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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is looking to acquire artillery illumination shells for use in the British Army’s L118 105mm Light Gun, detailing its requirements and industry response timelines in a 9 November request for information (RfI).

According to the MoD, the British Army requires a 105mm calibre illumination shell for the L118 to provide illumination in the white visual spectrum in support of the service’s “war fighting division, strike, and armoured infantry brigades, airborne task force, lead commando group and reserve”.

The formations are all part of the British Army’s or UK military’s force structure, providing the basis for response to potential threats, the RfI stated.

Any new illumination shells must be compatible with the current fuze and charges used by the British Army’s 105mm illumination shell (L43), the L163 fuze, and L35, L36 & L45 charges, as well as a in-service L118 Light Gun barrel.

Additional requirements include that fuzed Illumination projectile delivering target effect at a range equal to or greater than 15700m, and after expulsion of the illumination components shall provide Illumination in the visible (0.4 to 0.7μm) spectrum. An industry response deadline was set at 8 December this year.

The British Army’s L118 Light Gun

The L118 105mm Light Gun has been a mainstay in British Army service since its introduction in the 1970s, with 126 units in service as of mid-June this year.

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By GlobalData

With an expected out-of-service date of around 2030, the system is expected to continue to serve the needs of the UK for several more years, with the potential for an extension in service as the ‘artillery star’ continues to rise with such capabilities the decisive factor in the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war.

Showcased in 2022 possible vehicle-mounted use cases of the L118 were demonstrated at the DVD event, which pared the 105mm artillery piece with the HMT 6×6 utility vehicle produced by UK company Supacat, providing a mobile shoot-and-scoot medium-range fires capability.