Artillery / Towed guns / FH-70

FH-70

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Towed howitzer

  • ORIGIN
    Europe

  • NICKNAMES
    FH 155-1 (German service)
    L121 (UK service)

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1960's - 1973

  • DESIGNER
    Vickers, Rheinmetall

  • PRODUCTION
    1978 - late 1980's

  • PRODUCERS
    Germany - Rheinmetall
    Italy - OTO Melara
    Japan - Japan Steel Works
    United Kingdom - Vickers

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Improved range over M114
    Autonomous mobility with APU
    High burst rate of fire
    Lacks range of modern L/52 howitzers

Introduction

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.

Layout

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.

Firepower

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.

Mobility

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.

Users

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.

Variants

FH-70

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.

TypeTowed howitzer
Crew7 - 8
Ordnance155mm L/39 howitzer, 6.022 m barrel, 827 m/s muzzle velocity
Elevation-5 to +70°
Traverse56° total
Rate of fire6 rpm (normal), 2 rpm (sustained), 3 rounds in first 13 seconds
Range24.7 km (standard rounds), 31.5 km (base bleed)
Carriage2 wheel split trail carriage, 14.00 x20 tires, 2.20 m track, 9.3 m turn radius
Weight9.3 t (travel & firing position)
Length9.8 m (travelling), 12.43 m (firing position)
Width2.58 m (travelling), 7.5 m (firing position)
Height2.45 m (travelling)
Towing vehicle6x6 truck
Speed16 km/h on APU, 80 km/h (towed)
RemarksAPU fitted for autonomous movement

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