Hawkeye is a lightweight mobile weapon system (MWS) developed by AM General in collaboration with Mandus Group. It integrates an M20 105mm cannon aboard the M1152A1 HMMWV (Humvee) platform.
The self-propelled howitzer is designed to defuse and destroy both land forces and fortifications in either indirect or direct fire mode.
Hawkeye howitzers are in service with the US Armed Forces. AM General unveiled the Humvee-based Hawkeye MWS at the AUSA 2016 defence exhibition. The howitzer was also exhibited at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) show in Abu Dhabi in February 2019.
The Illinois Army National Guard deployed Hawkeye systems during a simulated drill conducted at Camp Grayling in July 2019.
Hawkeye mobile weapon system design and features
Hawkeye mobile weapon system is based on a Humvee vehicle, which features a forward crew cab and a rear cargo platform mounted with the 105mm howitzer.
The MWS integrates hybrid soft recoil technology, which ensures lower carriage loads, resulting in up to 50% lighter carriage structures when compared to conventional recoil systems. The recoil technology also allows the weapon to match the characteristics of the vehicle.
A vertical sliding breech block at the rear of the carriage structure ensures uninterrupted loading and firing of standard Nato 105mm rounds in all elevations and traversing conditions. The Hawkeye 105mm howitzer is operated by a crew of four and can be prepared for firing in less than two minutes.
The compact design of the Hawkeye MWS enables a small logistic footprint. The weapon system requires lower maintenance costs as its critical components or assemblies can be replaced at the unit level.
The M20 105mm cannon of the Hawkeye MWS is mounted on a circular platform for 360° firing. Equipped with a digital fire control system, the elevation and azimuth angles of the cannon are electronically controlled.
The 105mm gun can fire high-explosive and illumination rounds, rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP), high-explosive performed fragmented (HEPF) rounds, and smoke cartridges.
Two hydraulic jacks at the front and two large spades at the rear of the vehicle are lowered on the surface to make the system ready for firing. Hawkeye’s shoot-and-scoot capability enables the crew to escape from counter-battery fire and other aggressive and offensive actions by hostile forces.
The gun system offers a range of 11.6km with standard ammunition and 19.5km with rocket-assisted projectiles. It ensures a maximum range of 2,000m with direct fire rounds. The maximum rate of fire is eight rounds a minute for three minutes, while the sustained rate of fire of the gun is three rounds a minute.
Fire control system of Hawkeye 105mm howitzer
Hawkeye howitzer’s digital fire control system integrates an LN-270 inertial navigation system (INS), an MVR-700C muzzle velocity radar system, a DFS-02 direct fire camera system, an S67-1575-76 GPS antenna, and a DK10 gunner’s display unit (GDU).
The MWS also features an optical fire control unit equipped with M187A1 telescope mount carrying an M137A2 panoramic telescope.
Engine and mobility
The HMMWV platform is powered by a V8, 6.5l turbocharged diesel engine, which develops a power output of 190hp (142kW) at 3,400rpm. The engine is coupled to a GTP four-speed automatic transmission.
The vehicle offers a maximum speed of 113km/h and a cruising range of more than 400km. It delivers superior off-road mobility over different terrain types to support multiple firing missions. The Humvee vehicle can negotiate grades of 40% and side slopes of 30%. Its angle of approach and departure are 48º and 39º, respectively.