Royal Thai Army modernizes artillery with Nexter LG1 Mk III howitzers


The Royal Thai Army is on the path to modernizing its artillery systems. On November 28, 2020, the army announced it would purcahse 12 LG1 Mk III 105mm towed light guns at a cost of 834,400,000 baht ($26,722,194 or 22,677,763 euros). The contract was awarded to United Defense Technology (UDT) Thailand, the distributor of KNDS (Nexter) Company, France, the manufacturer of the LG1 Mk III. The first batch of six guns was delivered in January 2023, followed by the remaining six in early August 2023.
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The test firing, which took place in September 2023, aimed to determine the muzzle velocity of each gun, an essential parameter for recording the history of the gun (Picture source: Thai MoD)


The test firing, which took place in September 2023, aimed to determine the muzzle velocity of each gun, an essential parameter for recording the history of the gun. Twelve Land Rover Defender 4x4 trucks towed the howitzers to the firing range. Interestingly, the ground of the range was so hard that the arm was not depressed to absorb the recoil. Instead, the gunner stood up to provide weight when firing.

The KNDS (Nexter) LG1 Mk III 105mm light gun is equipped with a digital fire control system and a GPS satellite coordinate system. It also includes a ground temperature measurement system to direct air currents and connect with the Forward Observation Officer (FOO). These features allow the artillery to hit the target accurately with the first shot and quickly and with high precision adjust the trajectory of the projectile.

The Royal Thai Army urgently needs new lightweight 105mm guns to replace a large number of old systems. Among these obsolete systems are the M425 and M618A2 light-towed guns, which are of Thai origin. The Institute of Defense Technology and the Royal Thai Army Artillery Center also launched a joint project to research and develop a lightweight 105mm CS/AH2 cannon.

The LG1 howitzer itself has been operated since the 1990s. The Mark III is the latest digitized variant, benefiting from a firing solutions computer and an INS/GPS positioning system. The Topaz system used by the Polish artillery units may be integrated into Nexter’s LG1.

According to the military balance 2022, the Thai army is equipped with 24 LG1 Mk.II 105mm towed howitzers.

The manufacturer suggests that the design can withstand more than 20 years of service and its endurance, without failure, is defined as 1,500 shots. Meanwhile, the barrel offers an EFC life of up to 7,000 shots. Legacy models of the gun are operated by the French, Belgian, and Canadian armies and five non-NATO states all around the world. They are used by air-mobile units primarily, or by light infantry units that are forced to work in rough terrain conditions.