The Royal Thai Army (RTA) recently conducted test firings of the Nexter LG1 Mk III 105mm Towed Light Howitzer, a remarkable piece of weaponry poised to enhance the nation’s defense capabilities. These trials, held at the Khao Phu Lon Artillery Range in Lopburi Province, marked a pivotal moment for the RTA and showcased the new technology integrated into this artillery system. Distributed by United Defense Technology Co., Ltd. (UDT) Thailand and manufactured by France’s NEXTER Company, the LG1 Mk III is a 105mm towed ballistic light cannon designed to meet the rigorous demands of modern warfare. The RTA, stationed in the 11th Artillery Battalion of the 1st Artillery Regiment within His Majesty’s Guard, acquired a total of 12 LG1 Mk III howitzers, accompanied by Land Rover Defender 4×4 artillery towing vehicles.
The test firings, conducted on August 30, 2023, aimed to determine the initial velocity of each LG1 Mk III howitzer, recording vital performance data for future deployments. Despite the firm ground at the firing range, which limited the howitzer’s ability to absorb recoil, the gunners showcased their skill and precision by maintaining stability while firing. One of the standout features of the LG1 Mk III is its cutting-edge digital fire control system, complete with a mounted display on the gun. This system incorporates GPS satellite coordination and soil temperature measurement, enabling precise targeting and rapid adjustments to ensure first-shot accuracy. Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) can seamlessly communicate with the artillery, facilitating quick and highly accurate targeting.
The Royal Thai Army initiated the acquisition project for the LG1 Mk III in November 2020, allocating 834,400,000 baht (equivalent to $26,722,194 or 22,677,763 Euros) for the purchase of 12 units. UNITED DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY Thailand emerged as the winning bidder, and the delivery of the first six LG1 Mk III howitzers took place in January 2023, with the remaining six scheduled for arrival in early August 2023. This acquisition reflects the RTA’s commitment to replacing outdated artillery systems, including the M425 and M618A2 towed light cannons built in Thailand. Collaborating with the Defense Technology Institute and Artillery Center, the RTA is also engaged in a joint project to research and develop the 105mm CS/AH2 light cannon, further bolstering its artillery capabilities.
The LG1 howitzer’s compact design offers a unique blend of low weight and exceptional accuracy over long distances, making it an ideal choice for rapid deployment forces. TThe LG1 can fire NATO standard 105mm ammunition up to a remarkable range of 17 kilometers, using HE-ER G3 base bleed rounds. The Mk III version’s inclusion of an inertial navigation unit enhances its precision and aiming capabilities. Deployed on a split trail carriage, the LG1 can be transported by a light truck or a 4×4 light tactical vehicle. Its versatility extends to being fully air-portable under helicopters, air-droppable, and deployable by parachute. Tactical transport aircraft like the C-130 Hercules can carry up to four LG1 howitzers. With a weight of 1,520 kg and a crew of five (which can be reduced to three for operation), the LG1 Mk III offers an impressive blend of firepower, mobility, and ease of deployment. Its maximum firing range of 17 km using Nexter Extended Range ammunition, combined with its rapid setup and takedown capability, makes it a game-changing addition to the Royal Thai Army’s artillery arsenal.