AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
Caribbean
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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Caribbean »

Timmymagic wrote:Compared to all of the other bugger ups its a success.
Depressingly true
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

Lord Jim
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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

The decision to purchase the AS-90 was actually one of the few successes in AFV procurement, but it should have been brought in as a 52cal weapon form the outset. Strange as the Army usually tries to future proof and new platform to the extent the rarely actually enter service so a mixed blessing.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

One (further) thing to consider regarding the 52cal ordnance:
The Polish don't use it.
They use the turret but the cannon comes from Nexter.
Number of reasons for that, I'm sure.

It'd probably be nice to have an extra 5km range if there are no drawbacks that go along with it*, but as it stands, for the time being, it's OK.

* gun handling, heat distortion, barrel harmonics, vehicle handling.. there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a longer barrel.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by abc123 »

Timmymagic wrote:
abc123 wrote:Well said. If you want an example of disasterous defence procurement programme, you don't have to look any further than Ajax.
It wouldn't be anywhere near the top though. It's actually delivering a product, one that is needed and that will (probably) satisfy the users.

Compared to all of the other bugger ups its a success.
It's one way of looking at things. Glass half full? :wave:
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

Jake1992
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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Jake1992 »

I'm just wondering what's everyone's opion on swedens archer class spg, would a upgrade varient of this be a viable replacement for the AS-90 ?

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

The Swedish Archer like the South African G-6 Rhino are superb artillery platforms but are as heavy as they tracked counter parts. The UK really needs a light but still protected weapon system to replace the AS-90, that also has greater performance, so would probably use the latest extended range variant of the M777 as its gun. Ideally it would need to be wheeled. How much lighter such a system would be compared to the Archer or Rhino I do not know. Cost is going to be key though as the Army has a Tsunami sized bow wave of procurement needs over the next decade or so, so we are more likely to see the 105mm Light Gun being replaced by the towed M777A2 in the army's light and medium formations first.

But to answer your question the Archer could replace the AS-90 but the cost of the system is the main obstacle.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Jake1992 »

Lord Jim wrote:The Swedish Archer like the South African G-6 Rhino are superb artillery platforms but are as heavy as they tracked counter parts. The UK really needs a light but still protected weapon system to replace the AS-90, that also has greater performance, so would probably use the latest extended range variant of the M777 as its gun. Ideally it would need to be wheeled. How much lighter such a system would be compared to the Archer or Rhino I do not know. Cost is going to be key though as the Army has a Tsunami sized bow wave of procurement needs over the next decade or so, so we are more likely to see the 105mm Light Gun being replaced by the towed M777A2 in the army's light and medium formations first.


But to answer your question the Archer could replace the AS-90 but the cost of the system is the main obstacle.
The archer is only 2/3 the weight oft he AS-90 at 30t to the AS-90 45t, it's also a good 10mph quicker. It is a good deal longer though I'm not sure if this would prevent it from being transported by an atlas.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

How easy is it to manoeuvre that sort of articulated vehicle in tight places?

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by whitelancer »

I can see no reason for replacing AS 90. What's the problem with it? Weight? Well as the main vehicles in our so called medium force are all going to weigh in at not much under 40 tons, I cant see why AS 90 at around 45 tons would be much of a problem. No 52 calibre gun? Well if its needed fit one, be a lot cheaper than buying a new SPG. Any other problems, apart from not having enough of them?

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Jake1992 »

whitelancer wrote:I can see no reason for replacing AS 90. What's the problem with it? Weight? Well as the main vehicles in our so called medium force are all going to weigh in at not much under 40 tons, I cant see why AS 90 at around 45 tons would be much of a problem. No 52 calibre gun? Well if its needed fit one, be a lot cheaper than buying a new SPG. Any other problems, apart from not having enough of them?
My question was more towards replacing the AS-90 in the mid 2020s time frame, this is why I asked about an improved version of the archer as by then the orginal design will be around 15 years old.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

If one were looking to replace AS90 in the 2020s, then the replacement system would depend greatly on what the rest of the army looks like and is planned to look like at that point.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Jake1992 »

mr.fred wrote:If one were looking to replace AS90 in the 2020s, then the replacement system would depend greatly on what the rest of the army looks like and is planned to look like at that point.
Well realistically SPA is going to be needed no matter what ( yes numbers may vaery depending on the planed set up ) but never the less will still be needed.

