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Israeli Army first operational use of new 8x8 fully automatic 155mm howitzer named Thunder.

Recently, the first operational model of the new Israeli army 155mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzer - "The Thunder" - was completed. This included field excursions, armament testing, and initial firing conducted by artillery hunters. The real-world tests were quickly carried out to support Israeli ground military operations.
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Tested Thunder SPH with loading auxiliary vehicle  (Picture source: Israeli defense forces )

"The Thunder" is the first wheeled se lf-propelled howitzer capable of fully automatic firing without human contact. This new cannon brings revolutionary capabilities to the battlefield - significantly increasing the rate of fire, allowing for longer-range shooting compared to the currently used cannons by the IDF, enabling independent and rapid movements on roads, and possessing high traffic capabilities on rough terrain. The automatic system of the cannon streamlines its use, reduces the number of operators needed, and allows the commander to plan and operate firing more effectively over a broader battlefield area.

Developed by Elbit Defense Company, 'The Thunder' is a testament to efficiency and innovation. Fully automated, it achieves a firing rate of 8 rounds per minute, a feat that was once unimaginable. Capable of firing different types of shells with a range of 40 km, 'The Thunder' offers significant firepower with a reduced crew. Unlike previous vehicles that required a crew of about seven men, 'The Thunder' only needs three: a driver, a gunner for close defense of the vehicle, and a commander. This reduction in crew size not only enhances efficiency but also significantly reduces operational costs.

The transition to the new cannon is good news for the artillery corps and the close cooperation with maneuvering brigades, and it will change the use of artillery on the future battlefield.

Artillery is the ultima ratio regum, the last argument of kings, allowing for fire dominance, the necessity of which is well-proven in times of war. The Thunder's firing capabilities enable it to support maneuvering forces with close and lethal assistance.

The Thunder is part of the reinforcement processes for all ground fire systems, including rockets, missiles, and remotely piloted aircraft systems, according to the IDF.

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