Ground Warfare

General Dynamics European Land Systems Unveils PIRANHA Heavy Mission Carrier (HMC)

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General Dynamics European Land Systems Unveils PIRANHA Heavy Mission Carrier (HMC)

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General Dynamics European Land Systems Unveils PIRANHA Heavy Mission Carrier (HMC)
General Dynamics European Land Systems Unveils PIRANHA Heavy Mission Carrier (HMC)

General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) MOWAG has unveiled the Piranha Heavy Mission Carrier (HMC) 10×10, a significant addition to their Piranha armored vehicle series. The Piranha HMC is an advanced 10×10 variant of the 8×8 Piranha. With a gross vehicle weight of up to 40t and a turning circle of less than 18m, thanks to the four-axle steering, AGM on PIRANHA HMC combines outstanding tactical mobility with superior artillery firepower. AGM on PIRANHA HMC can be operated by a crew of two people without any constraints. The vehicle offers sufficient space for an optional third crew member (2+1), or alternatively for additional storage space. The effective azimuth of the AGM integrated on the PIRANHA is 360° and can be fired on the move. Thanks to its robust 10×10 multi-link chassis, no vertical prop-ups are required for firing, as is the case with other conventional wheeled howitzers.

At the Future Artillery Conference in Paris, the Piranha HMC was presented with the KNDS Deutschland’s fully automated, unmanned 155mm (cal. 52) Artillery Gun Module (AGM). The Artillery Gun Module (AGM, Artillerie-Geschütz-Modul) is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. It is based on technology used in the German Army Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) system. The special “Shoot & Scoot” and MRSI (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact) capability as well as indirect and direct targeting against moving land and sea targets underline the system’s outstanding artillery capabilities. The system is fully autonomous, the crew sitting in the cab, with similar performance to the PzH 2000, but with reduced cost, crew levels and weight. The AGM uses the PzH 2000 ballistic fire-control computer with integrated NATO Armaments Ballistic Kernel and the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Artillery Command and Control System.

Piranha HMC (Heavy Mission Carrier) with AGS. (Photo by General Dynamics European Land Systems)
Piranha HMC (Heavy Mission Carrier) with AGS. (Photo by General Dynamics European Land Systems)

AGM is a modular system, the gun module can be fitted on a tracked or wheeled chassis. Costs can be reduced by fitting it to a user’s suitable chassis of choice. A vehicle independent auxiliary power unit (allowing the gun to be used with the carrier engine shut down) and an inertial reference unit with a Global Positioning System (GPS) connection are fitted. The AGM doesn’t require an additional ground support to ensure the precision and the durability. It is stable enough as it is, and doesn’t require hydraulic stabilisers. It is a highly capable shoot and scoot system, and demonstrations have shown its capability to shoot at 360°, and even with some shooting in movement. AGM fired a volley of ten 155 mm rounds in 2 minutes and 19 seconds with a crew of two being seated in the fully armoured protected cab. The collaboration between German-French KNDS and the European business unit of US-headquartered General Dynamics Corporation also strengthens transatlantic cooperation.

In 2023, Project Artillerie Wirkplattform und Wirkmittel 2026 was a Swiss Army project for a successor to its M109 Kawest tracked self-propelled howitzers. In 2022, two systems were shortlisted. The first was the BAE Systems Hägglunds Archer Artillery System to use the RMMV HX2 8×8 chassis, the second was the German Remote Controlled Howitzer 155 (RCH 155) on either the Boxer or Piranha IV platform. The Boxer was already developed, and in trials at the time but the Piranha IV would have to be integrated with the gun system. In May 2023, the first models of the prototype in development were revealed; the gun system would be installed on a Piranha IV 10×10 platform. This would provide the crew with more space compared to the Boxer based variant; this meant the whole artillery crew could be within the vehicle rather than operate some parts of the system remotely.

Piranha HMC (Heavy Mission Carrier) with AGS. (Photo by General Dynamics European Land Systems)
Piranha HMC (Heavy Mission Carrier) with AGS. (Photo by General Dynamics European Land Systems)

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