The FH70 (field howitzer for the 1970s) is a towed howitzer in use with several nations.

Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1978
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Estonia View
Germany View
Italy View
Japan View
Lebanon View
Malaysia View
Morocco View
Netherlands View
Oman (Muscat) View
Saudi Arabia View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
Norway View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering View
Rheinmetall View
Oto Melara View
Japan Steel Works View

In 1963 NATO agreed a NATO Basic Military Requirement 39 for close support artillery, either towed or tracked. Subsequently Germany and UK started discussions and design studies and in 1968 established agreed operational characteristics for a towed 155 mm close support gun. Italy became a party to the agreement in 1970.

Key requirements were:

  • a detachable auxiliary power unit (APU)
  • an unassisted range of 24 km and 30 km assisted
  • a burst capability of 3 rounds in 15–20 seconds, 6 rounds per minute for a short period and 2 rounds per minute sustained
  • be able to fire all 155 mm munitions in NATO service, plus a new range of ammunition.

The two national authorities had overall responsibility for R&D, and Vickers Ltd was the co-ordinating design authority. They were also the design authority for the carriage and Rheinmetall GmbH was the authority for the elevating mass, including the sights, and for the APU. There was a further breakdown at a more detailed level and production worksharing. The UK Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE) was responsible for designing the HE projectile and the charge system. Germany was responsible for Smoke, Illuminating, Minelet and extended range HE, although development of the last two was not completed in the program.

The intention was for FH70 to replace the M114 155 mm howitzer and equip general support battalions in German divisional artillery regiments and to equip three (two Territorial Army (TA)) British general support medium regiments replacing the 5.5-inch gun. In the event, it actually equipped UK regular regiments in direct support of infantry brigades until after the end of the Cold War, and only replaced the L118 light gun in two TA regiments, 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery and 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) from 1992 to 1999.

Type Howitzer
Place of origin  UK, Germany, Italy
Service history
In service 1978–present
Used by Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Saudi Arabia,Lebanon, Morocco, Estonia,Norway, Netherlands, Oman,Malaysia
Production history
Manufacturer VSEL, Rheinmetall, OTO Melara, Japan Steel Works(Licensed production)
Weight 7,800 - 9,600 kg
(17,196 - 21,164 lbs)
Length Travel: 9.8 m (32 ft 2 in)
Barrel length 6 m (19 ft 8 in) L/39
Width Travel: 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)
Height Travel: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Crew 8
Caliber 155 mm (6.10 in)
Carriage Split trail, sole plate, auxiliary power unit and hydraulics
Elevation -5° to +70° or -100 to +1,250 mils
Traverse 56°or 500 mils left and right
Rate of fire Burst: 3 rounds in 15 seconds
Sustained: 3-6 rpm
Muzzle velocity 827 m/s (2,713 ft/s)
Effective firing range 24 - 30 km (15 - 18 mi)
depending on ammo

End notes