Surface Forces: March 2, 2003


German artillery manufacturer Rheinmetall demonstrated how it's self-propelled artillery, the PzH 2000, could be mounted on a ship. The turret of a PzH 2000 was mounted in place of a naval gun (76mm or 127mm) turret on a 6,000 ton F124 class warship under construction. Since the entire 155mm gun system (auto-loader and fire control) of the PzH 2000 is contained in the turret, all you have to do to make the gun operational on a ship is supply an electrical power line and connect it to the ships communications systems. The PzH 2000 would also have to add a gun stabilization system to allow accurate fire from a moving ship. This can be done largely through additional software. The point Rheinmetall was making was that gun firepower on these 6,000 ton ships could be vastly increased without having to develop a new naval gun. Adapting PzH 2000 turrets for shipboard use would be a lot cheaper and would provide an artillery system capable of firing ten, 90 pound shells a minute at a maximum range of 40 kilometers. Longer range (80 kilometers) shells are being developed. This proposal is called MONARC (Modular Naval Artillery Concept for Naval Gun Fire). The F124 class ships are being built by a consortium of European nations for their own use and for export. It's the export customers that might be interested in shore bombardment capability. The F124s are already equipped with eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles. 


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