Turkey unveiled next-generation 155mm Firtana self-propelled howitzers

The Turkish defense industry took a leap forward this week with the introduction of the next-generation Firtina 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. The unveiling took place at the International Defense Exhibition, IDEF 2023, in Istanbul, at the booth of BMC Defense.

The new generation Firtina, Turkish for “Storm”, was presented following a ceremony held on January 9th, 2023, at the BMC Savunma Arifiye campus where the first six units were delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces. The Firtina is a vital part of the artillery units of the Turkish armed forces and has seen active deployment in operations like Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, Peace Spring, and Spring Shield.

The Firtina is a Turkish-made 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer used by the Turkish Armed Forces. First entering service in the early 2000s, the Firtina was initially produced in a joint venture with South Korea, using the K9 Thunder as a base model but integrating a significant number of changes to suit Turkish requirements.

This next-gen self-propelled howitzer is the product of an ambitious project conducted in collaboration with BMC, ASELSAN, MKE, and ASFAT. In total, 140 new Firtina howitzers are scheduled for delivery to the Turkish Armed Forces.

In a major step toward reducing dependence on imported technologies, BMC POWER has developed a domestic and national engine for the Firtina. The new engine, replacing imported engine and transmission systems, is expected to be integrated in 2025.

The next generation Firtina howitzer features a plethora of advanced design and technological improvements. A redesigned turret with ammunition conditioning sections, a fully electric and servo-controlled turret power system, and an improved shooting control system allow for an increased shooting rate and extended effective range.

The innovative electronically controlled automatic ammunition loading system, previously a semi-automatic feature, is now fully automatic. This updated version of the Firtina also includes a 12.7 mm SARP UKSS produced by ASELSAN, and notably, the capability to fire by direct laying, adding an essential layer of self-protection.

Not only has the Firtina received significant firepower upgrades, but its mobility has also been enhanced. The new howitzer can achieve a maximum speed of up to 65 km/h and is capable of navigating through ditches that are 2.8 meters wide and water bodies with a depth of 1.5 meters.

This next-gen howitzer marks a significant milestone in Turkey’s defense sector, with the Firtina serving as a testament to the country’s growing capacity for domestically produced defense technology.

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