Artillery / Self-propelled howitzers / Palmaria


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Self-propelled howitzer



    1977 - 1981

    Oto Melara

    1982 - 1986 (main production batch)
    1990 (25 extra)

    Italy - Oto Melara

    Between 185 and 260 produced, plus 20 turrets for VCA


    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.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew5 (commander, driver, gunner, 2 loaders)
Length7.27 m (hull), 11.47 m (gun forward)
Width3.35 m
Height2.87 m (turret top)
Ground clearance0.4 m
Weight43 t unloaded, 46 t combat load
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear
Turn radius?
EngineMTU MB 837 Ea-500 4-stroke multifuel diesel, 750 hp
Power ratio16.3 hp/t
TransmissionRenk RK 304, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed60 km/h
Fuel800 L
Range500 km
Wall1 m
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1.2 m, 4 m with snorkel
ArmorSteel hull, aluminum turret
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x4 76mm smoke grenade dischargers
Armament155mm L/41 howitzer
7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun
Weapon1155mm L/41 howitzer
30 rounds, 23 ready to fire
-5 to +70° elevation, powered
360° traverse, powered
Weapon2Optional 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun on turret roof
manual traverse and elevation


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