1977 - 1981
1982 - 1986 (main production batch)
1990 (25 extra)
Italy - Oto Melara
Between 185 and 260 produced, plus 20 turrets for VCA
- UNIT COST
Powerful armament with good range
Limited rate of fire
Little ammunition carried
Large and rather heavy
The Palmaria is a self-propelled howitzer of Italian origin. It was developed in the late 1970's by Oto Melara as a private venture and has been exported to two nations in the 1980's. The Argentine VCA mates the Palmaria turret with the locally produced TAM chassis.
The Palmaria is based on the tracked chassis of the OF-40 tank, which in turn is based on the Leopard 1. A large aluminum turret is located in the middle of the vehicle. The engine and drivetrain are located at the rear. The turret is fitted with 41-caliber howitzer with a fume extractor and double baffle muzzle brake.
The main armament is a 155mm 41-caliber howitzer for which 30 rounds are carried, including 7 stowed in the hull. The semi-automatic loading system allows for a maximum rate of fire of 4 rpm and 1 rpm for 60 minutes. A range of Italian 155mm rounds has been developed for use with the Palmaria, but all NATO standard 155mm rounds can be fired. The maximum range is 24.7 km for normal rounds and 30 km for rocket assisted rounds.
The Palmaria is operated under full armor protection. The steel hull and aluminum turret provide protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. An NBC system and 8 smoke grenade dischargers are fitted for self-defense.
The tracked chassis provides the Palmaria a good all terrain performance. A MTU 750 hp diesel engine provides propulsion and an auxiliary power unit provides power when the engine is not running. The maximum speed is 60 km/h and on roads a range of 500 km can be achieved.
Although of Italian origin the Palmaria was never adopted by Italy. It has been exported in large quantities to Libya and in smaller numbers to Nigeria. Since the mid 1990's the Palmaria is no longer marketed. It was extensively used by government forces in the 2011 Libyan conflict.
The Palmaria is a self-propelled howitzer based on the OF-40 chassis. It is easily identified by its box shaped chassis with drivetrain at the rear and forward positioned turret with large side doors. The Argentine VCA 155 can be considered a variant as it uses the same turret. Compared to the Palmaria the VCA has the turret positioned further to the rear and it has no track skirts.
|Crew||5 (commander, driver, gunner, 2 loaders)|
|Length||7.27 m (hull), 11.47 m (gun forward)|
|Height||2.87 m (turret top)|
|Ground clearance||0.4 m|
|Weight||43 t unloaded, 46 t combat load|
|Wheelbase||Tracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear|
|Engine||MTU MB 837 Ea-500 4-stroke multifuel diesel, 750 hp|
|Power ratio||16.3 hp/t|
|Transmission||Renk RK 304, 4 forward, 2 reverse|
|Gradient||60% gradient, 30% slope|
|Fording||1.2 m, 4 m with snorkel|
|Armor||Steel hull, aluminum turret|
|Smoke||2x4 76mm smoke grenade dischargers|
|Armament||155mm L/41 howitzer|
7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun
|Weapon1||155mm L/41 howitzer|
30 rounds, 23 ready to fire
-5 to +70° elevation, powered
360° traverse, powered
|Weapon2||Optional 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun on turret roof|
manual traverse and elevation