Equipment

Artillery and air defence

Artillery and air defence

Artillery weapons include some of the most potent, sophisticated - and loudest - equipment in the British Army. Field Artillery guns and rocket launchers can bring massive firepower to bear, while sophisticated air defence missiles allow our troops freedom to operate without interference from enemy attack aircraft. 

AS90

Overview

The AS90 is a 155mm self-propelled gun that equips three field regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery.

The AS90 is fitted with a 155mm, 39-calibre gun barrel. In trials, two AS90 guns were able to deliver a total payload of 261kg on to a single target in less than ten seconds.

An automated loading system enables the gun to fire with a burst rate of three rounds in fewer than ten seconds, an intense rate of six rounds a minute for three minutes and a sustained rate of two rounds a minute.

The gun is equipped with a recoil and hydrogas suspension system, which allows the turret to traverse and fire through a full 360°.

Dimensions

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Length

9.07m

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Width

3.5m

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Height

2.49m

Armament

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Main armament

1 x L31 36-calibre ordnance

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Ammunition carried

48 x 155mm rounds

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Secondary armament

1 x 7.62 GPMG on turret

Rate of Fire

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Burst

3 rounds/ 10 sec

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Intense

6 rounds/ min for 3 min

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Sustained

2 rounds/min for 60 mins

Range

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EFFECTIVE RANGE

24.7 km

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Vehicle Range

420 km

Specifications

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Maximum Speed

53 kph

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Crew

5

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Engine

Cummins VTA903T turbocharged V8 660 bhp diesel

AS90 SELF-PROPELLED GUN FIRING

L118 light gun

Overview

The versatile 105mm light gun is used by the parachute and commando field artillery regiments of the British Army.

The light gun can be towed by a medium-weight vehicle or carried around the battlefield underslung by a Chinook helicopter.

Royal Artillery L118 light guns are fitted with an automatic pointing system (APS), which enables the gun to be unlimbered and in action in 30 seconds. APS is based on an inertial navigation system, operated via a touch screen, it replaces the traditional dial sight.

Dimensions

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Length

8.8m

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Width

1.78m

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Height

2.13m

armament

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Ammunition

HE, Smoke, Illumination and Target Marking

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Rate of Fire

6-8 rpm

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Maximum Range

17.2 km (HE)

Specifications

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Combat weight

1858 kg

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Crew

6

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Manufacturer

BAE Systems

Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS)

Overview

The state-of-the-art M270B1 Multiple Launch Rocket System, firing the M31 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) munition, is the mainstay of the British Army's deep and shaping fires capability.

The system provides pinpoint accuracy, delivering a 200 lb high explosive warhead to its target with over twice the range of other artillery systems used by the British Army. The MLRS also represents the bulk of the Army's precision fires capability, with the GPS guidance capability integral to the system and highly accurate beyond 70 KM. 

The weapon system is manned by a small crew of three Gunners and is mounted on a tracked armoured launcher, which is highly robust and manoeuvrable. 

Dimensions

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Length

6.85m

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Width

2.97m

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Height

2.59m

Rate of fire

Rockets: 12 rounds/40 seconds - Missiles: 2 rounds/10 seconds

The GMLRS fires surface-to-surface rockets and the army tactical missile system (ATACMS). Without leaving the cab, the crew of three (driver, gunner and section chief) can fire up to 12 rockets in less than 60 seconds.

The GMLRS launcher unit is loaded with 12 rockets, packaged in two six-rocket pods. The launcher, which is mounted on a stretched Bradley chassis, is a highly automated self-loading and self-aiming system. It contains a fire control computer that integrates the vehicle and rocket-launching operations.

The rockets can be fired individually or in ripples of two to 12. Accuracy is maintained in all firing modes because the computer re-aims the launcher between rounds. 

Specifications

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Vehicle range

640 km

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Max speed

65 kph

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Effective range

70 km

Rapier

Overview

Rapier Field Standard C is a technologically advanced short range air defence system developed by MBDA (previously Matra BAe Dynamics) and is in service with the Royal Artillery.

It is a 24-hour, all-weather guided weapon system with a primary role of providing limited area air defence cover against fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) and cruise missiles.

It has the capability of engaging two targets at once.

Rapier FSC is compact, mobile and air portable, making it suitable for worldwide operations.

Missile

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Missile length

2.25m

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Missile range

500m - 8200m

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Missile weight

45 kg

Radar

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Radar height

3.37m

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Radar range

16 km

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Radar weight

243 kg

Unmanned Air Systems

Desert Hawk

Desert Hawk is an extremely versatile and small Unmanned Aerial System designed for discrete operations.

It is operated normally at the company level but is equally well employed above and below this. It has an extremely good record.

It provides an excellent 'over the hill' view for commanders on the ground.

Tarantula-Hawk

The T-Hawk micro air vehicle, or Tarantula-Hawk, is part of the new Talisman suite of vehicles to counter the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Talisman is the latest weapon to help counter the threat posed by IEDs and mines. The suite of vehicles, operated by the Royal Engineers, is used to help clear routes of IEDs and mines. It was bought as an Urgent Operational Requirement worth more than £180m.

Watchkeeper

Watchkeeper is a tactical Unmanned Aerial System that came into service in 2013. The Watchkeeper air system includes the following features:

  • Dual-payload configuration
  • Flexible, all-weather operation with de-icing capability
  • Improved access to sub-systems for easier maintenance
  • Automatic takeoff and landing

Starstreak high velocity missile

The Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) is designed to counter threats from very high performance, low-flying aircraft and fast 'pop up' strikes by helicopter attacks.

The missile, which travels at more than three times the speed of sound, uses a system of three dart-like projectiles, allowing multiple hits on the target. HVM can be fired from the shoulder, from a lightweight multiple launcher or from the Stormer armoured vehicle.

Shoulder-launched Starstreak and lightweight multiple launcher

The portable shoulder-launched (single missile) Starstreak is assembled and ready to fire in a few seconds. Preparation for firing involves clipping an aiming unit on to the missile canister.

The aiming unit includes an optical head consisting of a stabilisation system, an aiming mark injector and a monocular sight. The target is acquired and optically tracked using the monocular sight and aiming mark.

The lightweight multiple launcher (LML) has an automatic fire unit and can be carried on any light wheeled vehicle, such as a Land Rover.

The multiple launcher employs three canister missiles together with clip-on equipment and a standard aiming unit. Three targets can be engaged in quick succession without the need for reloading.

Starstreak self-propelled high-velocity missile system

The Starstreak SP HVM is mounted on a tracked Stormer vehicle. The system has eight rounds of Starstreak missiles ready to fire, with a further 12 missiles carried.

SP HVM is fitted with a roof-mounted air defence alerting device (ADAD). The ADAD's infrared scanner and processor provide target detection and prioritisation, and the system automatically slews the weapon sight on to the target.

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Missile range

1500m - 5500m

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Flight time

8 seconds

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Guidance

Semi-automatic, line of sight, beam riding

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Time into action

SP - less than 10 seconds to 10 minutes. LML - 2 minutes. Single missile - less than 10 seconds

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Ceiling

1000m