The Ministry of Defence is purchasing a new fire control system and is promoting the ODIN system, which does not meet the needs of the Czech Army

The Ministry of Defence is purchasing a new fire control system and is promoting the ODIN system, which does not meet the needs of the Czech Army
Author:|Caption: ShKH M77 DANA 152mm Self-Propelled Gun Howitzer
23 / 04 / 2020, 10:00

The Ministry of Defence plans to purchase a new fire control system this year. The main task of such software is to calculate the firing elements of the artillery system, such as mortars, cannons/cannon howitzers, howitzers, or rocket launchers.

The aim of the system is to calculate the distance to the target, the strength of the crosswind, the need for elevation and angle. The artillery fire control system calculates the ballistic curve of the shot, the location of the target and the probability of first hit, meteorological conditions, altitude (air density), wind direction, target type and ammunition used and other factors affecting the accuracy of the target. With modern systems, also when firing a salvo, the ability to hit one place with more shells - thus causing more damage.

What system do we need?

Czech Republic, along with other states, is one of the former Eastern bloc countries. We must therefore address the issue of how to introduce new NATO technologies while maintaining the technologies of the former Warsaw Pact. For example, in the case of artillery (which is primarily controlled by the system), there is a difference in caliber and thus the calculation of firing elements. NATO uses a caliber of 155 mm almost as standard, while in the case of the countries of the former Warsaw Pact it is the caliber of 122-152 mm. Firing elements and range are different, in addition, when firing at the same distance the 155mm caliber will use a higher ballistic curve than the 152mm caliber, each caliber is affected by different meteorological conditions at a certain level of shell flight to the target.

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

Czech Republic therefore needs a fire control system that takes into account the capabilities of both newly introduced technologies according to NATO standards, and the technology originating in the eastern countries which is still in service or intended for backup - ie different calibers, other systems, other communication systems, etc. It is difficult to imagine that reserve and mobilized units will be disbanded at the expense of a fire control system acquired from one western country. In such case the systems could not communicate with each other and the artillery in the first line could not rely on the support of artillery in the second line, or they could not use the complete capabilities of artillery, ie all possible calibers and all possible systems.

The new fire control system for the Czech Army must integrate:

• 155 mm cannons/howitzers

• 152 mm cannons/howitzers

• Mortars of various calibers, portable and mobile

• Rocket launchers (canceled in the Czech Army but planned to restore)

• Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (combat and reconnaissance)

• Reconnaissance units

• Artillery observers

But this logical reasoning is not held by the Ministry of Defence, which prefers the purchase of the Norwegian ODIN system. Yet that system, however, cannot control these elements. The case has been going on at least since 2018, when a so-called feasibility study was prepared, which dealt with only one system - the Norwegian ODIN from Kongsberg.

The specification of the General Staff of the Czech Army, which defines the requirement to acquire the Norwegian software, is built in exactly the same way. There is an explicit reference to the 155 mm system.

The last intervention in favor of ODIN is the elaboration of a marketing study commissioned by the Ministry of Defence at the Military Technical Institute. Here, the scope of the final material was to be limited and instead of a comprehensive assessment of competing systems, only the Norwegian variant was addressed again.

See also: The Military Technical Institute will deliver seven new LOV-Pz artillery reconnaissance vehicles

Apart from the apparently one-sided approach of the MoD in favor of the ODIN system, there is a fundamental problem. The Norwegian system, which was primarily developed for the ARCHER guns, can only control fire from 155 mm guns. Therefore, it absolutely does not meet the requirements of the Czech Republic, as a country with cannons of old eastern calibers.

The final question is more than obvious: Who is interested in introducing a system that serves only one segment of a wide range of artillery systems and which cannot meet the needs of the Czech army?

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