German defense technology company Rheimetall says it has broken three South African distance records in a recent test fire event at the Alkantpan Test Range in South Africa.
Taking place on November 6, the test saw a G6 howitzer with a 52-caliber gun achieve the longest range ever attained with a conventional 155mm artillery round: 76 kilometres, according to Rheinmetall.
The second record was broken by the 52-caliber gun of a PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer whose shell covered 67 kilometers. Finally, a field howitzer with a 39-caliber gun attained a range of 54 kilometers.
Developed and manufactured by Denel Land Systems, the G6 used at the live fire event was a new version designed to attain greater ranges with non-NATO standard Joint Ballistic MoU (JBMOU).
The maximum range of over 76 km was achieved with a non-JBMoU-compliant gun. This gun served as evidence of the feasibility of a new howitzer with a range of 83 km.
Working in close cooperation with the German procurement authorities, Rheinmetall plans to develop and manufacture a new 155mm gun of this type, which will feature a significantly larger chamber and a longer, 60-caliber barrel.
The gun should be able to fire existing JBMoU-compliant rounds as well as new ammunition families. On the one hand, these new ammunition types will be optimized with respect to stresses occurring in the new gun, but will also be able to be fired from legacy JBMoU-compliant guns.
Here, 83 kilometers serves as the benchmark, the company noted, since the course correction fuse necessary for precision at these ranges reduces the attainable range by approximately ten percent. This means that the maximum effective range of 75 kilometers specified by the German procurement authorities is attainable.
The event’s host, the German-South African joint venture Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), welcomed participants from several NATO nations to the event in Northern Cape province. As RDM managing director Jan-Patrick Helmsen explained, “Our goal is to be a true partner to the military. That’s why transparent cooperation and trust are so important to us. Tube artillery can provide defensive and offensive fire support. It’s cheaper and faster than rockets or air support, can operate around the clock, and engage targets with great precision using indirect fire anywhere within its range.”