The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that the Italian Government will provide many modern weapons, including tammunition, anti-tank weapons, mortars, Stinger MANPADS, machine guns and FH 155mm towed howitzers to Ukraine. Since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, the Italian Government has built a system of assistance to refugees from Ukraine and was one of the first countries to publicly declare and announce the first package of military aid to Kyiv. On April 27, 2022, Italy’s rulers passed a second decision to send a second batch of weapons and systems to help the Ukrainian Army.
The FH70 (field howitzer for the 1970s) is a towed howitzer jointly developed and production by Vickers Ltd in the UK, OTO Melara in Italy, and Rheinmetall GmbH in West Germany. Germany and UK started discussions and design studies and in 1968 established agreed operational characteristics for a towed 155 mm close support gun. Italy became a party to the agreement in 1970. It was also manufactured in all three of these nations during its decade-long production run, and it was also produced in substantial quantity in Japan. The United Kingdom and Germany have already disarmed this howitzer model, but it is still operated by Estonia, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Netherlands, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
The Italian Army have a total of 90 FH70 155mm towed howitzers. The FH-70 was to have an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), which would not only provide hydraulic pressure and electrical power, but also provide power directly to the wheels themselves, allowing the gun crew to literally drive it as a vehicle though only for short distances. The Italian FH70’s APU was developed by ARIS S.P.a. in Italy. the German and Italian armed forces have outfitted their FH-70s with Digital Display Unit (DDU), but the British armed forces did not. The Palmaria is a self-propelled howitzer manufactured by OTO Melara in Italy, for export. It is armed with the ordnance from the FH-70, in a turret based on that of the SP-70, mounted atop an OF-40 MBT hull. Palmarias are operated by Libya and Nigeria.
The howitzer is 155 mm caliber, the carriage is split trail, sole plate, auxiliary power unit, and hydraulics, and its elevation is -5 ° to + 70 ° (-100 to +1,250 mils). In maximum use mode, it can fire 3 artillery shells in 15 seconds, but the normal rate of fire is up to 6 shots per minute. Muzzle velocity on ??70 is 827 m / s (2,710 ft / s), effective firing range is 24 – 30 km (15 – 18 mi) depending on ammo. Ammunition was developed for the FH-70, in accordance with the Quadrilateral Ballistics Agreement between US, UK, Germany and Italy. The FH-70 may also fire extended-range projectiles, such as the US Army’s M549A1 RAP-HE round and the RB30 Extended Range Base Bleed (ERBB), both of which have a range of 30 km when fired from a 155 mm/L39 weapon. The US Army’s laser-guided M712 Copperhead Cannon-Launched Guided Projectile (CLGP) round is also compatible with the FH-70.