Artillery: November 16, 1999


: FINLAND has narrowed its choices for a new 155mm self-propelled artillery system to four: the French GCT, the British Marconi AS90 Braveheart, the Slovak 8x8 Zuzana, and the German Panzer Haubitzer 2000. The four have been invited to participate in extensive trials in Feb-March 2000; one or two of them may opt not to participate. A final decision is expected by the end of 2000, and the total order could be for 20 (one battalion) or 40 (two battalions) of these weapons. The Finns insist on a 52-caliber barrel (i.e., a barrel length that is 52 times the 155mm bore diameter). Only the German Panzer Haubitzer 2000 is in series production with that barrel length at this time. France and Britain have only recently issued development contracts for a 52-caliber barrel for their artillery systems. The Czech gun (which is wheeled; the others are tracked) is available only in a 45-caliber barrel and it is doubtful that the small Finnish order would justify developing a new barrel. The French gun now has a 40-caliber barrel and the British Braveheart a 39-caliber barrel. The Finns have 72 Russian-built 2S1 122mm Self-Propelled howitzers and 18 self-propelled 2S5 152mm guns, but regard these as lacking range, rate of fire, and survivability.--Stephen V Cole


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