Artillery: March 13, 2000


AND NOW, THE MEDIUM CRUSADER: In keeping with the new "lighter" Army, the Crusader Howitzer will be redesigned (delaying production by two years) to reduce its weight and make it more deployable. The plan is to reduce the overall weight of the "system" by one-third. Some of the ways this will be done include:
@ Half of the 18 tracked ammunition resupply vehicles will be replaced by wheeled vehicles.
@ Much of the armor will be removed from the howitzer, and turned into add-on modular armor packs that could be carried by a separate aircraft and added to the vehicles if needed.
@ The vehicle will be made shorter (six road wheels instead of seven) and narrower. This will reduce the ammunition load from 60 rounds to under 50. 
@ The engine will be replaced with the new diesel engine from the Abrams refit program, which is smaller and lighter than the original design engine. The transmission will also be made lighter, as will the suspension.
@ The hull will be made lighter by using titanium and composite materials.
@ Tracks will be narrowed from 25 inches to 21 inches in width. --Stephen V Cole


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