105 LG1 Mk II
|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
Designed specially for rapid deployment units, almost 130 examples of this NATO 105 mm light towed gun has been sold to armies on 3 continents.
The main advantage of the 105 LG1 MkII is its weight, 1 520 kg, making it by far the lightest gun of its category. This lightness in no way alters its robustness and its performances. The gun can be helitransported, airlifted, parachuted, airdropped or towed by a wide range of light 4-wheel drive vehicles. Operated by a five-man gun crew, which can be reduced to three, the 105 LG1 MkII can fire all NATO 105 mm ammunition up to a range of 18.5 km. The rapidity with which it can be put into and brought out of battery (less than thirty seconds) and its firing rate (12 rounds per minute) complete the qualities of this artillery piece.
The 105 mm LG1 Light Gun has been developed by Nexter Systems (previously Giat Industries), as a private venture, specifically for the export market.
By 1987, three prototypes had been built by the Etablissement d'Etudes et de Fabrications d'Armement de Bourges for extensive trials. These were followed by three preproduction weapons.
Late in 1990, following a competition between Giat Industries (now Nexter Systems) with the 105 mm LG1 Light Gun and the now BAE Systems Land Systems of the UK with its 105 mm Light Gun, Singapore placed an order for 37 105 mm LG1 Light Guns. In Singapore the weapons have been issued to two artillery battalions each of which has three batteries with six guns. These were delivered between 1992 and 1993.
Early in 1994, Indonesia placed a firm order with Giat Industries (now Nexter Systems) for 20 105 mm LG1 Mk II Light Guns plus a significant quantity of ammunition and a training package. These were delivered in 1996.
In June 1994, the Public Works and Government Services Canada, on behalf of the Canadian Department of National Defense, placed an order for 28 105 mm LG1 Mk II Light Guns worth CAD18 million. These were delivered between 1996 and 1997.
In early 2000, the Canadian Army deployed its LG1 Mk II Light Guns for the first time when A Battery, 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery deployed six weapons to Bosnia.
Late in 1995, the company was awarded a contract from the Belgian Army for the supply of 14 105 mm LG1 Mk II guns valued at BFr330 million (USD11.5 million).
The LG1 Mk II Light Guns were delivered from late 1996 through to early 1997 and have been issued to two batteries of the Belgian Army with each battery having six guns. The remaining two are used for training/reserve.
Early in 1996, it was announced that Nexter Systems had been awarded a contract from Thailand for the supply of 24 LG1 Mk II guns, which were delivered from late 1996 through to early 1997.
The original LG1 Mk I gun was subsequently replaced in production by the LG1 Mk II weapon which differs from the earlier weapon in having a new autofrettaged barrel to enable it, in the future, to fire ammunition with a higher pressure.
The layout of the recoil mechanism has been improved to allow for easier maintenance and the shield has also been removed to reduce weight.
Nexter Systems has developed a kit which enables existing users of the LG1 Mk I to upgrade these to the latest production LG1 Mk II standard in their own facilities.
Production of the 105 mm LG1 Mk II Light Gun is undertaken at the Nexter Systems facility in Bourges where all French artillery and tank barrels are produced.
The 105 mm LG1 Mk II is now proposed with a 3-D inertial aiming and positioning system and a muzzle velocity radar system. The latter is installed above the ordnance.
When so equipped, the weapon can also be connected up to any type of fire-control system such as the FAST-Hit. This system is claimed to significantly reduce the time required to bring the weapon into action.
Late in 2003, the US AAI Corporation and the now Nexter Systems of France teamed to offer the 105 mm LG1 light gun to meet the possible future requirements of the US armed forces.
Under this agreement, AAI will market a more advanced US-made variant of the 105 mm LG1 light gun. The US already has facilities for the production of 105 mm artillery ammunition but the agreement could be extended to include the more advanced (in terms of range and lethality) of the 105 mm ammunition family developed by the now Nexter. As of early 2008 there were no plans for the LG1 or its ammunition to be manufactured in the US.
The 105 mm LG1 Mk II Light Gun has a split trail carriage and a 30 calibre ordnance that is fitted with a double-baffle muzzle brake. It can be towed with the 105 mm ordnance over the closed trails or with the ordnance deployed in the normal firing position. The operational life of the barrel is stated to be greater than 7,700 full load rounds.
The weapon is fitted with a semi-automatic breech and once the weapon is fired the breech opens automatically and ejects the spent cartridge case. It is then ready for immediate reloading.
The recoil length of the weapon varies as a function of the boresight angle of the gun and according to Nexter Systems a recoil pit does not have to be dug at steep boresight angles. These three anchoring points not only provide stability for the weapon when it is being fired but also allow quick orientation by pivoting the gun around the platform through a full 360°.
When deployed in the firing position, it is supported on its two trails and a circular firing platform that is lowered under the forward part of the carriage.
The 105 mm LG1 Light Gun Mk II can be brought into or taken out of action within 30 seconds. A simple hydraulic system operated by a hand pump assists in opening out the trails. Nexter stress that when bringing the weapon into action there is no part to be assembled or disassembled.
The weapon can be loaded and fired at any elevation from -3 to +70° and also has a direct-fire capability out to 2,000 m.
It does not require a pit to be dug to allow firing at steep angles thanks to an adjustable recoil travel according to barrel elevation. It has a semi-automatically operated vertical breech and automatic ejection of the shell case after firing.
According to Nexter Systems, only two types of ammunition are required to cover ranges between 1.4 and 18.5 km, while the new Nexter Munitions base bleed projectiles cover the ranges from 7.3 to 18.5 km. Nexter Munitions has also proposed a hollow base projectile covering the ranges 2.5 to 15 km.
The Nexter Systems105 mm LG1 Light Gun can be towed by a wide range of light vehicles including an ACMAT (4 × 4) truck, Peugeot P4 (4 × 4), Renault TRM 2000 (4 × 4), Land Rover (4 × 4) and Toyota (4 × 4). It can also be towed by the widely deployed AM General HMMWV (4 × 4). The weapon can be towed in two configurations, either with the barrel folded back over the closed trails or with the barrel deployed in the firing position.
It is fully air-portable slung under a helicopter and four can be transported inside of a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
Nexter is now offering a number of options to the LG1 Mk II light gun to further improve its operational capabilities.
These include the installation of a positioning and north seeking system to reduce the into-action time and increase accuracy, ballistic computer and a muzzle velocity measuring radar system which is mounted above the ordnance.
It has also been disclosed that Nexter Systems has carried out outline studies to further enhance the capabilities of the LG1.
The current LG1 Mk II would be fitted with an inertial 3-D aiming and positioning system and muzzle velocity radar. It can also be connected to the EADS STAREM C3I system. This would be the Mk III.
Further in the future are the Mk IV with automatic aiming and crew reduced to three and the Mk V with all of the earlier improvements plus automatic loading.
It would also be possible the install the weapon on the rear of a truck such as the US AM General High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) (4 × 4) used in large numbers by the US armed forces.
This was phased out of service many years ago but four are still in service with Côte d'Ivoire.