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155-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer

F-3

The F-3 155-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer on march

Entered service in 1966
Crew  1+7 
Dimensions and weight
Total weight in combat order 17.4 t 
Overall length  6 220 mm 
Chassis length 4 340 mm
Overall width 2 700 mm 
Overall height  2 090 mm
Armament
Main gun M-50 155-mm howitzer
Barrel length 33 calibers
Machine gun -
Traverse range 50 degrees 
Elevation range 0  to + 50 degrees 
Maximum rate of fire 4 rounds/min
Combat load
Machine gun -
Projectile's weight 42.0 - 43.7 kg
Projectile's initial speed 725 m/s
Maximum range of fire  23.3 km
Mobility
Engine power 250 hp. 
Maximum road speed 65 km/h 
Autonomy on roads 300 km 
Maneuverability
Slope 50
Vertical step  0.6 m
Trench  1.5 m
  The F-3 Self-Propelled Howitzer was developed by French "Crezo-Luar" company in 50-ties. It was intended to replace American M41 Howitzers in the French Army. First test vehicle was built in 1962 and artillery unit's serial production began in 1966. Overall number of vehicles ever produced is approximately 600 howitzers. It is in service with French,The F-3 155-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer in combat order Argentina, Chile, Cyprus, Ecuador, Morocco, Sudan, Qatar and Venezuela armed forces.

   Howitzer is based on shortened AMX-13 Light Tank's chassis. Front engine compartment arrangement made possible to place gun at the rear of the hull. Light tank's chassis was slightly modified - the last directing roll sprocket as suspension bearing roll at the same time. In addition two spades were mounted in the rear part to ensure fire stability.

   Self-propelled howitzer is armed with M-50 155-mm Field Howitzer. Aiming device allows to aim gun from 0 to +50 in elevation range. Travers range is 50 (25 to the each side). Main gun is fitted with 33 caliber length barrel.

   Ammunition load consists from modular rounds with high-explosion fragmentation (ordinary and active reaction), smoke, and illumination projectiles. It is able to fire new redeveloped 155-mm projectiles, but with a lower power load.

   During the march howitzer crew is transported separately from artillery unit - in AMX-13VCA Armored Personnel Carrier which also tows two wheel hitch with ammunition load. Self-propelled howitzer is run by a driver, placed in his compartment in the front part of vehicle.

   At the moment F-3 is out-dated artillery unit. A number of improvements are intended to keep howitzer tactical-technical characteristics at the required level. Old engine is replaced with the new "SOFAM" company engine, which is more economical and powerful bThe F-3 155-mm Self-Propelled Howitzer in combat orderoth. Howitzer gun is replaced to 155-mm gun used in TR towed howitzer. It has 39 caliber barrels length, which provides range of fire in 31 km.

   Original F-3 Self-Propelled Howitzer modernization works were made in Argentina, where M-50 Howitzers were disassembled from vehicles and mounted on the towed artillery carriages. In the French Army it was replaced by F-1 GCT Self-Propelled Howitzers.

Advantages

   Powerful artillery gun. The greatest part of mechanisms are interchangeable with the AMX-13 Light Tank.

Disadvantages

   Short autonomy on roads without fuel supply time. Morally out-dated equipment comparing with modern self-propelled howitzers. It is not completed with machine gun to protect from ground and air targets.


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