The options are tracked or wheeled ? For me wheeled gives the greater mobility now days.
So the way I see it would be 2 opinions
1 - a derivertive of an off the self design like the archer
2 - a 155mm pod set up for the boxer 8x8 were buying

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

The AS-90 is a solid systems but is out performed by many systems used by nations that could one day become opponents. Our current heavy artillery of I believe two AS-90 and one GMLRS Regiments is sufficient to support the planned two Armoured Infantry Brigades. The area which really needs attention is what indirect fire support should we provide the two "Strike" Brigades? and both 3 Commando and 16 Air Assault need something with greater range and flexibility than the current 105mm Light Gun. WE need systems that can for both cargo and precision rounds be they the cheaper Precision Guidance Kits or Excalibur. Russia has produced cheap and effective upgrades for the readily available BM-21 that they will export to any or all existing users. This system alone puts any units using the 105mm at a great disadvantage. It is all well and good to say the 105mm is easy to deploy and handle but it has to be survivable and the experience of the Ukrainian artillery in recent times shows how vulnerable this sort of weapon is where entire 122mm batteries have ceased to exist form one rocket barrage. The AS-90 is also vulnerable as the submunitions contained in the cargo rounds now in production for the BM-21 will easily disable the vehicle. Hopefully the MoD and Government will wake up to this and realise that air support will not always ne a certainty in any future conflict and that the deposed King of the battlefield needs to be reinstated and invested in.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

Are M777 resistant to Grad barrages then? Given how much more logistics support it requires, I’d have thought it would be more vulnerable due to its greater size and reduced mobility, so it’s harder to dig in or relocate.

Regarding AS90 replacement, interleaving with wheels/tracks is the amount of protection you think you need. Do you minimise weight and aim to relocate or hide, or have enough armour (PzH2000) to resist likely counter-battery fire.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

mr.fred wrote:Are M777 resistant to Grad barrages then? Given how much more logistics support it requires, I’d have thought it would be more vulnerable due to its greater size and reduced mobility, so it’s harder to dig in or relocate.

Regarding AS90 replacement, interleaving with wheels/tracks is the amount of protection you think you need. Do you minimise weight and aim to relocate or hide, or have enough armour (PzH2000) to resist likely counter-battery fire.
No the M777 is not resistant to counter battery fire, though the ER ammunition being developed and the increased barrel means its range is far greater than the 105mm. In addition it has greater options regarding the types of ammunition it can fire including the important cargo and precision rounds. As for logistical support, well besides additional manpower there is not much change and has very similar mobility to the 105mm and can be brought into and out off action at very similar speeds to the 105mm.

I would say that range, types of ammunition and mobility are the key criteria for any future artillery system. it will need to set up, conduct a fire mission with fewer rounds needed to achieve the effect needed and relocate as fast as possible. It has been almost half a century since western armies faced and adversary with effective artillery, and most western systems are out ranged and will be out numbered in any future conflict. As I stated we are too dependant or air support and this really needs to be addressed.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

By the way I agree the Archer would be a great replacement for the AS-90 in my opinion if we could afford it, but if any money is available for procuring artillery equipment we need to give the "Strike" Brigades their own integral fire support first.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

Wouldn’t the Archer be quite a good fit with the current Strike Brigade concept?

Longer range doesn’t automatically mean that you are out of range of the enemy, and when the bulk of your force is infantry, then you have no way to keep out of range of the enemy.

As ever, the base M777 with the 39 calibre ordnance is twice as big is every aspect bar range compared to the L118. The extended range version will be heavier and more cumbersome.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

Yes the Archer would be a good match to the "Strike" Brigades which is what I was trying to get across. If we purchased the Archer it should be assigned to two Regiments with one part of each "Strike" Brigade, rather then replace the AS-90 in the Armoured Infantry Brigades.

Though the M777 is larger than the L118 it is just as easily moved by land or air. The US Army have found it far form cumbersome and the capabilities it brings are far more extensive than the L118. We would do better to replace the 81mm Mortars in each Infantry Regiment with 120mm Rifled Mortars and have the M777 in the Artillery Regiments that are part of 16 Air Assault and 3 Commando.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by RunningStrong »

Lord Jim wrote:
Though the M777 is larger than the L118 it is just as easily moved by land or air. The US Army have found it far form cumbersome and the capabilities it brings are far more extensive than the L118..
Stretching the truth a bit. The tractor vehicle is significantly larger and the logistics supply chain is also greatly increased. The US has no shortage of heavy lift rotary assets.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

For a light infantry force with limited carrying capacity, switching up to 120mm mortars does not seem to be better. In fact it seems very much worse. The 120mm ordnance alone outweights the 81mm piece and 100bombs. Each 120mm bomb weighs three or four times each 81mm bomb. That’s great for terminal effect, but a bit of a pain if you have to carry it around, especially if you’re 25 rounds of 120mm ammunition per tube down to start with. That’s not counting the tractor that you probably want to tow the larger ordnance around with.

