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Philippine Army Conducts Exercise with Elbit Systems M71 155mm Towed Howitzers

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Philippine Army Conducts Exercise with Elbit Systems M71 155mm Towed Howitzers

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Philippine Army Conducts Exercise with Elbit Systems M71 155mm Towed Howitzers
Philippine Army Conducts Exercise with Elbit Systems M71 155mm Towed Howitzers

The Philippine Army 7th Field Artillery (Steel Rain) Battalion BCC continues. On 21 February 2023, personnel of 1st Howitzer Section, 3rd Howitzer Platoon, Alpha Battery, 7FAB led by 1LT BLAS MARCELL Z PACULIO (ART) PA, Battery Commander, stationed at Brgy Bancasi, Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte performs individual and unit gunnery functions as part of the unit certification program. Anchored to the Philippine Army Artillery Regiment’s current thrust, the Alpha Battery, 7FAB in charge of the 155mm M71 Howitzers is on track to complete the fully certified personnel assigned to every platoon.

LTC MANOLITO V BELLEZA ART (GSC) PA, Acting Commanding Officer, 7FAB, Chairperson of the BCC said,”The marching order of the Regiment Commander, AAR to produce highly-competent firing units capable of delivering accurate and timely artillery fires are met through the conduct of unit and individual certification programs.”

Philippine Army Conducts Exercise with Elbit Systems M71 155mm Towed Howitzers
The Philippine Army 7th Field Artillery (Steel Rain) Battalion BCC conducts exercise with Elbit Systems M71 155mm Towed Howitzers. (Photo by 7th Field Artillery Battalion)

The M-71 is a 155 mm 39 caliber towed howitzer manufactured by Israeli company Soltam Systems (now Elbit System). The weapon was based on the earlier Soltam M-68 and uses the same recoil system, breech and carriage but had a longer gun barrel (39 calibre versus 33 calibre of M-68). It is fitted with a compressed air-driven rammer to permit rapid and easy loading at all angles of elevation as well as having a rechargeable battery mounted on the right trail for auxiliary power. It can fire a 43.7 kilograms (96 lb) high-explosive shell up to a maximum range of 23.5 kilometers (14.6 mi) at a muzzle velocity of 820 meters per second (2,700 ft/s).

In addition to Israel, this weapon is in service with Chile, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, Slovenia and Myanmar. Since the M-71 155mm Towed Howitzers are actually produced by Soltam Systems since the mid 1970s, and several units were even ordered and delivered to the Philippine Army. Elbit Systems won the bid to supply and deliver twelve (12) units of 155mm / 39 calibre Howitzers and ammunition for the Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps, and a contract was signed between them and the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) in 2015.

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