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Analysis: KMW RCH 155 latest generation of mobile 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer

The RCH 155 (Remote Controlled Howitzer) is a new generation of mobile artillery system based on Boxer 8x8 wheeled armored vehicle. The vehicle was developed by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). The KMW Boxer RCH 155 was unveiled at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris in June 2016.

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RCH 155 Remote Controlled Howitzer (Picture source KMW)

In March 2018, Germany Company KMW has presented the RCH 155 during DIMDEX, a defense exhibition that was held in Qatar.

In May 2019, it was announced that KMW continued to develop this new mobile artillery system that could be delivered to the German army to supplement the artillery units, and not to replace the PzH 2000 which is the standard artillery vehicle of the German armed forces.

The German Company KMW has already performed firing trials showcasing the capability of the RCH 155 to carry out an eight-round fire mission, and then redeploy in less than 90 seconds. It has also demonstrated the possibility to can carry out multi-round simultaneous impact (MRSI) fire missions.

The wheeled armored self-propelled howitzer RCH 155 combines the firepower and effective range of the automated and remote-controlled Artillery Gun Module (AGM©) with the protection and mobility of the combat-proven wheeled armored vehicle BOXER. The vehicle is armed with a 155mm 52-caliber gun which is also used on the tracked armored self-propelled howitzer PZH 2000. This 155mm Artillery Gun Module (AGM) is also fitted on the DONAR artillery system also developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

The RCH 155 155mm Remote Controlled Howitzer combines long-range intense firepower and the fully automated Artillery Gun Module with the protection and mobility of the combat-proven wheeled armored vehicle BOXER. It can fire up to 8 rounds per minute to a range of up to 40 km with standard ammunition that is achievable with BOXER RCH 155. An increased range of up to 56 km is possible with Very Long-range Artillery Projectiles (VLAP). To integrate the 155 mm L52 Artillery gun, BOXER makes use of its growth potential of up to 38.5 t.

The Artillery Gun Module of BOXER RCH 155 is unmanned and provides automated navigation and fire control, features fully automated gun laying and projectile loading. The vehicle does not need to be equipped with hydraulic supports for firing. This leads to the reduced crew of 2 (driver, commander) and provides a major advantage in terms of fast relocation during operation – shoot and scoot – with a minimal crew size.

The RCH 155 provides outstanding tactical and strategic mobility for efficient actions. Its high precision and accuracy make it ready for modern ammunition. The combat load can be up to 40 rounds and the projectiles and crew are protected to the same level.

The survivability of the vehicle and its crew has been a key characteristic and therefore given the highest priority. The Gun Module can turn endlessly and be positioned n x 360° which leads to area coverage of 5,026 km² (9,852 km² with VLAP).

The RCH 155 hull has a modular hull including standard armor as well as special ceramic components. The triple hull floor is shaped for maximum protection against anti-tank mines and improvised explosive devices. It is claimed that front arc withstands hits from 30 mm projectiles. All-round protection is against 12.7 mm rounds. The turret is made of lightweight aluminum armor and provides protection only against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.


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