South Korean company Hyundai Rotem has put forward a proposal to develop a new 8×8 fire support vehicle in Poland. This innovative vehicle will be based on the chassis of the newly designed N-WAV (Next Generation Wheeled Armored Vehicle). A key feature of this proposed vehicle is the integration of an Italian Leonardo Hitfact MK2 turret, which can be equipped with either a 105 or 120mm cannon, showcasing a blend of South Korean and Italian defense technology.
A wheeled armored vehicle equipped with a 105 or 120mm cannon is a significant asset in modern warfare, primarily due to its blend of firepower and mobility. The presence of wheels, as opposed to tracks, endows these vehicles with superior on-road speed and a longer operational range. This makes them particularly effective in scenarios that require rapid deployment and redeployment, allowing forces to respond quickly to evolving battlefield situations.
The firepower provided by a 105 or 120mm cannon makes these vehicles formidable against a range of targets. They can engage enemy armored vehicles, including tanks, with high effectiveness, especially when equipped with modern anti-tank rounds. Additionally, these cannons can be used for direct fire support roles, providing ground troops with heavy firepower against fortified positions or in urban combat scenarios.
Another advantage of wheeled vehicles is their reduced maintenance requirements compared to tracked vehicles. This aspect translates into higher availability rates and lower logistical burdens, crucial factors in sustained military operations. Furthermore, the ability to travel significant distances without transporters enhances strategic and tactical flexibility.
The development of a new generation fire support vehicle, which combines the South Korean N-WAB wheeled chassis with the Leonardo Hitfact MK2 turret, marks a significant advancement in military technology. This combination promises to deliver a vehicle that not only offers a high level of protection and mobility but also boasts the firepower of a tank. This is primarily due to its capability to be equipped with either a 105 or 120mm cannon.
The N-WAV has a gross vehicle mass of less than 35 tonnes and is powered by a 700 hp engine. This setup results in an efficient power-to-weight ratio of 20 hp/t. The vehicle is equipped with double wishbone-type independent suspensions, which include spring coils and dampers for enhanced stability and maneuverability. Additionally, the 700 hp engine is paired with an automatic transmission system that offers seven forward gears and one reverse gear, facilitating smooth and responsive vehicle control.
The Leonardo Hitfact MK2 turret, a key component of this new vehicle, is not new to the battlefield. It is already in service with the Italian army, mounted on the Centauro 2 vehicle. This weapon system is renowned for its firepower, which is comparable to that of most modern main battle tanks. It is capable of firing the latest generations of 120 mm NATO APFSDS and multi-role MP munitions, making it a formidable force in combat.
The HITFACT® MkII, which is NATO-qualified and currently in production, represents the latest in military technology in terms of firepower, connectivity, and survivability. As the newest model in the HITFACT family, with over 500 units already in service worldwide, the MkII distinguishes itself with its fully digital optronic sensor suite, enhanced survivability features, and electric turret drives. These advancements ensure high levels of safety and performance.
One of the most notable features of the turret is its flexible design, which allows integration with either 105/52 mm rifled or 120/45 mm smoothbore low recoil force guns. This flexibility enables the use of any NATO standard ammunition, including the latest kinetic energy and multipurpose rounds. The turret can also be customized based on user requirements, with options for integration with command and control systems, navigation, and net-centric communications. These additions are aimed at enhancing situational awareness.
The armored vehicle fitted with the HITFACT turret has a crew of two or three personnel, depending on user requirements, and includes an automatic ammunition loading system. The main armament options include a 120/45 mm or a 105/52 mm cannon, complemented by auxiliary armament choices such as a 1×7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, a Remote Weapon Station HITROLE®, and options for an external 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun. Additionally, the vehicle is equipped with smoke grenade launchers featuring 8 dischargers.
In terms of ammunition, the vehicle is compatible with all standard NATO munitions as per STANAG 4385 and STANAG 4458. It also features an anti-blast ammunition compartment, separate from the crew area, with both manual and automatic loading systems.
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