The Hungarian Army acquired the new wheeled 155mm self-propelled howitzer HX3 produced by the German company Rheinmetall, citing Soldat & Technik. Ever since Rheinmetall presented the HX3, a new generation of the tried-and-tested vehicle family, last spring and announced the integration of a 155 mm howitzer. The Hungarian armed forces continue to increase the capabilities of its artillery units after the purchase of 24 new PzH 2000 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers that were announced in September 2019. Rheinmetall is currently an important partner of the Hungarian government in upgrading the Hungarian army’s capabilities.
The Rheinmetall new wheeled self-propelled howitzer is highly advanced, being specifically designed to meet international specifications for future-proofed indirect fire systems. The company’s Rheinmetall wheeled self-propelled howitzer is mounted on a high-mobility HX 10×10 chassis made by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles. Key criteria governing the system’s design include combining the operational reach of Rheinmetall’s high-mobility, operationally proven, HX military trucks with state-of-the-art howitzer technology, while simultaneously substantially extending the range of cannon artillery to gain range superiority over any enemy capability.
It is equipped with a highly protected cab and a fully automatic, remote-controlled artillery turret, which, though unmanned, can be entered by the crew. This means that it takes only two soldiers to operate the system from the safety of the armored cab. The turret can rotate and fire through 360 degrees, drawing on a turret magazine containing projectiles and propelling charges for forty rounds. The tried, tested and in service Rheinmetall L52 gun has been selected as the system’s main armament, with the L60 gun, now in development, offering future growth potential. The L60 can project low-cost standard projectiles (boattail; base bleed; V-LAP) more than 80 kilometers. Precision-guided munitions such as the Vulcano will allow engaging high-value targets at even greater ranges.
Compared to other wheeled platforms, which are already hitting their weight and payload limits, using the HX 10×10 offers the advantage of the unused growth potential of circa five tonnes of additional load capacity. Given an assumed service life of 30-40 years, this additional payload could be used to incorporate a multitude of additional mission systems as well as for carrying extra ammunition. Moreover, because the howitzer was designed from the start for remote control and semi or fully automatic operation, it can function without a crew. In keeping with the “human in the loop” principle, however, the firing order is never an autonomous decision.