FH 155-1 (German service)
L121 (UK service)
Early 1960's - 1973
1978 - late 1980's
Germany - Rheinmetall
Italy - OTO Melara
Japan - Japan Steel Works
United Kingdom - Vickers
- UNIT COST
Improved range over M114
Autonomous mobility with APU
High burst rate of fire
Lacks range of modern L/52 howitzers
The FH-70 is late Cold War era towed howitzer of European origin. It was a joint UK, German and Italian effort to develop a replacement for the widely used World War 2 era M114. The name FH-70 stands for Field Howitzer of the 1970's. Compare to the older M114 the FH-70 was to provide a longer range, burst fire capability, more powerful ammunition and autonomous mobility.
The FH-70 uses a 155mm 39-caliber ordnance with double baffle muzzle brake and sliding breech block. A flick rammer allows for burst firing. The single axle split trail carriage is fitted with an APU and features a driver's seat. Each trail is fitted with a large castor wheel. In the firing position the FH-70 rests on a turntable sole plate. In travel configuration the ordnance is rotated rearwards over the trails. The FH-70 uses conventional sights with electronic display. The FH-70 is crewed by 8 men, while the minimum detachment is 4 men. There is no gun shield.
The FH-70 fires all NATO standard 155mm shells. A special range of 155mm shells was developed for the FH-70, including a powerful low drag HE-Frag shell. The maximum range is 24.7 km with NATO standard ammunition and 30 km with extended range shells. The burst rate of fire is 3 shells in 15 seconds. Sustained rate of fire is 3 to 6 rpm. Accuracy is reported to be good. The FH-70 can be used for direct fire in a pinch, but was not intended for that role.
The FH-70 is normally towed by a 5t truck that also carries the crew and ammunition. The APU allows the FH-70 to move on its own. Enabling a shoot-and-scoot ability. The Volkswagen engine allows for speeds up to 20 km/h. The FH-70 is too heavy to be manhandled. The FH-70 can be carried as an external load underneath a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
The primary users of the FH-70 have been the three nations that developed it: Germany, Italy and the UK. Large quantities were produced under license in Japan. The FH-70 was exported to several nations. Later surplus units were exported as well. The FH-70 remains in use, although self-propelled artillery has replaced towed guns in many modern armies.
The FH-70 is a towed howitzer that uses a 155mm 39-caliber ordnance with double baffle muzzle brake. The single axle split trail carriage features an auxiliary power unit and large castor wheels for autonomous movement. No variants have been produced.
|Crew||7 - 8|
|Ordnance||155mm L/39 howitzer, 6.022 m barrel, 827 m/s muzzle velocity|
|Elevation||-5 to +70°|
|Rate of fire||6 rpm (normal), 2 rpm (sustained), 3 rounds in first 13 seconds|
|Range||24.7 km (standard rounds), 31.5 km (base bleed)|
|Carriage||2 wheel split trail carriage, 14.00 x20 tires, 2.20 m track, 9.3 m turn radius|
|Weight||9.3 t (travel & firing position)|
|Length||9.8 m (travelling), 12.43 m (firing position)|
|Width||2.58 m (travelling), 7.5 m (firing position)|
|Height||2.45 m (travelling)|
|Towing vehicle||6x6 truck|
|Speed||16 km/h on APU, 80 km/h (towed)|
|Remarks||APU fitted for autonomous movement|