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  • Eithne Upgrade Anyone?!


    They didn't even have time to repaint the turret!


    MONARC: 155mm howitzer system mounted on F124 frigate
    A whole new dimension in naval firepower

    A pioneering concept recently unveiled by a consortium consisting of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall W&M at the HDW wharf in Kiel looks set to create a whole new dimension in surface combatant firepower.

    Known as MONARC (Modular Naval Artillery Concept for Naval Gun Fire), this solution promises to increase the range and effectiveness of ship-mounted artillery and ammunition several times over. As a result, naval units now stand to benefit from the technological edge enjoyed by German industry in the field of heavy-calibre artillery systems for ground forces.

    Rather than embarking on an expensive new development programme, it was decided instead to draw on a previously fielded weapons system from the cutting edge of ground forces technology. Developed with HDW acting as lead company, the concept entails mounting the turret and main armament of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer - the world's most advanced 155mm artillery system - to the deck of a warship.

    For demonstration purposes, a complete PzH 2000 turret has been temporarily mounted to the foredeck of the F124-class frigate Hamburg. The successful presentation sought first and foremost to demonstrate the basic feasibility of the new interface. In particular, it showed that modifying the infrastructure of new and existing ships could be accomplished at reasonable expense, while still maintaining the full range of essential fire support characteristics of the PzH 2000.

    Especially in the United States, major efforts are now underway to enhance the range and accuracy of naval guns and ammunition in order to engage targets onshore more effectively from seaborne platforms. These development programmes demand a great deal of money and will take a long time to complete.

    This is where the German consortium comes in: in order to achieve a solution requiring relatively little development effort quickly and at reasonable cost, they came up with the idea of installing an advanced heavy-calibre gun onboard ship that would be capable of delivering a variety of ammunition types to distant targets onshore, thereby making use of existing, highly effective technology.

    The main armament turret of the PzH 2000 meets these criteria. The PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer is widely acknowledged to be the world's most advanced 155mm artillery system. By the end of last year, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the general contractor, had already supplied no fewer than 185 of these systems to the German Army. Rheinmetall W&M is responsible for furnishing the system's main armament and ammunition.

    With orders already booked from Greece, the Netherlands and Italy, the PzH 2000 is already well on the way to becoming the standard NATO self-propelled howitzer of the future.

    The PzH 2000 is characterised by fully autonomous navigation and fire control functions as well as featuring a fully automatic ammunition handling system. Moreover, it is capable of firing ten rounds per minute at a maximum range of 40 km; thanks to its high-precision gun-laying system, it is also very accurate. A new generation of artillery ammunition currently being worked on by Rheinmetall W&M development engineers promises to attain ranges of over 80 km.

    From the standpoint of naval architecture, the main challenge encountered in integrating the turret onto the deck of a frigate consists of having to mount a big gun onto a relatively small vessel. It is not so much the weight of the turret that is a problem: after all, the medium-calibre turrets already in place weigh nearly as much. Furthermore, the space requirement both above and below deck is no greater than that of a conventional 76mm naval gun. The real problem lies in the effects of recoil on the structure of the ship. The necessary reduction in recoil force is to be achieved through a temporal extension of force transference by means of an elastic mounting.

    By using a flexible mounting rather than rigidly fixing the turret to the deck in the conventional manner, the impact of residual acceleration on the structure of the ship during firing is expected to remain at an acceptable level. Since the turret is essentially self-sufficient, all that is required is a 24-volt power connection and a secure link to the operations room and the bridge. In addition, the ammunition storage and handling systems will have to be modified. Furthermore, in order to compensate for the movement of the ship, the gun-laying system will have to be stabilised.

    Thus, MONARC represents a forward-looking solution to the problem of finding a high-performance gun for use on frigates and corvettes - and one whose advantages are by no means limited to its long range and effectiveness at the point of impact. Given the wide assortment of ammunition types available, these surface combatants will gain new ship-to-ship naval warfare capabilities as well as the ability to engage targets onshore with great accuracy and effectiveness.

    And, as the shipbuilder HDW is quick to stress, the modular design will make to easy to retrofit the system to ships already in service.

    For more information, please contact:
    Rheinmetall AG, Press and Information
    Oliver Hoffmann
    Tel.: +49-(0)211-473 4748
    Fax: +49-(0)211-473 4157

  • #2
    It has to be an early aprils fool Joke!

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


    • #3
      No, the US in particular are looking into larger calibre guns on their ships to better support troops in the near shore area.


      • #4
        Your article refers to the need to stabilise the gun platform, if this is on some sort of gimbal system then it will require a lot more space than a 76mm, anyway, why would you want a 155, the 76 has a fair punch and can hit aircraft at mach 2 at a range of 2 miles with it's current fire control system...


        • #5
          Apparently such a system is envisaged in the naval surface fire support role. At present (post battleships), naval guns are generally outranged by land based artillery. A 155 mm gun is being proposed for the DD(X) program in the States, I believe. As you said, the 76 mm systems are generally optimised for the AAW role.


          • #6

            Live-Fire Demo of New MONARC System: 155mm Artillery Solution for Warships

            (Source: Rheinmetall De-Tec; web-posted Oct. 13, 2003) (Edited version)

            The first public live fire trials of the new MONARC (Modular Naval Artillery Concept) system solution took place at the Rheinmetall DeTec proving grounds in Unterlüß, Germany just a few weeks ago.

