PzH 2000

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 ("Armoured howitzer 2000"), abbreviated PzH 2000, is a German 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall for the German Army. The PzH 2000 is one of the most powerful conventional artillery systems currently deployed. It is particularly notable for a very high rate of fire; in burst mode it can fire three rounds in 9 seconds, ten rounds in 56 seconds, and can fire between 10 and 13 rounds per minute continuously, depending on barrel heating.
The replenishment of shells is automated. Two operators can load 60 shells and propelling charges in less than 12 minutes. PzH 2000 has also been selected by the armies of Italy, Netherlands, Mexico and Greece, and more orders are probable as many NATO forces replace their M109 Howitzers.


In 1986 Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany, agreed to terminate their existing development of the PzH 155-1 (SP 70) program, which had run into problems and was also clearly inferior to the new guns being introduced by NORICUM based on Gerald Bull's GC-45 howitzer. German industry was asked for proposals to build a new design with an even more powerful gun that would better the SP 70 requirements, based on Bull's Extended Range, Full Bore concepts. Of the returned designs, Wegmann's was clearly the best.

Rheinmetall designed the 155mm 52-calibre gun, which is chromium-lined for its entire 8 metre length and includes a muzzle brake on the end. The gun uses a new standardized charge system with six different charges, which can be combined to provide exactly the power needed and no more. Primer is loaded separately via a conveyor belt, and the entire loading, laying and clearing is completely automated. The maximum range of the gun is 30km with the standard L15A2 round (from the US M109), about 35km with base bleed rounds, and at least 40km with assisted projectiles. In April 2006 a PzH 2000 shot assisted shells (Denel V-Lap) over a distance of 56km with a probable maximum range of over 60km. This gun has a MRSI capability, with five round simultaneous strikes.

Wegmann supplied both the chassis, sharing some components with the Leopard 1, and the turret for the gun. The system has superb cross-country performance and considerable protection in the case of counter-fire. The turret includes a phased array radar on the front glacis for monitoring outgoing rounds and correcting for windage. Laying can also be automatically provided via encrypted radio links from rear area command. A crew of three was needed for full operation, commander, layer and driver.

Wegman eventually won a contract in 1996 for 185 to be delivered to Germany's rapid reaction force, followed by another 410 for the main force. Wegmann and Krauss-Maffei, the two main German military tracked vehicle designers, merged in 1998.

A number of armies have tested the system and its ability to provide accurate fire at 40km has been a major selling point. In addition to sales of complete systems, the turret has been mounted on a German frigate to test it as a naval gun (the project was called Modular Naval Artillery Concept, or MONARC) and it was intended to be used as a naval gun on the upcoming Type 125 frigate of Germany, which will now receive the Otobreda 127/64? gun from Oto Melara.

The British Army had also adopted the gun itself for use on upgraded version of their AS90 Braveheart system, but these plans were later put on hold and an upgraded version of the Royal Ordnance (BAE) gun chosen instead.

The PzH 2000 was considered for the US Army's Crusader concept system, but several requirements of the Crusader made it unsuitable. In particular the Crusader placed the crew and gun in separate compartments.

Combat Record and Alterations

The PzH 2000 was used for the first time in combat by the Dutch Army in August of 2006 against Taliban targets in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Medusa. Since then it has been used regularly in support of coalition troops in Uruzgan province, also in Afghanistan. The PzH 2000 was also used extensively during the Battle of Chora. It is known as "the long arm of ISAF".
The gun has been criticised by the Dutch in Uruzgan province as the NBC system designed for use in Europe cannot cope with the high level of dust in Afghanistan. The guns have been nicknamed the 'beasts of Tarin Kowt' by the Taliban. The guns have been modified with additional armor being fitted to the roof to protect against mortar rounds.

General Statistics

General Characteristics

  • Crew: 5 (commander, driver, gunner, 2 loaders)
  • Length: 11.7 meters (38.4 feet)
  • Width: 3.6 meters (11.8 feet)
  • Height: 3.1 meters (10.2 feet)
  • Unit cost: US$4.45 million
  • Combat weight: 55.3 tons


  • Primary: Rheinmetall 155 mm L52 Artillery Gun
    • Rate of fire: 3 rounds per 10 seconds, 8 rounds per minute, 20 rounds per 3 minutes
    • Range (of the artillery fire): 40 km (25 miles), 56 km (34 miles) with rocket-assisted projectile
  • Magazine: 60 rounds
  • Secondary: Rheinmetall MG3 - 7.62 × 51 mm co-axial machine gun


  • Engine: MTU 881 Ka-500
    • Power: 986 hp (736kW)
    • Power/weight: 17.83 hp/ton
  • Top speed
    • On-road: 60 km/h (37 mph)
    • Off-road: 45 km/h (28 mph)
  • Range (of the vehicle): 420 km (261 miles)
  • Fuel Economy: 240 L/100 km


  • 22px-Flag_of_Germany.png Germany : 185 (to be reduced to 154. 31 will be kept in storage for possible conversion to AGM mobile artillery module)
  • 22px-Flag_of_Italy.png Italy : 70
  • 22px-Flag_of_the_Netherlands.png The Netherlands : 57 (number of surplus for sale)
  • 22px-Flag_of_Greece.png Greece : 24
  • 22px-Flag_of_Mexico.png Mexico : 34 with 72 more expected to arrive by 2011

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