The Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Ben Wallace spoke about the possibility of providing Ukraine with light 105-mm L118 howitzers in late May, but now the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has said the same. New Zealand will send to Europe instructors who will train the artillery of the Armed Forces to use L118.
The L118 and its American counterpart the M119 are almost the same weapon, but they use different ammunition. The L118 was produced in the UK in 1976-1987, and production of the M119 took place in the United States in 1989-2013. The howitzer is in service with the armies of 18 countries, in the UK itself as of 2017 there are 126 such guns.
An interesting feature of the L118 howitzer is the use of the LINAPS artillery guidance system with three-ring laser gyroscopes to determine the azimuth, and the tilt angle of the barrel. In 2002, the LINAPS system replaced traditional optics. It has its own navigation aids including inertial and GPS positioning. This reduces the time it takes to deploy and attach the gun to the terrain, making it more mobile.
According to Western experts, mobility itself is the main feature of L118, which will allow them to be used more effectively in counter-battery combat. In addition, thanks to the use of cartridge cases, the howitzer has a fairly good rate of fire – 6-8 shots per minute.
On the other hand, the L118 is inferior to 155-mm howitzers both in range and in the destructive power of the projectile. L118 can reach the enemy at a distance of 17.2 km using a conventional projectile and 20.5 km with impulse-reaction projectile. However, the L118 still beats the Soviet 122-mm D-30 and 122-mm 2C1 Msta-C howitzers.
It is still unknown how many L118 howitzers Ukraine will receive, in what timeframe, and how the Ukrainian Armed Forces will use them. But the weapons “zoo” in Ukraine may become a problem in the future. On the other hand, the main thing is that we have this future. So thank you, New Zealand, let’s do more!
And, of course, we wish the artillery success in mastering new weapons (General Zaluzhny says, Ukrainians learn new technology in 2-3 hours) and the destruction of invaders. Let L118 help you with this.
Mass – 1858 kg
Length – 8.8 m
Width – 1.78 m
Height – 2.13 m
Caliber – 105 mm
Barrel length – 37 calibers
Crew – 6 people (normal), 4 people (reduced)
Rate of fire – 6-8 shots per minute
Maximum muzzle velocity – 708 m / s
Maximum firing range – 17,200 m (conventional projectile), 20,600 m (impulse-reaction projectile)