The Rascal light self-propelled 155mm howitzer.
The Rascal light self-propelled gun howitzer is a highly mobile, long-range, high-speed, lightweight artillery system, manufactured by Soltam Ltd of the Koor Industries Group based in Haifa, Israel.
Soltam has developed a family of artillery systems, including mortars, mortar ammunition, and towed and self-propelled howitzers. The Rascal is the most compact and lightest of the range of Soltam self-propelled 155mm howitzers, which includes the 20t Rascal, the 60t Slammer based on a modified Merkava chassis and turret, the M72 howitzer based on a modified Centurion chassis and the early L33 howitzer based on the Sherman M4A3E8 chassis.
The mobilisation of rapid reaction forces leads to the requirement for air transportation of artillery systems. The small size and weight of the Rascal allows transportation by sea, railway, truck and air including transportation by relatively small cargo aircraft such as the C-130 transporter.
The Rascal’s low weight of 20t and compact design eliminates the need for tank transporters and also allows the deployment of the vehicle in operational areas where access to larger vehicles is impeded, for example through narrow urban streets, narrow mountain roads, narrow bridges and tunnels.
The choice of a tracked drive, together with the high power to weight ratio, provides high on-road speed and good tactical mobility for off-road, difficult cross-country missions, including over desert and mountainous terrain.
The high manoeuvrability of the tracked vehicle with hydraulic power steering also provides the important capability of fast and easy entry to and exit from confined spaces in the battlefield.
The hull of the Rascal is of all-welded steel armour construction. The driver’s station is located at the front of the vehicle on the left. The crew of three plus the driver are protected from small arms fire and shell splinters.
The crew compartment is in the central section of the vehicle. Hinged armoured shutters, installed over the driver’s windows and the crew observation windows, are closed when the vehicle is in the combat zone. The vehicle can be equipped with night vision systems as an option, according to customer mission requirements.
Rascal is available with a 39 or 52-calibre 155mm gun. The gun is mounted on an hydraulically driven turntable at the back of the vehicle. The azimuthal traverse of the gun is 30° and the elevation is from -0° to +65°. The elevation and traverse are powered hydraulically. A loader assist device is pneumatically energised. The gun is fitted with a pneumatic rammer.
To prepare the vehicle for firing, two hydraulically operated spades are lowered into position to stabilise the vehicle. After firing the blades are retracted.
The vehicle carries up to 36 projectiles, stored base downwards in the projectile racks on either side of the gun. The charges are carried in a fire proof armoured ammunition store in front of the gun. The gun can accommodate a wide range of 155mm ammunition.
The engine compartment is on the left hand side of the vehicle behind the driver’s station. The vehicle has a diesel engine, automatic transmission, hydraulic power steering and a high-performance braking system.
The Rascal is a tracked vehicle with six double road wheels with rubber tyres on each side. The large drive sprocket is clearly visible to the front of the first road wheel and the idler wheel is at the back. An hydraulically driven winch is installed at the centre front of the vehicle.
Soltam has developed a new 155mm 52-calibre artillery truck mounted gun howitzer, known as the SPWH 2052 (Atmos 2000), based on the Rascal. The SPWH 2052 is an advanced concept of long-range, light self-propelled wheeled artillery system, with ammunition loading systems and autonomous operation capabilities.
Atmos 2000 155mm Howitzer
The Atmos 2000 52 calibre 155mm self-propelled artillery system.
The SPWH 2052 is a hybrid of the TATRA T815 VVN 6×6 wheeled truck chassis, with a 155mm 45/52-calibre long-range gun that is equipped with the latest c3 system including on board computation, inertial navigation and aiming systems, and easy ammunition handling system.
The platform carries 32 projectiles and propelling charges, as well as the gun’s crewmembers, their equipment and all the logistics. While firing, the SPWH 2052 is supported by rear spades. Firing loads are transferred directly to the ground, without harming the vehicle chassis.
This system can mount either a 45-calibre barrel, or a 52-calibre barrel to reach 39km or 41km respectively. All types of 155mm ammunition in use worldwide are authorised for fire. The auxiliary engine enables easy handling for deployment and ammunition handling. As a result, the SPWH 2052 is fully operable by four crew members.
The SP gun is equipped with inertial navigation and aiming systems, which also commands and controls the elevation and traversing gears, giving the SPWH 2052 autonomous operation and "automatic laying" capabilities. It has a total weight of 18,000kg.
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