by Nathan Gain
Sidelined in May 2015 for budgetary reason, the programme to replace Denmark’s ageing self-propelled artillery system has been given a second breath of life. Danish Defence Minister Peter Christensen officially relaunched the acquisition programme on 20th November.
“An efficient and modern artillery is important for the army and the tasks they must solve. Therefore, it has been very important to me to make the decision to initiate the procurement of new artillery for the army,” Christensen said.
On 30th April Denmark’s previous government announced that it was scrapping the tender so that the earmarked funds could be reassigned to the urgent repair of an AW101 Merlin helicopter which was badly damaged in Afghanistan in October 2014. “In this context it has been agreed to cancel the tender and to delay the purchase of new artillery systems for the army as this will help to create financial flexibility,” the ministry of defence had said at the time.
Seven months later the country’s various political parties have finally given their go-ahead to reactivate this programme which should now enter into a pre-qualification phase. Three bidders had been pre-selected in the previous tender: the Elbit/Soltam Systems’ Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS); the Nexter Systems’ wheeled CAESAR; and the tracked Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder.
If Denmark maintains its initial project, the 32 M109A3 155 mm self-propelled howitzers that go back to the 1960s should be replaced by between 15 to 21 155 mm self-propelled systems which could be wheeled or tracked, but have a crew of no more than five, be able to hit a target 40kms away and fire six shells per minute.
Once procured these self-propelled guns will be the basis of the country’s strike force given that in 2008 Denmark got rid of its 12 M270A1 multiple rocket-launchers.