TechTrial by fire: America's ultralight Hawkeye Howitzer tested in Ukraine

Trial by fire: America's ultralight Hawkeye Howitzer tested in Ukraine

An ultra-light 2-CT Hawkeye 105 mm howitzer mounted on a HMMWV off-road vehicle chassis.
An ultra-light 2-CT Hawkeye 105 mm howitzer mounted on a HMMWV off-road vehicle chassis.
Images source: © Youtube | AM General
Przemysław Juraszek

23 June 2024 09:12

Many arms companies worldwide note that the war in Ukraine is an ideal testing ground for new weaponry. One exciting piece of equipment is the American ultralight 2-CT Hawkeye howitzer from AM General, which has entered combat testing. We explain this weapon.

In a speech at the Fires Symposium, programme director Mike Evans from AM General confirmed that in April, the ultralight 2-CT Hawkeye howitzer was sent to Ukraine, which is currently being tested in wartime conditions.

This artillery system is characterised by having the weakest recoil in the world, mounted on an HMMWV bed. It is a 105 mm calibre howitzer with significantly greater capabilities than 120 mm calibre mortars.

The 2-CT Hawkeye howitzer - powerful firepower in a miniature form

The 2-CT Hawkeye howitzer from AM General is a creative application of the well-known US Army 105 mm calibre M20 howitzer on a unique base equipped with solutions that reduce recoil by up to 70 percent. This allows for firing from the HMMWV vehicle after deploying hydraulic supports, creating a self-propelled system conceptually similar to the Caesar.

This is a massive improvement over towed howitzers, which the war in Ukraine has shown to be very vulnerable to destruction. When the enemy has artillery radars and drones, staying in a firing position even a few minutes too long can be deadly for the crew.

Russians can use cluster munitions to attack detected firing positions, and the best form of protection against them is simply disappearing from the area. This is what mounting the howitzer on an HMMWV chassis allows when occupying and leaving a firing position, which takes much less time than with towed solutions such as the M777.

Regarding firepower and range, the 105 mm calibre howitzer offers substantial benefits over the 120 mm calibre mortar. The most significant advantage is the ability to shoot even up to 11 kilometres using the simplest shells or 15 kilometres with rocket-assisted shells. Meanwhile, the maximum range for the 120 mm calibre mortars is about 8 kilometres for regular shells or slightly over 10 kilometres for rocket-assisted ones.

This means that the 105 mm calibre howitzer can support infantry from beyond the enemy mortar range and, with the proper ammunition, offers a comparable range to Russian 122 mm systems. The rate of fire of this ultralight howitzer is a maximum of 8 rounds per minute, and just two soldiers can operate it.

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