Artillery / Self-propelled howitzers / GCT

GCT

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Self-propelled howitzer

  • ORIGIN
    France

  • NICKNAMES
    AU-F1 (French military designation)

  • DESIGNED
    1969 - 1975

  • DESIGNER
    Giat

  • PRODUCTION
    1977 - 1996

  • PRODUCERS
    France

  • QUANTITY
    440

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good range and firepower
    High rate of fire
    Large and heavy
    Complex design and expensive

Introduction

The GCT is a self-propelled 155mm howitzer of French origin. Giat started the development in 1969 when the French government announced the AXM 105 and Mk.F3 were to be replaced. GCT stands for Grand Cadance de Tir, French for high rate of fire. This name was chosen while it had a rate of fire which was twice of what was normal at the time. The first prototypes were built in 1972 and the vehicle entered production in 1977.

Layout

The GCT is based upon the chassis of the French AMX-30 main battle tank. The turret is fitted in the middle and the drive train in the rear. Unlike many self-propelled howitzers the fighting compartment does not extend into the rear hull but is fully separate. A unique feature is The whole rear of the turret can be opened to allow the racks of six shells and the charges to be loaded quickly.

Firepower

The GCT is armed with a 40-calibre 155mm howitzer that is connected to an automatic loader. It is possible to fire a burst of six rounds in 45 seconds. The normal rate of fire is 4 to 6 rounds per minute and during sustained fire 1 to 2 rounds are fired every minute. The maximum range with standard French HE ammunition is 23 km, with US M107 rounds it is 18 km and HE base bleed rounds have a range of 29 km. A machine gun is fitted on the turret roof for self defense.

Protection

The GCT is operated under full armor protection. The steel armor gives protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. NBC and fire suppression systems are fitted. A total of 4 smoke dischargers are fitted.

Mobility

The GCT is based on the tracked chassis of the AMX-30 tank and has a good off road performance. A Hispano-Suiza 720hp diesel engine provides propulsion and an auxiliary power unit provides power when the engine is not running.

Users

The main user of the GCT was the French army. It was exported to three other nations. In French service the GCT is called the AUF-1. Given its age it is either to be upgraded or no longer in active service.

Variants

AU-F1

The GCT is a self-propelled howitzer based on the chassis of the AMX-30 main battle tank. Most of the armor is removed making the chassis 2000 kilograms lighter. The huge boxy turret is fitted with a 40-calibre 155mm howitzer fitted to an automatic loader. The whole rear of the turret can be opened to allow the racks of six shells and the charges to be loaded quickly. A 7.62mm AAT-F1 or 12.7mm M2HB is mounted at the loader’s hatch. The GCT was fitted with very modern fire control systems, including a goniometer, an optical goniometer, a contra rotation device and a direct fire sight. The GCT is called AUF-1 in French service. The AUF-1T is fitted with an improved fire-control system. In 1999 a project was started to upgrade most of the remaining French AUF-1 to AUF-2 configuration. This project was subsequently cancelled in favor of the Caesar wheeled self-propelled howitzer. The AUF-2 has an improved APU and engine, is fitted with a 52-calibre barrel, a modified recoil system, an improved automatic loader, a muzzle velocity radar and has a multi round simultaneous impact (MRSI) capability. The four smoke grenade launchers are replaced by the Galix system which is also fitted to the Leclerc main battle tank. The 52-calibre gun will improve the maximum range to 39 km.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Length6.7 m (hull), 10.25 m (gun forward)
Width3.15 m
Height3.25 m (turret roof)
Ground clearance0.42 m
Weight38.0 t unloaded, 42.0 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 5 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 3.9 m length, 0.57 m width, 2.53 m track
Turn radius?
EngineHispano-Suiza HS 110 V12 multifuel, 720 hp at 2.000 rpm
Power ratio17.1 hp/t
TransmissionMechanical, 5 forward, 5 reverse
Speed60 km/h
Fuel?
Range450 km on road
Wall0.9 m
Trench1.9 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording2.1 m
ArmorSteel
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x2 smoke grenade dischargers
Remarks-
Armament155mm L/40 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm L/40 howitzer
42 rounds
-4 to +66° elevation, 5/s powered
360° traverse, 10/s powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on roof
800 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

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