In a statement, Germany’s Rheinmetall said, it has received a contract to supply a modern 155mm artillery ammunition with increased range to an undisclosed NATO member state. Deliveries will be carried out by its South African subsidiary – Rheinmetall Denel Munition.
Rheinmetall Denel Munition will produce several thousand conventional long-range artillery shells from the Assegai family and modular M92 Assegai tactical payloads that can be used by various types of 155 mm barrel artillery systems. Deliveries have begun from December 2020 and will end by May 2021. The total value of the deal is approximately EUR 25 million.
Incidentally, the contract probably revolves around a relatively small number of missiles, which results directly from Rheinmetall’s earlier announcement in 2019 wherein it had said, it had won an order for “over 32,000” standard DM121 high-explosive shells. This contract was worth 109 million euros and included an option which could further bump it up by 37 million Euros. Incidentally, this contract was for specialized ammunition of increased range, which will probably be used next to the standard high-explosive shell.
Rheinmetall ensures that 155mm Assegai ammunition is adapted to the user-operated barrel artillery systems for maximum efficiency. This modular design allows for simplification of logistics and handling and is also characterized by lower barrel wear, increasing its service life and reduced muzzle flash thus providing better masking.
Of particular note is the increased range of ammunition. In 2019, during the test shooting at the Alkantpan test site in South Africa, soldiers broke several new records regarding indirect artillery fire from various barrel artillery systems. The ammunition with a gas generator reached 47 km when firing from the PzH 2000 howitzer; V-LAP missile ammunition reached 66.9 km. The latter ammunition was also used for firing a gun with a barrel length of 39 calibers, which, which is similar to the PzH 2000, while the one used by NATO JBMoU standard is 53.9 km.
This showcases the benefits of using similar ammunition which can result in increased range of the strike capability of an artillery system.