            As a joint development of the companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) and Rheinmetall W&M GmbH, MONARC represents an industrial proposal for mounting a PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer turret on current and future warships for engaging land and sea targets. The demonstrator gun was mounted on a special structure. Employing specially developed shock absorbers, the trials aimed to determine the impact on the deck structure of the forces unleashed during firing.

            As early as December 2002, a PzH 2000 turret with a 155mm gun was mounted on a Sachsen-class frigate 124 then under construction at HDW in Kiel, demonstrating the technical feasibility of a gun concept of this type in a naval context. The system presented by the contractors is capable of multiplying the range and effectiveness of the onboard gunnery of a wide spectrum of naval vessels as well as permitting the use of new types of ammunition. This pioneering concept is enabling the German Navy to benefit from the technological lead enjoyed by German industry in the field of large-calibre systems for ground forces.

            International interest

            International interest in large-calibre barrel weapon systems for future frigates and corvettes has increased markedly in recent years. Many Western navies are of the opinion that currently deployed guns lack sufficient range to enable them to engage targets at sufficiently great distances. The 76mm to 100mm-calibre guns now found on naval vessels are incapable of striking targets at distances in excess of 15 km. There is even talk in some navies of being able to attain ranges of up to 100 km with the aid of new artillery and ammunition technologies, which should enable highly precise engagement of moving and stationary targets.

            Today, a wide array of different artillery shells is already in service with various armed forces and capable of meeting the full range of military requirements. These range from conventional armour-piercing shells through to highly accurate, terminal phase-guided intelligent projectiles with ranges of up to 40 km.

            MONARC for the German Navy

            In the German Navy, the possibility is being discussed of replacing the currently deployed 76mm rapid-fire gun with a new and larger artillery system. The 76mm system no longer has the range or firepower to contend with the kind of land and sea targets which the German Navy is likely to encounter today in light of its new mission requirements.

            A new gun solution should enable the engagement of land and sea targets at long ranges, to include area and point targets (e.g. bunkers and point targets) as well as moving targets. The extensive, 22 nautical mile range of a 155mm system means that it is able to keep ships out of a certain anti-ship guided missile zone. State-of-the-art reconnaissance assets like unmanned aerial vehicles, observation helicopters and satellites can provide assistance in acquiring target data as well as after-action damage assessment. In order to engage sea targets, MONARC will have to be effective against highly mobile targets. Ships should be able to engage targets at great distances.

            Having reviewed the full range of naval gun systems currently available on the market, the naval procurement authorities failed to find a satisfactory solution. For this reason, a consortium of German defence contractors attempted to plug this gap with the independently financed MONARC project within the framework of CPM 2001. The objective of the MONARC project was to supply:

            --a large-calibre gun suitable for engaging targets onshore as well as for ship-to-ship combat,
            --using existing equipment whenever possible,
            --assuring rapid availability at the lowest possible cost; and
            --retrofit capability based on modularity.

            Rather than embarking on a high-cost new development programme, recourse was had instead to a previously introduced land system representing the ultimate in contemporary artillery technology. The MONARC concept envisages integrating the turret and main armament of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer - the world's leading 155mm artillery system - onto the decks of frigates and corvettes.

            Mounting the MONARC

            From the standpoint of naval engineering, the prime challenge of integrating a turret onto a frigate is the need to put a heavy-calibre gun onto a relatively small ship. The weight of the turret poses no problems, since it weighs little more than the medium-calibre turret systems already found on such ships. The space requirement above and below decks corresponds roughly to that of a conventional 76mm naval gun.

            However, the heavy impact of the recoil forces on the structure of the ship each time the gun is fired is a matter of greater concern. The concept calls for the integration of elastic bearings as a means of protecting the ship's structure from the resulting recoil forces. Tested for the first time at Unterlüß, the use of shock-absorbing bearings rather than the standard fixed mounting is expected to reduce the effects of residual acceleration on the ship's structure and the turret during firing to an acceptable level. Because the gun turret is completely autonomous, all that it requires is a 24-volt connection to the shipboard power supply and a secure link to the operations centre and bridge. Furthermore, certain structural adaptations with regard to ammunition storage and conveyance are necessary.



            • #7
              Are you a sales rep for Rheinmetall ? You really seem intent on flogging it!

              Tell you what give the NS a free three month trial with hundreds of rounds so we can all nip down to Kinsale and have a few shots.....We'll post our recommendations and the minister might buy it......How much is it by the way? Do you offer credit terms?
              Covid 19 is not over's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe


              • #8
                Originally posted by hptmurphy
                Are you a sales rep for Rheinmetall ? You really seem intent on flogging it!

                Tell you what give the NS a free three month trial with hundreds of rounds so we can all nip down to Kinsale and have a few shots.....We'll post our recommendations and the minister might buy it......How much is it by the way? Do you offer credit terms?
                Everything is negotiable.


                • #9
                  If the Krauts dump the 76mm it'll at least mean plenty of second-hand guns & spares on the market.
                  "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."


                  • #10
                    Naval Artillery has come a long way in recent years. USN plans to upgrade the Ticonderoga fleet includes plans to adapt the standard 5 inch gun fitted to all vessels of this type to fire ERGM(extended range guided munitions) which will give the ship a long range land attack capability.
                    The rocket assisted ERGM rounds can reach targets up to 60NM away with precision accuracy.
                    To put that in a local context, this gun could land rounds on the glen of Imaal while anchored in Rosslare...or even shell athlone from the shannon estuary....Or better still,Knock out Portlaoise from Cork Harbour...
                    Fail to prepare....prepare to FAIL!