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​The Netherlands Ordered Novel DITA Howitzers For Ukraine, First Presented in 2021

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DITA self-propelled artillery system / Illustrative photo credit: Militaryimages.Net
DITA self-propelled artillery system / Illustrative photo credit: Militaryimages.Net

This practically new 155mm weapon is a cut above Ukraine's traditional 152mm self-propelled artillery in terms of automation

Dutch Ministry of Defense has commissioned production of nine DITA self-propelled artillery systems. This advanced 155mm howitzer is being ordered as part of a broader contract on production of weapons intended for Ukraine.

The deal with the DITA manufacturer, Czech company Excalibur Army, has been announced on the official website of the Dutch defense ministry. The details of the contract, such as the cost of products and deadlines, are not specified.

Read more: Ukrainian Artillerymen Share Details of Archer Self-Propelled Howitzer System's Combat Operations in Donetsk Region (Video)

On a note from Defense Express, the first public appearance of this self-propelled artillery system took place at the IDEX-2021 expo, making it one of the "youngest" weapons in its domain.

There is no publicly available data about any other country having commissioned this howitzer from Excalibur Army, potentially making the Ukrainian Armed Forces the first operator of this system.

The Ukrainian military, on the other hand, has been interested in DITA since 2022, as Defense Express found out from its own sources. Already in May 2022, the talks between officials from Kyiv and Excalibur Army were underway, though all details remained behind closed doors.

A DANA howitzer (left) next to a DITA howitzer (right)
A DANA howitzer (left) next to a DITA howitzer (right) / Photo credit: Militaryimages.Net

The DITA howitzer visually resembles the quite famous DANA series of artillery systems from the same manufacturer, however, it has few distinct and very important novel features, and it's not even about the upgraded 155mm NATO caliber.

The feature of foremost importance is the level of automation it provides to its crew, reducing the number of required personnel down to two people — that is, just as many as needed to operate the RCH 155, a German self-propelled howitzer which is hailed as one of the most advanced and automated of existing artillery systems.

The DITA artillery system is operated from inside the cab
The DITA artillery system is operated from inside the protected cab / Photo credit: Excalibur Army

The DITA's turret is uncrewed, it can reload on its own upon a command from the cabin. The fire control system can receive data directly from reconnaissance aerial drones and offers a choice of the type of munition to load into the gun.

The gun itself is 47 calibers long and fires up to 39 kilometers far. The starting rate of fire is 6 rounds per minute, reduced to 5 rpm for a prolonged firing, maximum ammo in stock is 40 rounds. The howitzer can fold back into travel mode in under 45 seconds.

DITA in deployed stance, its ammunition racks (in the back of the turret) unfolded for reloading of the barrel
DITA in deployed stance, its ammunition racks (in the back of the turret) unfolded for reloading of the barrel / Photo credit: Excalibur Army

The chassis is a wheeled 8x8 Tatra, capable of a top speed of 25 km/h off-road, which will be important for Ukraine's muddy environment, or up to 90 km/h on paved roads, with operational mobility of 600 km.

DITA at the MSPO-2021, September 2021
DITA at the MSPO-2021, September 2021 / Photo by Defense Express
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