ADEX 2018: Elbit Systems unveils ATMOS M-46 130mm truck-mounted howitzer variant

At ADEX 2018 international defense exhibition, the Israeli company Elbit Systems is presenting for the first time its ATMOS M-46 130 mm truck-mounted howitzer to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.

ATMOS MK46 showcased at ADEX 2018 001
The Elbit Systems ATMOS M46 truck-mounted gun system at ADEX 2018
(Picture source Army Recognition)

The version showcased in Baku is the ATMOS M46 6x6 SPH, which mounts for the first time, the Russian M-46 130mm towed field gun. This prototype is an interesting mix for the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, which still operates 36 M-46 guns acquired from Bulgaria. Produced between the 1950s and the 1970s, the M-46 gun has a rate of fire of 6 rounds/min and a maximum range of about 38km.

According to the SIPRI Arms Transfers data, the Azerbaijani already operates five ATMOS-2000 systems. Baku may now progress in modernizing its artillery capabilities by ordering a new batch of systems based on existing M-46 guns already in service with Azerbaijan. Besides Azerbaijan, the ATMOS truck-mounted gun is also reportedly in service in Thailand, Rwanda and Cameroon.

In 2015, Elbit Systems announced a follow-on contract for the supply of ATMOS artillery systems to an Asia-Pacific country. This contract could have been signed with Thailand, which has reportedly ordered in 2012 six ATMOS-2000 155mm self-propelled guns to be delivered between 2014 and 2015. According to reports on various sites, the Royal Thai Army purchased about 18 guns, with the possibility of joint production on the land of Thailand. According to pictures released on local websites, the first Elbit Systems' SOLTAM ATMOS guns have been delivered to the Thai army in March.

The ATMOS latest version offers ranges exceeding 40km with ERFB-BB ammunition and suitable propelling charge, at an extremely high firing rate of six projectiles per 60 seconds, achieved by using a unique new load assist device. 

Its shoot-and-scoot capabilities are supported by an integrated electronic suite incorporating an INS-based laying system, as well as a semi-automatic loading system that reduces the amount of crew members needed in operation. The new ATMOS supplies fire support for all types of missions and can be easily interfaced with customers’ existing C4I systems, enabling a common operational picture and enabling quickly close sensor-to-shooter loops.

The ATMOS can be mounted on any adapted high-mobility 6x6 or 8x8 truck chassis preferred by the customer (in this case it is mounted onboard a TATRA chassis). The protected cabin of the ATMOS is designed for a crew of 5-6 personnel, a driver, a commander, and an additional three to four crew members along with all personal equipment and small arms.

Able to fire all types of qualified 155mm ammunition, projectiles and charges that are in use by NATO and other countries, ATMOS is battle-proven and fully operational in artillery forces around the world, providing advanced fire support for a wide range of missions.