Turkey's YAVUZ 155mm Wheeled Howitzer Enters the Race: Brazil Eyes New Artillery Acquisition

In January 2022, the editorial team at Army Recognition reported that Brazil had initiated a new acquisition program to acquire 36 wheeled self-propelled howitzers. Citing a tweet published by "International Defence Analysis" on August 10, 2023, it appears that Turkey is now one of the contenders, offering its locally-made YAVUZ 155mm 6x6 self-propelled howitzer, designed and developed by the company MKE.
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Turkish-made YAVUZ 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The Brazilian Army is on the hunt for a swift, deployable mobile artillery system with capabilities to strike targets up to 40 km away. The aim is to outfit three core units: the Artillery Division and Mechanized Brigade companies.

In earlier reports from Army Recognition, two leading companies had stepped up to meet Brazil's requirements. These include France's Nexter Systems, renowned for their CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer in both 6x6 and 8x8 configurations, and Israel's Elbit Systems, the makers of ATMOS 2000.

Presently, the Brazilian Army's arsenal lacks wheeled self-propelled howitzers. Data from the Military Balance 2021 indicates their artillery inventory encompasses 1,407 weapons, among which are 24 M109A3 and 24 M109A5+ 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers. These tracked variants, predominantly employed by armored mechanized units, boast high protection levels and are adept for diverse terrains. On the other hand, wheeled self-propelled howitzers are notably lighter, offering rapid deployment capabilities, especially via military aircraft, coupled with enhanced mobility and streamlined logistics.

The YAVUZ 6x6 155mm, produced by Turkish defense manufacturer MKE, is a contemporary self-propelled howitzer that combines firepower, mobility, and adaptability. Its design, with a 155mm/52 caliber gun, aligns it with current artillery systems, with the 52-caliber barrel indicating a mix of range and compactness.

The YAVUZ measures 10.8 m in length, 2.6 m in width, and 4.1m in height. It's relatively light for its class, weighing in at 32 tons. This weight, combined with its size, suggests a design focus on a balance between firepower and mobility.

Performance-wise, its on-road top speed stands at an impressive 90 km/h with an operational range of 600 km. It has a fire rate of 4-6 rounds per minute and carries 18 rounds of ammunition. The YAVUZ's range varies based on the ammunition type, reaching up to 40 km with the MOD 274. The elevation and traverse capabilities indicate flexibility in various firing scenarios.

Its loading mechanism combines manual and semi-automatic operations, possibly to enhance reliability while keeping the system simpler. Powering the YAVUZ is a Euro 5 Diesel engine, suggesting attention to emission standards and fuel efficiency. In terms of terrain capabilities, it can ford up to 1 m of water, cross trenches of 0.45 m, and climb gradients of the same depth.

Defense News August 2023