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Ukraine to Receive First Fleet of German RCH 155 Wheeled Howitzers in 2024.

| 2023

According to information published by the German newspaper 'Spiegel' on November 4, 2023, the new German-made RCH 155 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers intended for Ukraine have already entered the production phase, and the first units are expected to be handed over to Ukraine in 2024.
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German-made KNDS 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer RCH 155. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In September 2022, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that Germany agreed on the delivery to Ukraine of 18 RCH-155, 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers manufactured by the German company Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).

Citing information from the "Welt" newspaper website, Ukraine ordered 18 RCH-155 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers for an amount of €216 million. On Friday, September 16, 2022, the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, Andriy Melnyk declared that Germany approved the export of these howitzers to Ukraine.

The RCH 155 is a state-of-the-art howitzer developed by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), now part of KNDS. This artillery system is a blend of automated firepower and protected wheeled mobility, designed to set a new standard in modern wheeled barrelled artillery. It boasts a large ammunition supply, rapid replenishment capabilities, and a stable gun platform that ensures maximum aiming precision. The RCH 155 is equipped with an autoloader and is designed for autonomy in navigation and fire control.

The main armament of the RCH 155 is the 155mm/L52 PzH 2000 gun, which adheres to the Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMOU) and has a range of approximately 54 kilometers, varying with the type of ammunition used. The system is largely logistically identical to the BOXER 8x8 armored vehicle, providing excellent mobility on and off the road. The heavily armored crew compartment is designed for a two-person crew, offering superior protection from mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and ballistic threats.

The howitzer is outfitted with a high-precision navigation system that can function with or without GPS support. It features a fully automated projectile loading system with inductive ignition programming and is compatible with various NATO ammunition types, ensuring versatility and adaptability on the battlefield.

The RCH 155 can fire at a rate of 9 rounds per minute and is capable of 360° azimuth firing. It can operate across all charge and elevation ranges without the need for additional support. The vehicle is designed to be highly survivable, incorporating NBC protection, a ventilation system, as well as cooling and heating systems for the crew and equipment. It also includes automatic fire detection and extinguishing systems for enhanced safety.

In terms of specifications, the RCH 155 has a combat weight of less than 39 tons and measures approximately 10.40 meters in length, 2.99 meters in width, and 3.60 meters in height. It is capable of reaching speeds over 100 km/h on roads and has an operational range of over 700 kilometers.

The Artillery Gun Module (AGM), associated with the RCH 155, is an air-portable 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed by KMW based on the technology used in the German Army's Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000). The AGM is designed to be more air portable, and transportable by aircraft such as the Airbus A400. It is a fully autonomous system with the crew located in the cab, offering performance comparable to the PzH 2000 but with reduced cost, crew requirements, and weight. The AGM is a modular system, meaning the gun module can be fitted onto different chassis, whether tracked or wheeled, providing flexibility and cost savings for various military needs.

Defense News November 2023

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