AS90 or PzH 2000?

Total artillery neophyte; was trying to scope out the relative worth of the British AS90 and its German counterpart when I came across this post on

A while back I got a chance to get a tour and demonstration of the both of these selfpropelled 155 mm howitzers and I thought I would share my thoughts on them and what I was told by their respective crews.

First on the PanzerHaubits. The German army's new macho toy
I got a "dry" demonstration of it's advanced automated shell loading system and was quite impressed. It seemed fast, robust and is reliable according to the crew. Naturally you can load it manually as well in case the automated system is damaged. The system works so that you put the rounds in a cradle on the outside aft part of the vehicle and punch a couple of buttons, what kind of grenade it is etc and anter. The grenade is then "sucked inside" and put in a storage rack with impressive speed. When you want to fire later on you specify the grenade type on a touch screen and the computer remembers where those are in the racks and loads it.
The vehicle also seemed well thought out and the aft compartment was pretty spacious so you could move around with ease, very important in order for the crew to function at their best.
Another good feature is the consol for angaging targets directly which is located pretty far forward in the vehicle. This consol, normally unmanned, had a screen, some buttons and a, from the looks of it, pretty advanced joystick.
I also took a good look around inside and noted that everything seemed robust and sturdy, even wiring and electric equipment for which notoriously civilian standards are used. Not here, good solid military style.
The driver place was likewise a place where functionality had taken the upper hand. Comfortable with a high tech steering wheel and vehicle control panel.
It also has got attachment points for add-on armour on the outside which shows there has been some planning ahead done.
So all in all I liked this very much and so did the crew, they had yet to manage to get it to break down or get stuck somewhere despite their best tries. The 1000hp engine does a good job albeit a bit loud.

Now to the AS 90 Braveheart. The British army's new howitzer.
This design is a few years older than that of the Panzerhaubitz and I was naturally prepared on that it would seem slightly older to the eye but I had some surprises in store for me, both good and bad.
But more on that later on. First let me tell you on my first impression of it. When I first got inside the first you think is "this is much smaller". My best estimate is that there was only half as much crewspace as in the PzH. I got the feel that this was less well thought out as well and even the seats felt uncomfortable (and I was used to riding around in a very archaic terrain vehicle with less comfort than a Willy's Jeep).
What is also striking is also the fact that it has no automated loading system so everything is done manually. This is cheaper and less space consuming but also slower than an automated system despite what some people thinks about those. The electronic consols seemed more modern than I had anticipated but the rest of the vehicle lived up to my imagination and in one case shocked me. That is, I can swear that NBC system consol must have been salvaged from a Centurion tank from the fifties. It was simply as WWII as you can get today. I asked a guy in the crew about it and he said "you know, I've been thinking the same thing myself".
The paint coats on the metal parts on the inside was thick and with the kind of paint you see on old industry equipment which gave it an archaic feeling. I asked about how durable the vehicle was on the inside and was told that below kneelevel you could spray the dirt off with a high-pressure water wash but above that the equipment was sensitive which I had already suspected seeing the thin and obviously week wiring much more "civilian" in standard than on the PzH.
The engine is quiter on the AS90 for a simple reason. It has got 400 hp less than the PzH despite just beeing a few tonnes lighter. This 600 hp engine is thus insufficient and besides the lower speed the crew had managed to get this vehicle stuck a few times.
No attachment points for add-on armour here.
So to summarise I was a bit disappointed by it.
However, in all fairness it should be mentioned that one AS90 Braveheart costs about half of what one PanzerHaubits costs. I do think the extra cost is justified though.

That's it!
Comments from anyone?
Fairly damning; is Germany's equipment really that much better than ours? (Post is from 2002.)
There have been varous reports from NL and GE users in Afg that PzH availbility is not all it should be. Conversely in 2001 in Iraq AS90 demonstrated the highest availability of any UK AFV, it does the job.

Cbt weight of PzH is 60 tonnes and it carries 60 rds, AS is 48 tonnes and carries 48 rds. When empty PzH will seem a lot more spacious because it is bigger.

AS90 is not entirely manual, shells can be loaded entirely automatically from the magazine and primers are in a primer magazine. My understanding is that like AS90 not all PzH onboard shells are in the magazine and some have to be handled. PzH does not have fully auto cartridge loading the only gun that goes anywhere near this is the latest version of the French AUF, auto loading carts means preparing and loading the right charge by machine. AS90 and PzH use the same propelling charges and the actual charge is prepared manually. PzH merely loads it into the breech mechanically once its been manually prepared. Over engineering is one view of this, the benefits are not obvious given the need to manually prepare the charge.

SP arty mobility is governed by what the ammo vehicles can do, it is not like a tank where tactical mobility is critical. This means SP arty does not need tank like mobility, giving it replects a lack of system thinking, again over engineering. Tanks get bogged if you drive them in the wrong place.

The AS90 paintwork probably reflects paint jobs in barracks over the manufacturer's original. Both use electrical connectors and the like to the same standard, similarly electronic box seals will be the same.
Another alternative, but obviously not NATO.
The G6 self-propelled howitzer is a South African artillery piece, developed around the ordnance of the G5 howitzer. It is one of the most powerful self-propelled guns on a wheeled chassis.
In addition to the logistical mobility afforded by a wheeled chassis, the G6 is protected against counter battery fire and is able to defend itself in an unsecured area.
The chassis is mine-protected. The G6 is produced in South Africa by the Land Systems division of Denel. It entered production in 1987.

More G6 howitzer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You have to be joking, its big, its unstable (it has outriggers and a hydraulic spade under the hull) it has restricted traverse. No doubt it looks impressive on parade, and is therefore wonderful for asphaltenplatz armies, for armies that take their job seriously, nope.
The 9 mile sniper seems to have done it's job just fine over the years, it's not supposed to be a comfortable family car, it's a chunk of metal that lobs other chunks of metal and explosives at people and it does it rather well.
as90 has gone to war
Hermans version has stayed home it might be better but it doesnt go anywhere so what?
Hermans version has stayed home it might be better but it doesnt go anywhere so what?
Not sure that that's true. I think Herman has some in Afg. The cloggies definitely had a couple, I heard they took 30 minutes to respond to a call fo fire, first they had to move the gun out of the shed where they had to keep it in the shade, then they had to fire a couple of warming rounds somewhere safe (it seems the cold gun/barrel memory effect is a serious problem), after all this could get around to actually attacking the target. It's weight meant it did lots of harm to what passes for a road thereabouts.
AS 90 has proven credentials , and recognised weaknesses , mainly its gutless powerpack,, German thingymajig may well be an improvement in many aspects but it wont be involved in any nastiness, like a lot of German gear, it stays clean and remains reliable,,, our kit gets used and abused , we exercise more , longer and harder, then it goes to war . The Bundeswehr doesnt have the political mandate , their kit just isnt used as robustly as ours , no wonder its reliable , its still in its grease packing , all being well the spineless German politicians will get involved more on the world stage and start firing its guns instead of smiling and writing cheques,,,,,,but first ve must save Ze eurozone, Jawohl.
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