Ukrainian army to receive all Estonian FH-70 155mm and D-30 122mm howitzers

As reported by The New Voice of Ukraine on January 23, Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine Kaimo Kuusk said: "We are giving all of our 155mm howitzers to Ukraine and we want to set a precedent in this way so that other countries don’t have excuses why they can’t give Ukraine the weapons to win the war”. 24 FH-70 155mm and 36 D-30 122mm howitzers will thus be sent to Ukraine.
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Ukrainian soldiers operate FH-70 155mm towed howitzer in Estonia, September 2022. (Photo source Headquarters of the Estonian Defense Forces)

The biggest ever Estonian military aid package for Ukraine, worth EUR 133 million ($145 million) or over 1% country's GDP, also includes thousands of artillery shells for howitzers, hundreds of Carl-Gustaf M2 anti-tank grenade launchers with ammunition, and auxiliary equipment for artillery units, The New Voice of Ukraine reports. "In addition, Estonia continues to provide both basic and specialized military training for Ukrainian soldiers,” Ukraine’s General Staff said.

“We are also grateful to the allies who joined the Tallinn Pledge and committed to collectively support an unprecedented set of donations, including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defenses, ammunition, and infantry fighting vehicles," the General Staff wrote. To date, only British-made Challenger 1 are actually planned to be offered to Ukraine.

The Tallinn Pledge is a joint statement of Estonia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania; made on January 19 along with representatives of Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Slovakia, stating their intention to provide support to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression for as long as it lasts.

FH-70 howitzer

The FH-70 (acronym for Field Howitzer for the 1970s, 'field howitzer for the 1970s') is a 155 mm/32 caliber towed howitzer developed with the participation of Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. The manufacture of howitzers for these 3 countries was 212, 70 and 164 guns respectively. Besides the three original partners, the weapon is also used by Japan, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, among others.

The FH-70 is a 155mm towed howitzer artillery piece that was developed by the Italian company Oto Melara, the German company Rheinmetall AG and the British company Vickers Ltd in the 1970s. The FH-70 was used by a number of countries, including Italy, Germany, and several other European nations, as well as Japan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia and continue to be in the military inventory of several countries.

The FH-70 howitzer is a towed artillery piece. It has a barrel length of 39 calibers and a maximum range of 30 kilometers. It is equipped with a muzzle brake and a hydropneumatic recoil system to reduce recoil forces during firing. The FH-70 also features a fully automated laying and loading system, which allows for rapid and accurate fire. It also has a very efficient and low-maintenance hydraulic system that enables the howitzer to be elevated and traversed quickly. The FH-70 is also equipped with a fire control system that provides a high level of accuracy.

The FH-70 howitzer has a maximum range of 30 kilometers when firing standard projectiles, and up to 40 kilometers with rocket-assisted projectiles. The howitzer is capable of firing a variety of different types of ammunition, including high-explosive (HE), smoke, illumination, and fragmentation rounds. It also has the capability to fire rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP), which increases the range of the howitzer.

If Britain was the leading country in the development of the basic version, then Germany led the self-propelled version, designing the part called SP-70, mounted on the basis of a turret installed in the hull of a tank, but caused problems with the propulsion engine, which, together with the high cost, led Germany to leave the program, which ended in 1987. The auxiliary engine was a VW 2,000cc gasoline, which enabled the howitzer to reach 16 km/h, enough to move a little bit on its own and get into position.

D-30 howitzer

The D-30 is a Soviet-designed artillery towed howitzer that has been in service since the 1960s. It is a 122mm towed howitzer that is capable of firing a variety of ammunition types, including high explosive, fragmentation, and smoke rounds.

The D-30 has a maximum range of 15.3 kilometers and can be used in a variety of roles, including direct and indirect fire support. It is still used by many countries around the world and has been modernized in some cases.