The Italian Army 70 self-propelled howitzers, PZH 2000 155/52 mm ordered in 2002 and delivered between 2004 and 2008. The contract is worth more than 500 million Euros and represents another important step of the modernization plan of the Italian Army. The Panzerhaubitze 2000 (“armoured howitzer 2000”), abbreviated PzH 2000, is a German 155 mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall for the German Army with which the Consorzio Iveco Fiat-Oto Melara has signed an industrial agreement in the frame of a Memorandum Of Understanding signed in the year 2000 between the German and Italian Governments.
The Consortium formed by Oto Melara, a Finmeccanica company, and Iveco Fiat, on 17th December 2002 signed, in Rome, a contract with the Direzione Generale Armamenti Terrestri for the supply to the Italian Army. Organized by product lines, the company has research and development capabilities covering the field from artillery to armored vehicles and from naval munitions to air-defense systems. Its systems integration capabilities, allied with its very advanced know-how, allow the company to offer customers a comprehensive solution. The company, which operates two production facilities at La Spezia and Brescia, booked production sales of 220 million euros in 2001.
The PzH 2000 is one of the most powerful conventional artillery systems deployed in the 2010s. It is capable of a very high rate of fire; in burst mode it can fire three rounds in nine seconds, ten rounds in 56 seconds, and can—depending on barrel heating—fire between 10 and 13 rounds per minute continuously. The PzH 2000 has automatic support for up to 5 rounds of Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI). The replenishment of shells is automated. Two operators can load 60 shells and propelling charges in less than 12 minutes. PzH 2000 has also been selected by the armies of Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania and Croatia, and more orders are probable as many NATO forces replace their M109 howitzers.