On the subject of tractors, a pinzgauer can tow a L118 but it cannot tow an M777.

How dispersed is this light infantry battalion or two going to be, if you need such long ranged artillery? How many batteries of enemy artillery are you going to be up against and how will you target them?

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

Although the Infantry can lug an 81mm mortar around on their backs they prefer not to. Both 16 Air Assault and 3 Commando have and will have more so in the future, plenty of tracked and wheeled platforms that can tow a 120mm rifles mortar, any civilian 4x4 can do so, it even fits inside a Chinook. Many nations use the Brandt mortar and swear by it. The USMC had no problems with the mortar it was the Go-Cart vehicles they purchased to allow the whole package to be carried by the CH-53E or MV-22 that was the issue.

As for the M777 a two and a half ton truck can tow a M777 but he US Army prefers their equivalent of the 4 tonner as it can carry the crew and initial ammo at the same time. The planned MRV(P) 6x6 would be ideal as a tractor as would the Bv210. A Merlin or Chinook can easily lift and transport it. The few issues with the size of the M777 are far outweighed by the gains.

All of this goes to show that the AS-90 will probably be around for quite a while as there are far more pressing issues with the composition of the Artillery branch of the Army.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by mr.fred »

AS90, as well as the candidate wheeled systems, are protected against light fragments and small arms. Would a replacement system for the armoured battlegroup need more protection, in the style of the PzH2000?

And a L118 is 50 155mm shells (no charges) lighter than a standard M777. And you could carry both gun and tractor and ammunition on one helicopter. Useful if you don’t have US scale logistics support.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

Cargo rounds carrying AT bomblets are common especially with MLRS like the BM-21 or heavier systems. IT would be better not to be where they Enemy thinks you are so greater mobility, and faster fire missions are more preferable to heavier protection.

I appreciate the L118 is lighter than the M777 but it has limited capabilities compared to the larger calibre weapon. It is of little use against any target near a built up area as ROEs are going to make civilian casualties totally unacceptable for NATO forces, so to persecute a target you will need precision rounds. 105mm HE has little effect on AFVs but 155mm cargo rounds carrying sensor fused munitions certainly do. It is only my opinion but it would be better to replace the 105mm with 120mm rifles mortars that have even greater mobility then the L118.

All of this is mute however as there is little or no money available for any of these option until 2025 and probably not until 2035 unless a major conflict is in the offing.

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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

mr.fred wrote: On the subject of tractors, a pinzgauer can tow a L118 but it cannot tow an M777.
Also the heftiest vehicle that can be airdropped (in the Herc era; are there by now larger platforms available for the A400M to go over the ramp?)
- would be quite an impotent force parachuted with no artillery (with tractors to move it) at all; a few Exactors would not save the day
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Re: AS-90 Self-Propelled Gun (Army)

Post by Jake1992 »

Iv read that early planning has started to take place on the AS-90s replacement and just wanted to hear what the thoughts are out there for what we should be looking at.

For me it has to be wheeled just for the over all mobility it’s gives along with distance and speed.

The 3 most modern western designs out there to date IMO all have there flaws there’s -

1 - Boxer based 155mm
Pros - great leaves of protection, great mobility and shares a good deal of fleet commonality
Cons - expected to quite expensive pushing £5m per unit, low rate of fire only 6 round per minute compared to supposed 12-16 round per minute of the new Russian design

2 - Caesar 8x8 155mm
Pros - very mobile, self loading system, small crew of 3, decent load of rounds 30
Cons - low rate of fire only 6 rounds per minute, unsure on unit cost due to lack of confirmed orders

3 - Archer 155mm
Pros - very mobile even in deep snow, very fast set up only 30 seconds, good rate of fire 9 rounds per minute, self loading, 2-4 crew
Cons - small load of rounds only 20, only a small number have been produced, oldest of the current generation of western SPG, longest making transport harder.

For me I’d go for a modern archer with increased round load capacity, but this would mean in effect designing a next gen archer to some extent.

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