The DITA 155mm self-propelled gun howitzer is an artillery system being developed by Czech defence company Excalibur Army to meet modern-day artillery challenges.
Derived from the Tatra 8×8 truck-mounted howitzer designs, the DITA howitzer features a fully automated superstructure, which will increase the rate of fire with only two crew members on board.
The self-propelled howitzer entered the final stage of development with the completion of a functional prototype vehicle in January 2021. The prototype is set to undergo a series of tests to evaluate its performance.
Excalibur Army partnered with EDGE Group, a UAE-based defence technology company, to exhibit its new howitzer at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) 2021 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in Abu Dhabi.
DITA howitzer design and features
The DITA artillery weapon system will have a length of 13.02m, a width of 3.08m, a height of 3.12m and will weigh up to 29t. The fully autonomous superstructure will allow the howitzer to be mounted on different types of wheeled or tracked chassis, while enabling operation by only a two-member crew comprising a driver and commander.
The superstructure will offer an emergency operation workplace to accommodate an additional crew member based on user preference.
The ballistic crew cabin will be equipped with high-performance heating and air-conditioning system and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) filtration system. The cabin will offer STANAG 4569 Level I protection to the occupants.
The DITA self-propelled gun howitzer will be armed with a Nato-standard 155mm L45 gun with a maximum firing range of 39km with high-explosive base bleed (HE BB) shells. The gun will offer a maximum rate of fire of six rounds per minute, while its sustained rate of fire will be five rounds per minute.
Equipped with automatic loading and firing mechanism, the gun can be operated in fully automatic, manual and emergency guiding modes. It can also support different firing modes such as single round, rapid-fire, programmed, as well as multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI).
The gun can rotate through -3°/70° elevation angle and traverse through ±60°. The artillery system can carry 40 rounds of ammunition in conveyors within the turret.
DITA fire control system
The DITA self-propelled gun howitzer will feature a modern on-board control system (OCS), which comprises subsystems of diagnostics, navigation, automatic gun guiding, autonomous calculation of shooting elements as well as ammunition management.
The OCS will ensure the weapon quickly reaches the firing position, completes the mission and leaves the position. Optical sight will be used for aiming the gun in the event of navigation system failure.
The automatic guiding system will allow fast and fully automatic weapon adjustment into fire position. Both OCS and automatic loading device are controlled by M4 control panel, a digital device that helps in indicating all diagnostics data related to the gun and chassis condition. The portable system enables the control of turret outside the cab.
The howitzer will also be equipped with automatic setting of action position ammunition management and inertial navigation system for rapid task execution.
DITA howitzer engine and mobility
DITA will be powered by a Tatra T3C-928-90 engine, which has a maximum power output of 300kW. It will also feature an auxiliary 24V hydraulic power unit, which will serve as the main power source for both weapon system and turret operation.
The power-plant will ensure a road speed of 90km/h and an off-road speed of 25km/h. The maximum cruising range of the vehicle will be 600km.
The howitzer will be equipped with R20 14.00 tyres with central tyre inflation system (CTIS). It can ascend gradients of 30° and side slopes of 15° and will have the capability to negotiate vertical obstacles of 470mm and trenches of 2m. The vehicle can ford water streams with a maximum depth of 1.2m.