Wednesday, August 28, 2013

PzH 2000 155mm Self-Propelled Artillery

The PzH 2000 (Panzerhaubitze 2000) is the 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) together with the main subcontractor Rheinmetall Landsysteme for the German Army.

KMW received a contract in 1996 for production of 185 units. The first system was delivered in July 1998 and deliveries for this batch are complete. Rheinmetall (formerly MaK) delivers the complete chassis for all series vehicles.

In May 2001, during test firings for the Hellenic Army, the PzH 2000 fired 20 rounds all to ranges exceeding 40km (41.8km maximum). The ranges were achieved using M2000BB Assegai shells from Naschem / Denel of South Africa, in combination with the Rheinmetall DM 72 modular charge system. In November 2002, in live firings in Sweden, a similar range was achieved with Rheinmetall's new long-range RH 40 BB ammunition, also fired with the modular charge system.

A PzH 2000 howitzer turret has been mounted on the deck of German Navy F124 frigate, Hamburg, as a demonstration of the feasibility of the system for naval applications. The concept is called MONARC and requires a flexible elastic mounting.

PzH 2000 howitzer orders and deliveries

Total German Army requirement has been reduced from around 450 units to 260. PzH 2000 has also been selected by the Italian, Dutch and Greek Armies. The Greek Army has 24 systems, delivered between July 2003 and June 2004.

A German / Italian co-production programme with Consorzio Iveco-Oto Melara is providing the 70 units for the Italian Army. KMW delivered two units in 2002. First deliveries of the remaining 68 from Consorzio Iveco-Oto Melara took place in May 2007. The system entered service with the Italian Army in June 2007 and achieved initial operating capability in October 2008. Final deliveries are scheduled for 2009.

The Dutch army signed a contract for the procurement of for 57 units, later reduced to 39 units and deliveries are underway. The surplus 18 units (not yet built) were offered to the Australian Army but were declined.

In September 2006, the PZH 2000 completed its first live-fire combat mission with the Dutch Army in Afghanistan, as part of Operation Medusa. In operations against the Taliban, three PZH 2000 provided fire support at a range of more than 30km.

PzH 2000 155mm L52 howitzer gun

The electrical gun control system, supplied by ESW Extel Systems Wedel, comprises the automatic elevating and traversing drives with semi-automatic back-up, direct laying with electrical instrument control and manual control.

The 155mm L52 gun of the PzH 2000 was developed by Rheinmetall DeTec. The barrel length is 52 calibre and chamber volume is 23l. The gun has a chromium-plated barrel and semi-automatic lifting breech block with integrated 32-round standard primer magazine.

Gun parameters such as chamber temperature are monitored automatically. The PzH 2000 is equipped with a fully automatic shell loading system with ammunition management system.

The chromium-plated barrel is 8m long and is fitted with a slotted muzzle brake which gives increased muzzle velocity and reduces the level of muzzle flash.

The wedge-type breech block is integrated with an exchangeable primer magazine fitted with an endless conveyer for automatic primer transportation, loading and unloading.

Rheinmetall DeTec has also developed a six-zone modular propelling charge system (MTLS), the DM72, which provides for faster handling, less wear on the gun, lower sensitivity to ignition hazards and improved range. In the PzH 2000, up to six MTLS modules form the propelling charge. The maximum range of the L52 gun using the maximum MTLS charges is 30km with the standard L15A2 round and up to 40km with assisted projectiles.

The gun positioning and laying system is produced by Honeywell Maintal and mounted on the gun cradle. The system automatically determines gun direction, position and elevation above sea level. The integrated global positioning system (GPS) receiver and the vehicle's motor sensors form the hybrid navigation system of the PzH 2000.

Automatic shell-loading system

The PzH 2000 automatic shell-loading system can handle 60 rounds of 155mm ammunition. The shells are picked up from the back of the vehicle and automatically stowed in the 60-round magazine in the centre of the chassis.

The shell-loading system is driven by brushless electric servo motors supplied by MOOG. The automatic shell loading system has pneumatically driven flick rammer and automatic digital control, ammunition supply management and inductive fuze setting.

This provides rates of fire of three rounds in under ten seconds and loading of 60 shells by two operators within 12 minutes, including the collation of ammunition data.

The firing rate of the PzH 2000 was 12 rounds in 59.74 seconds, and 20 rounds in one minute 47 seconds, during firing tests in October 1997 with an improved autoloader. The muzzle velocity is determined automatically by means of a radar sensor and is used in the fire control computation.
Fire control and observation

The PzH 2000 can use an automatic mode of operation including the data radio link with an external command and control system. The autonomous fire control functions are controlled by an on-board MICMOS computer supplied by EADS (formerly DaimlerChrysler Aerospace). Using the automatic mode, target engagements can be carried out by a crew of two. Using the fire control data provided by the ballistics computer, the gun is automatically laid and relayed during the mission.

