New Czech howitzers need a modern fire control system – why do not they come together

New Czech howitzers need a modern fire control system – why do not they come together
02 / 07 / 2020, 10:00

The Ministry of Defense has embarked on the modernization of Czech artillery, and if all goes well, it will purchase self-propelled howitzers CAESAR from the French company NEXTER for the 13th Artillery Regiment, using an eight-wheel chassis from TATRA according to the Army's requirements. Proven and effective weapons need a modern fire control system. Yes the fire control system is being purchased separately and the project has already seen delays and peculiarities, which are, unfortunately, rather a standard in the case of Czech arms contracts. At the same time, the question automatically arises as to why the fire control system should actually be acquired separately, why it is not an integral part of the acquisition of 155 mm guns.

In the event of further delays, there is a risk that the Czech Army will have modern weapons, but without an adequate fire control system, the howitzers will be unusable. Already in May 2018, according to Minister of Defense Karla Šlechtová, the deadline was "the end of 2018", and the intended (approved by the Government in July 2017) modernization of DANA howitzers played a role in the project. From June 2018, however, it was known that the Army would focus on rearmament at the caliber of 155 mm. This will have its resolution this year, in the form of the acquisition of the French CAESAR system.

See also: French CAESAR cannons on a Czech chassis are a rational choice for the Czech Artillery

Everyone would probably expect that the new weapon will come with an appropriate fire control system, which will be integratable with other command and control systems and will be able to supplement with specific Czech requirements. In a situation of long-standing groping between the modernization of old cannons and their partial or complete replacement by modern cannons, it was probably natural that the fire control system was addressed separately. Today, however, the question of the cannon/howitzer is practically decided, and it might be worth considering extending the acquisition of the weapon directly with the supply of a fire control system.

The French army uses the proven ATLAS-CANON system (Automatisation des Tirs et des Liaisons de l'Artillerie Sol-Sol) meeting the standards of ASCA (Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities). It is essential for the artillery of the Army of the Czech Republic that the acquired system be able to control the firing of not only the 155 mm howitzers with their modern types of ammunition, but also other artillery firearms such as mortars (ATLAS-CANON system can work with 120 mm caliber), rocket launchers (for those The French use the ATLAS-LRM system) and specifically in the Czech environment also the caliber of 152 mm DANA cannon-howitzers, which are intended for service in Active Reserves, and for which there is a large amount of ammunition (worth more than 3 billion crowns).

See also: Fire control system for the Czech Army: we need a comprehensive solution. Polish TOPAZ is the best one

This does not mean that the French weapons must come with a French fire control system; however the system will be used primarily for the 155mm weapons, and it seems that the integration carried out by the manufacturer and supplier directly with the delivery of the guns could save the Army many worries, time and resources.

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