German army orders 10 new PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers from KMW

The German Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) a contract for the production of 10 new PzH 2000 self-propelled tank howitzers. The two parties signed the contractual agreement in Berlin today. Delivery of the systems is scheduled to begin in 2025. They will replace the German artillery`s self-propelled howitzers, which were recently handed over to Ukraine as part of military support operations. The agreement concluded on March 29 includes options for the production of a total of 18 additional PzH 2000s in 3 lots of 6 systems.
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PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Dutch MoD)

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 ("armored howitzer 2000"), abbreviated PzH 2000, is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall in the 1980s and 1990s for the German Army. In burst mode, it can fire 3 rounds in 9 seconds, 10 rounds in 56 seconds, and can — depending on barrel heating — fire between 10 and 13 rounds per minute continuously. The PzH 2000 has automatic support for up to 5 rounds of Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI). Replenishment of shells is automated. Two operators can load 60 shells and propelling charges in less than 12 minutes. The PzH 2000 equips the armies of Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania, Hungary, Qatar and Croatia, mostly replacing older systems such as the M109 howitzer. In November 2019, a PzH 2000 L52 gun fired a shell at a distance of 67 km.

PzH 2000 sent to Ukraine

On 21 June 2022, 12 Panzerhaubitze 2000s were deployed to Ukraine: 7 came from Germany and 5 from the Netherlands. After a couple of weeks of intensive use, the guns required repairs, and error messages were being displayed as they are designed and built to fire no more than 100 shots a day. Germany considers 100 shots per day "a high-intensity mission". Ukraine has consistently exceeded this number, placing stress on the loading mechanism. Ukraine also fired "special ammunition at too great a distance." The Bundeswehr sent spare parts and a repair facility in Lithuania was chosen to repair the weapons. This came as Ukraine and KMW entered into a 1.7 billion euro deal to purchase 100 PzH 2000s.

Russian state news agency TASS reported that a Panzerhaubitze 2000 was destroyed by Russian forces in Kherson Oblast on 30 October 2022. However, the open-source intelligence site Oryx visually confirmed only repairable damage to one Panzerhaubitze.

Due to the intensity of artillery fire on the battlefield, Lithuania undertook to repair twelve of the howitzers, finishing repair work on six of them by December 2022. By this time, the number of Panzerhaubitze 2000 sent to Ukraine rose to twenty-two; fourteen from Germany and eight from the Netherlands. As of February 2023, fifteen of the howitzers were waiting to be repaired in Slovakia, but were being held up at the border for several weeks due to legal issues.

Defense News March 2023