Archive Logo.jpg

February 19, 2004

This reminds me of a story...

The German arms industry, seeing a down market in sales of hardware to their own Army, is getting innovative. Any of you in the business will know that the Marines have been grumping for years about the paucity and relatively small caliber and range of naval gunfire in support of warfare in the littoral regions. The grumping really started with the retirement of the last 8in gun cruisers during Vietnam - as there simply weren't that many battleships. And now even they are gone, leaving just the 5-inch gun. The Navy has experimented with mounting MLRS launcher modules on surface combatants and continues to study the issue.

Rheinmetall has gone one further. They've just mounted the turret of the Panzer Haubitze 2000 onto a frigate.

monarc-pzh2k a.jpg

Quoting from the brochure:

MONARC: 155mm howitzer system mounted on F124 frigate A whole new dimension in naval firepower

A pioneering concept recently unveiled by a consortium consisting of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall W&M at the HDW wharf in Kiel looks set to create a whole new dimension in surface combatant firepower.

Known as MONARC (Modular Naval Artillery Concept for Naval Gun Fire), this solution promises to increase the range and effectiveness of ship-mounted artillery and ammunition several times over. As a result, naval units now stand to benefit from the technological edge enjoyed by German industry in the field of heavy-calibre artillery systems for ground forces.

Rather than embarking on an expensive new development programme, it was decided instead to draw on a previously fielded weapons system from the cutting edge of ground forces technology. Developed with HDW acting as lead company, the concept entails mounting the turret and main armament of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer – the world's most advanced 155mm artillery system – to the deck of a warship.

I think the makers of the AS90 will argue the point. One thing is for sure, with the demise of Crusader, no one in the US is going to argue.

Oh, yeah, the story. That would be the young Field Artillery Lieutenant who observed to the Captain of the USS New Jersey that there was little difference between him and any other commander of a mechanized division artillery - except that once we got to the area, we were more effectively mobile in influencing the land battle than he was.

Sailors don't have a sense of humor.

Hat tip to CAPT H. for the info.