman 7207    8/19/2006 3:12:20 PM
Norway has the old M109, its been in service for decades and badly needs a replacement. It was to be the Pzh2000, but the government backed out in the last minute due to financial reasons. Really screwed over the suppliers, the Dutch who were selling off some off their surplus inventory, but that is another story... Norways situation is this: enourmous territory, difficult terrain, poor road network, lots of bridges, most of whom dont support more than 65 tons(or less), and little or no heavy lift capacity, neither helo's nor fixed wing. Then the questions is: SP or Towed arty? In such a situation,what gives you enough firepower and mobility? Are SP guns always the better choice? Maybe a variant of the Caesar system would do better? Or simply a towed M777 or a very light alternative with the L119?
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Yimmy    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/19/2006 3:57:08 PM
For Norway I think I would go for the L119 light gun with chinook for mobility. With Norways distances and their skill set for fighting in cold and high terrain, I would say helicopter mobility is a must, while you can carry more 105mm shells than 155mm shells in a chopper.
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Guardsman 7207    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 7:17:24 AM
I would agree - unfortunately I don't think the Chinook will ever be used by Norway, but I am guessing maybe the NH-90 Tactical Transport - I doubt that chopper will be able to lift a 155mm (never heard of it being tested at least), but definetely the 105mm, with limited supplies. But that would leave Norway without 155mm guns... is that recommendable?
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doggtag    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 2:31:42 PM
So it's not like Norway is so NATO-dependent that it needs to cling to the commonality issue: 105 or 155mm, as in every other NATO associate. (After all, when really was the last time any given NATO ally was so desperate for ammo that it had to borrow/lease ammunition from another NATO ally? Ever at all?) Point I'm getting at: Scandanavia's (Finland, Norway, Sweden) defense forces have always operated a collection of indegenous and foreign equipment, and not always adhering to the NATO norms. Case in point: for many years, Sweden operated the 120mm KARIN towed SP gun (using the basic FH77 chassis), which could reach 27km with its ammo, outshooting any 105mm and most 122mm systems, and quite respectable when compared to any 39-cal 155mm systems (which reach 30km w/ RAP & Base Bleed ammo). Now, with the proliferation of the 120mm mortar systems (the AMOS twin 120mm coming out of Finland's Patria, and the new single-barrel NEMO counterpart), perhaps it can be decided that a SP mortar will suffice (with the coming generation of mortar PGMs getting to 14km+, on par with NATO 105mm howitzers, the best of which get just beyond 17km). Why should Norway be limited to just choosing between 105mm or 155mm, just because eveybody else in the NATO political circle has decided to be bound by the commonality issue that has yet to prove it's been an alliance necessity? And just because economies of scale dictate 105 or 155 would be the cheapest options (due to the fact that countless companies manufacture systems & support in those calibers), that doesn't necessarily mean the benefits others see in these two calibers will best suit Norway's requirements. With the proper chassis (will it be primarily towed by vehicle, or flown by chopper?), anything 105-120mm howitzer would do nicely, without over-burdening supply helos with bulky loads of 155mm ammo in far less numbers of rounds per payload as compares to lesser calibers. Shucks, maybe BAe (Royal Ordnance division) can even submit a 4.5" proposal, based off its Mk 8 naval gun. Enough surface combatants still mount the weapon to justify ammo production, and with the latest extended-range shells reaching about 27.5km. Plus, it has been suggested that the RN switched to it from 4.7in on the grounds that the 4.5in had better ballistics. It all comes down to what exactly are Norway's tactical fire support requirements: a given target/threat requiring X-amount of explosives delivery over Y-range in Z-time, with the most favorable logistical footprint on the forces using it. And seeing as Norway's is not a heavily-Chinook-reliant military (as was already mentioned), why should they limit their decision to NATO-only options, especially if solely on the grounds of politics?
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YelliChink    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 2:39:50 PM
You need both. SPHs are for mechanized units, while towed artillery pieces can be best with heli-borne units.
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YelliChink    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 2:44:53 PM
BTW, one thing good about Helicopters in Norway is that, while helicopters in tropical countries lost some horse power, they have extra horse power due to cold temperature up there. I think M777s are better than L119, because 105mm, though fires faster, has smaller range and about half the punch each round compared to 155mm. In the future, Norway can also get Excaliber from the US or make your own 155mm PGM. It means more efficiency per artillery pieces, less crew required, less ammunition resupply.
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Thomas    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 3:42:39 PM
How is the mortar situation in Norway?
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Yimmy    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 4:28:18 PM
I don't see why the 155mm caliber has such a fan base these days. Sure 155mm shells are impressive, but back in the past guns as small as 75mm have shown themselves to be very effective in their own right. Norway does not have the capability or funds to build a large SPG force to complement mechanised forces, to cover the country. While helicopter deployable forces are of far greater use in expeditionary warfare. I would question how you can call a light weight 155mm helicopter deployable given the limited number of shells which can be transported.
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Griffin    RE:SP or Towed for Norway?   8/20/2006 7:28:08 PM
dogtag: "And seeing as Norway's is not a heavily-Chinook-reliant military (as was already mentioned), why should they limit their decision to NATO-only options, especially if solely on the grounds of politics?" The answer is simple - inter-operability. It does not help the mutual defence options of deployed forces if their equipment and supplies can't support the troops because everyone is doing their own thing. It is also makes one wonder what the Norwegian government is thinking? Are they trying to 'dodge any bullets' by not being able to be deployed due to their lack of inter-operability?
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doggtag    Kudos to Yimmy   8/20/2006 7:39:12 PM
...for bringing up a good point: even 75mm pack howitzers proved their mettle in the right circumstances. And since no one is in a super hurry to totally remove 50-60mm mortars from their military inventories... don't those compare similarly to lightweight pack howitzers (75mm thru 25-pdr class) in range and firepower? It all depends on what Norway wants to do mostly with them: -self defense/Norwegian operations, -or coalition actions beside other NATO elements? In arctic territories, dog- or reindeer-pulled sleds (yes, they do use them) would have an easier time pulling a pallet of medium-caliber ammo as opposed to a few dozen 155mm rounds and charges (even though helos would be the preferred choice). Fitted with any types of the current multi-option fuzes (air burst capable proximity fuzes) that can fit even 50-60mm mortars, even medium-caliber guns/howitzers will still work against exposed troops: in all actuality, the greatest benefit the 155mm has going for it is the fact that PGMs in this caliber are the proliferate choice for many nations, in the fact that they generally will carry enough HE filler for one-shot kills against MBT-class targets. Very doubtful you can get a 75-105mm PGM to do the same, unless it attacks from a near-vertical angle as do most mortar rounds (and most AFVs nowadays can withstand 155mm shell splinters, so the overall lethal spread pattern of fragments is only really a danger to open personnel and exposed soft (unarmored) equipment). Seeing as it's doubtful that Norway will ever have to face massed Soviet hordes at her borders, is the extra blast radius of 155mm really necessary? Higher rates of fire from smaller-caliber weapons may be all they need. But, considering the general sparseness of Norwegian operations (spread out over a given area), what few SP weapons Norway can afford to buy, it might behoove them to get maximum range: this points to that South Afrikan LEO 105 system, which can reach the same ranges of current 39-cal 155mm systems.> But the biggest problem with the G7 LEO is, @ 3000-3800kg, it's the heaviest 105 on the market. Still, it's sling-loadable by most medium helicopters, although ammo carriage would be more limited.
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doggtag    Let me try that second link again...   8/20/2006 7:41:45 PM
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