Various backup modes are available which guarrantee system sustainability in case of a component failure. As the lowest backup mode, an optical mechanical backup sytem is available.

The commander has a Leica PERI-RTNL 80 panoramic periscope, which is used in under-armour operations and for target designation in direct laying engagements. PERI-RTNL 80 has day and night vision channels and a laser rangefinder. The gunner is equipped with a Leica PzF TN 80 day and night direct fire sight for direct laying of the gun.

The 736kW powerpack of the PzH 2000 is mounted at the front of the hull and consists of an eight-cylinder direct-injection, supercharged MTU MT881 Ka-500 diesel engine with a four-speed Renk HSWL 284 C gearbox. Three fuel tanks provide a 420km cruise range.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The M56

The M56 (sometimes called the "Scorpion") was a fully tracked 90mm gun developed in the 1950s to provide airborne troops with a mobile anti-tank weapon. As such the system was used by airborne battalions and airborne infantry tank companies in the 1960s. The M56 Scorpion was also known as the SPAT for Self-Propelled Anti-Tank. Hull construction of the M56 consisted of an all-welded and riveted aluminum. The standard 90mm main gun was closely associated with the main gun as found on the M47 Patton Tank.

The M56 Scorpion was developed in to provide airborne elements with a mobile anti-tank weapon.

One major drawback of the M56 was that the crew of the M56 was exposed to the elements, with the exception of the blast shield and a windscreen for the driver. The loader utilized a folding stage from which to stand on to reload the weapon system. Despite this complete lack of crew protection, the system was a formidable piece of mobile artillery, particularly given the fact that it would be made available to frontline airborne units. Couple that with the maximum range of the main gun set out to 1,500 meters and the benefits appear to outweigh the drawbacks. Another major drawback was in the force of the recoil of the main gun which would literally tilt the entire system up and backwards when the weapon was fired along with produce an absorbent amount of dust and smoke in the process.

The M56 had a lifespan with the United States 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne up until the 1960's to which the system gave way to the M551 Sheridan. Despite this replacement, the M56 was in fact fielded in the Vietnam War in limited numbers, yet relegated to the fire support role. The chassis would also be featured in several less noteworthy roles including that of an APC, mortar carrier and a recoilless rifle tank.

Designation: M56 Scorpion

Classification Type: Airborne Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Gun

Contractor: Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors Corp - USA

Country of Origin: United States

Initial Year of Service: 1953

Monday, August 19, 2013


In mid-1970s, Soviet Navy adopted an underwater APS assault rifle for its combat divers, to provide underwater security against enemy frogmen and specially trained sea animals (i.e. dolphins). The APS, while successful in its narrow niche, had its set of inherent flaws, so, during the late 1990s,a severely modified version of it appeared in Tula, in the form of the experimental ASM-DT “dual medium” amphibious assault rifle.

The key improvement of the ASM-DT is that it uses a 5.45 mm rifled barrel with relatively shallow rifling, which allows to fire both standard 5.45 x 39 spin-stabilized ammunition, and modified underwater hydrodynamically stabilized ammunition, which is also based on 5.45 x39 case, with long projectile of about 5.4 mm in diameter.

To achieve this, the magazine housing of the ASM-DT is fitted with a sliding magazine catch, which can be positioned at the rear of the long magazine port to hold the deep underwater magazines, or in the middle of the magazine port to hold the relatively shallow (front to back)AK-74 magazines. In the latter mode, the rear, unused part of the magazine housing is closed by a spring-loaded dust cover. To avoid problems with the remaining water in the barrel when firing the 5.45 x39 in air, the chamber has special grooves that lead from the chamber forcing cone forward, into the rifling grooves. When the standard 5.45mm cartridge is fired, a small amount of powder gases run through the grooves ahead of the bullet, effectively blowing the remaining water out of the barrel. The rest of the action is similar to the APS, but the muzzle is fitted with AKS-74U-style muzzle device / flash hider. The overall performance of ASM-DT with underwater ammunition is similar to the APS, while in air and with standard 5.45 x 39 ammunition, it is roughly on par with the AKS-74U and greatly out performs the APS.

Caliber: 5.45 mm (5.45x39 for above water firing and 5.45mm special underwater ammunition for submerged firing)
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: n
Barrel length: n
Weight: kg
Rate of fire: ~600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds (for above water configuration) or 26 rounds (for underwater configuration)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bersa Thunder 380

Bersa Thunder-380 pistols are manufactured in Argentine by Bersa S.A. company, as a compact self-defense side arms for civilians and police. Being inexpensive and of good quality, these pistols offer a good level of protection with decent ergonomics. These pistols must not be confused with larger and more powerful Bersa Thunder 9 and Thunder 40 pistols from the same company.

