Machine Design

The Army's next cannon

The army of the near future will have several manned ground vehicles built on a common 20-ton platform, including a self-propelled nonline-of-sight cannon (NLOS-C).

A hybrid drive will move the two-man vehicle-at up to 50 mph on roads and 35 mph across open terrain, and use a laser ignition. The NLOS-C will have a two-man crew, weigh 24 tons at full combat status and drive-by-wire. Plans are for a lightweight metal/composite space-frame hull on a bandtrack suspension.


The cannon will replace or supercede the Crusader, a 40-ton, 155-mm self-propelled howitzer that was terminated before ever being put into full production.

NLOS-C, part of the Future Combat Systems program, is scheduled to start rolling off the assembly line by 2008 and be fully operational in the Army by 2012.

The current design concept includes a 155-mm cannon firing up to 10 rounds/min or sending four to six rounds into trajectories that put all rounds on a single target at the same time. And targets can be up to 18.5 miles away. The tracked vehicle will carry two dozen 100-lb projectiles and the autoloader will have a choice between 90 propellant increments.

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