Washington D.C. -- General Dynamics European Land Systems, Vienna, and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Munich, are presenting the autonomous and remotely operated DONAR prototype at the 2009 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition.
The DONAR is a new world-class, self-propelled, tracked, airborne-capable, fully automated self-propelled howitzer (155/52 cal.) featuring operation by a two-man crew (driver + commander), all-terrain mobility, long range and precise firing capability. The mission spectrum of the DONAR ranges from classic artillery fire support missions to active field protection and is designed to replace legacy systems (e.g. M-109, AS90, K9, etc.) in service with modern armies. The system addresses the growing need for precise indirect fire capabilities that can augment or even replace close-air-support operations previously conducted by costly fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft.
John C. Ulrich, president of General Dynamics European Land Systems, and Frank Haun, president and CEO of KMW, said, “Our companies are proud to present this common project at the 2009 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition after its unveiling in Europe back in 2008. Since then our engineers have continued to develop, test and enhance the DONAR’s capabilities. As a result of this joint effort we show now an advanced system ready to meet the present and future requirements of Field Artillery all across the mission spectrum.”
DONAR provides capabilities that will change conventional artillery doctrine by reducing crew and logistics requirements, and providing for autonomous operations. The prototype displayed at the AUSA Meeting and Exposition, Washington D.C., has already undergone rigorous mobility and fire trials at the test facility of the German procurement agency BWB (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung), including Smart Camp Defence trials.
Unique system features: one solution
DONAR possesses multiple features that are unique to the worldwide artillery community.
Air transportability - The total systems weighs less than 32 metric tons, allowing it to be transported in the future Transport Aircraft A400M or similar aircraft with payload capacities in this class.
Autonomous operation - The completely remotely operated artillery module is equipped with a 155mm (52 cal.) cannon, giving it the advanced fire power of a PzH2000. DONAR’s maximum range amounts to more than 56 kilometers (vlap). Its on-board ammunition supply includes 30 fuzed 155 mm shells and a corresponding number of charge modules. Despite a marked reduction in weight and size, the gun module is operational without any additional stabilization and provides a 360-degree azimuth range. In addition, the autonomous system character of DONAR allows a consistent step toward networked, centralised command and control (network centric warfare).
High mobility & survivability - The system possesses the high mobility of an Infantry Fighting Vehicle, derived from an artillery-version ASCOD 2 chasis. Separated from the automatic gun module, a crew of only two soldiers (driver and commander) operate the system from a highly protected driver cabin, increasing survivability and allowing for extremely rapid fire and movement manoevers. The system's survivability is enhanced by both its low silhouette and from the cabin's protection against ballistic impact and shell fragments from artillery and mortar ammunition – the cabin meets a very high NATO protection standard.