NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis

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Illustrative photo from open sources
Illustrative photo from open sources

NATO countries have begun supplying Ukraine with 220-240 heavy howitzers and more than 30 MLRS. How many of them will each country send and what are these systems going to be – Defense Express explains

In recent weeks, NATO countries (led by the United States as well as former members of the Warsaw Pact) have announced their decision to start urgent supplies of heavy weapons to Ukraine, first of all artillery systems (122-mm, 152-mm and 155-mm trailed and self-propelled howitzers).

There was even a report by Viktoria Nuland regarding plans to supply US-manufactured MLRS (and it cannot be excluded that it might be a 227-mm M142 HIMARS).

Read more: Sweden Could Ttransfer a Batch of 155mm Wheeled Self-propelled Howitzers Archer to Ukraine
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M142 HIMARS / Illustrative photo from open sources

These supplies are connected with persistent Ukraine’s requests about urgent need for heavy artillery and ammunition to stop the major russia’s offensive in the Donbas region. Hence, artillery must play a decisive role there.

NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
M777 / Illustrative photo from open sources

There’s going to be a quite long list of artillery, if you collect all reports about supplying them from NATO countries, namely:

155-mm towed howitzers and self-propelled guns (require units retraining and ammunition supply):

- USA: 90 M777A1/2 towed artillery (in the US Army and Marine Corps there are 1000 units) + 184 000 shells; there’re also 18 units of M109A6 Paladin SPG (900 units in the US Army) + 40 000 shells;

- The Netherlands: up to 24 units of PzH 2000 SPG (18 in the Dutch Army + 38 of them are in storage) + shells from Germany;

- Belgium: up to 24 units of M109A4BE SPG (54 units in storage at private companies);

- Slovakia: 16 units of M2000 Zuzana SPG (in the Slovak Army there are 16 units);

- France: 12 units of CAESAR SPG (77 units in the French Army);

- Canada: 4 units of M777 howitzers (in the Canadian Army there are 37 units) + shells, incl. guided projectiles M982 (Excalibur).

Also, Italy is about to send SPGs to Ukraine, most likely it will be M109L (124 units in storage)

NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
M109L / Illustrative photo from open sources

122-mm and 152-mm howitzers and and SPGs

(which don’t require retraining of units, supply of ammunition is not formally required, but very desirable):

- Poland: 20+ 122-mm Gvozdika SPGs (in the Polish Army there are 292-362 units);

- The Czech Republic: 20+ 152-mm DANA and DANA M2 SPG (in the Czech Army 10 units + 38 in storage);

- Estonia: 9 units of 122 mm D-30 howitzer (42 units in the Estonian Army);

122-mm and 227-mm (?) MLRS:

- Poland: ? 122-mm BM-21 Grad (in the Polish Army there are 75-93 units);

- Czech Republic: 20 units of 122-mm RM-70 Vampire (not available in the Czech Army, 50-60 units are in storage);

- USA: it is possible that it is M142 HIMARS (in the US Army there are 375 units).

Overall, Ukraine will get up to 220-240 howitzers (103 towed howitzers and 116-134 self-propelled guns), as well as more than 30 MLRS. They can form 12-13 divisions of 18 howitzers each or re-equip other units, also over 3 MLRS divisions. This is the armament of 4-6 artillery brigades and a jet artillery regiment. Moreover, up to 70% of the supplied howitzers will be modern western 155-mm systems: 94 units of M777 towed howitzers and 72-90 (?) units of PzH 2000 SPG, CAESAR, Zuzana and M109A6 (?).

NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
PzH 2000 / Illustrative photo from open sources

Pzh 2000 was adopted in 1998. The unit of 5 people, weight 55.3 – tons, barrel length – 52 calibers, firing range – 30-50 km, ammunition – 60 rounds, rate of fire – 10 rounds/min., tracked base, engine – 1000 hp, speed – 67/45 km/h, power reserve – 420 km.

NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
CAESAR / Illustrative photo from open sources

CAESAR was adopted in 2008. The unit of 4-5 people, weight – 17.7 tons, barrel length – 52 calibers, firing range – 42-46 km, ammunition – 18 shots, rate of fire – 6 rounds/min. wheeled chassis 6x6, speed – 80/50 km/h, power reserve – 600 km.

NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
М2000 Zuzana / Illustrative photo from open sources

M2000 Zuzana was adopted in 1997. The unit of 4 people, weight – 28.6 tons, barrel length – 45 calibers, firing range – up to 39.6 km, ammunition 40 shots, rate of fire 6 rounds/min, 8x8 wheeled chassis, 361 hp engine, speed –80 km/h, power reserve – 750 km.

NATO Artillery Comparative Analysis, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
М109А6 / Illustrative photo from open sources

M109A6 was adopted in 1992. The unit of 6 people, weight – 31.5 tons, barrel length – 39 calibers, firing range – 22-30 km, ammunition – 39 shots, rate of fire 4 rounds/min. tracked base, 405 hp engine, speed – 56 km/h, power reserve – 350 km.

Defense Express notes, that according to the numbers of the supplied howitzers and MLRS, NATO countries didn’t feel greedy for their weapons stock. The supply of all these systems will be of great help to the Armed Forces (if delivered and mastered in time). They will play a significant role in deciding the outcome of the battle for Donbas in favor of Ukraine.

Olexiy YAROVYI for Defense Express

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