Bersa Thunder-380.

Bersa Thunder-380 pistols are simple blowback operated, with the return spring located around the barrel. The trigger is of double action type, with exposed hammer. The safety switch is located at the left side of the frame, and, when engaged, automatically decocks the hammer. There is also an internal firing pin safety, which blocks the firing pin unless the trigger is pressed. Magazine release button is located above and behind of the trigger guard, at the left side of the frame, and just below of the slide stop lever. Single stack magazine holds seven 9mm (.380) or nine 7.65mm (.32) rounds. Deluxe versions of the Thunder-380 are equipped with extended magazines, which hold nine rounds of 9mm/.380 ammunition. Front sight is integral to the slide, rear fixed sight is dovetailed to the slide. Latest production pistols also feature an integral key lock, located above the trigger, on the left side of the frame.

With extended clip.

Type: Double Action
Calibers: 9x17mm Short/Kurz (.380ACP) and 7.65x17SR (.32ACP)
Weight unloaded: 560 gram
Length: 168 mm
Barrel length: 90 mm
Capacity: 7 (9mm) or 9 (7.65mm) rounds standard

Monday, August 5, 2013

AS "Val" (silenced)

The Special Forces, generally known as “Spetsnaz” (after the Russian term “Voiska Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya” – Special Purpose Troops), always played a key role in Soviet Military Doctrine. One of the aspects of every Special Forces is that they prefer to operate stealthily, with as little sound and flash as possible from their weapons. The first generation Spetsnaz weapons were no more than AK and AKM rifles, fitted with quick-detachable sound suppressors, and loaded with special subsonic ammunition with heavy bullets. Apparently, this was not enough, since in the mid-1980s the development of new, more effective silenced weapons was initiated. At first, designers from TSNIITOCHMASH in the city of Klimovsk developed a special-purpose 9 mm subsonic-cartridges, known as 9x39 SP-5 and SP-6, based on necked-out 7.62 x 39 case. These cartridges were fitted with heavy (about 16-17 gram) standard “ball” or armour piercing bullets, with muzzle velocities about 280-300 meters per second.

AS "Val" silenced assault rifle, with shoulder stock opened

Having the ammunition, the team at TSNIITOCHMASH, lead by P. Serdyukov, developed a family of integrally silenced 9 mm weapons, which included the VSS “Vintorez” silenced sniper rifle and the AS “Val”silenced assault rifle. Both weapons are based on the same action and integrally silenced barrel. AS is widely used by Russian Army recon units, as well as by MVD (Internal Affairs Ministry) and FSB (Federal Security Bureau) Special Forces.

AS "Val" silenced assault rifle, with shoulder stock folded

The AS is a gas operated, integrally silenced weapon. The receiver is machined from steel forging for improved strength. The long stroke gas piston is located above the barrel, and rigidly attached to the bolt carrier. The rotating bolt has six lugs and locks into the receiver. The front part of the barrel, ahead of the gas port, has several sets of holes, drilled at the bottom of the rifling grooves. These holes are used to bleed some of the gun gas into the integral silencer. The trigger unit is somewhat similar to that of the Czech-made Sa. Vz.58 assault rifle, and is striker-fired. The safety lever is similar to the one found on all Kalashnikov-type rifles, but the fire mode selector is a separate cross-bolt type button, located within the trigger guard, just behind the trigger. The open sights are graduated up to 400 meters in 25 meter increments, but the actual effective range is about 200-300 meters due to the rainbow-shaped trajectory of the subsonic bullets. The AS is optimized for high performance armor piercing 9 x 39 ammunition, designated as SP-6, but can also fire “ball” type SP-5 ammunition, intended for VSS sniper rifles. The pistol grip and the short forearm are made from polymer, the skeletonized, side-folding butt is made from steel tubing. The AS rifle has a standard side-mounted rail for optical, night vision or red dot scopes. It has no provision for mounting a bayonet or a grenade launcher. The integral silencer could be easily detached for maintenance, repair, or compact storage, but the rifle shall not be fired with the silencer removed due to safety and reliability issues.

AS "Val" silenced assault rifle, partially disassembled; note that barrel is significantly shorter than integral silencer

Caliber: 9x39 mm (SP-5, SP-6)
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt with 6 lugs
Length: 875 mm / 615 mm (stock open / folded)
Barrel length: 200 mm
Effective range: 400 meters
Weight: 2,96 kg empty
Magazine capacity: 10 or 20 rounds

The blog owner of World Guns prepares to fire AS "Val" silenced assault rifle



Related Posts with Thumbnails