The 152 mm DANA vz. 77 self-propelled gun howitzer has gone through a major modernization presenting the most recent DANA M2 system featuring high speed in taking up and leaving the firing position, greater accuracy and excellent hard terrain crossability. The Czech defense manufacturer EXCALIBUR ARMY introduced a new DANA M2 152 mm howitzer upgrade during BAHNA 2018 event in June. The DANA (Delo automobilní nabijene automaticky, gun on truck loaded automatically) is a wheeled self-propelled artillery piece. It is also known as the Samohybná Kanónová Húfnica vzor 77 (ShKH vz. 77; self-propelled gun howitzer model 77).
The 152 mm DANA vz. 77 self-propelled howitzer has gone through a major modernization presenting the most recent DANA M2 system featuring high speed in taking up and leaving the firing position, greater accuracy and excellent hard terrain crossability. The modernization features a number of improvements the most visible of which is a new cabin. The DANA M2 howitzer is equipped with a powerful Onboard Control System which contains subsystems of diagnostics, navigation, automatic gun aiming, autonomous calculation of shooting elements and ammunition selection subsystem.
The DANA 2’s primary weapon is a 152 mm howitzer with a monolithic barrel (with a fixed rifling pitch) equipped with one expansion chamber. The howitzer has a semi-automatic, vertically-sliding-wedge-type breech which opens to the left side. The recoil assembly consists of a hydraulic buffer, two pneumatic return cylinders and a controlling plunger which governs the displacement of the buffering system. The gun laying is carried out by an electro-hydraulic drive system or an emergency manual control. DANA 2’s unique feature is that its autoloader is able to load a shell and a cartridge in any elevation of the barrel.
The DANA 2 was a significant departure from contemporary self-propelled guns as it used a wheeled chassis and featured an innovative automated loading system which was the first of its kind at the time of its introduction to service. The vehicle has a driving cabin at the front, an open-topped fighting compartment at mid-length and the V-12 air cooled diesel Tatra T3-930-52 engine (delivering 355 horsepower) compartment in the rear. The armoured turret is installed on a traversable mount adapted to the Tatra 817 8×8 wheeled chassis and is divided into two halves, divided by the howitzer’s recoil mechanism and a pathway for the reciprocating action during firing.