Croatian Armed Forces have received the first batch of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, coming from the German military surplus.
The Croatian Army showcased its Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers at the repair facility in Jankomir, Croatia. Ultimately 12 vehicles of this type are going to be used by the Croatians, whereas six of them are going to be delivered until the end of the year.
According to the statement made by the commander of the artillery regiment of the Croatian Army, Col. Tomislav Pavičić, introducing the Howitzers into use will make it possible for the Croatian Armed Forces to attain capabilities, level of which could only be compared with some of the best equipped NATO armies. It is stressed that the new artillery systems are capable of destroying targets at distances of up to 40 kilometres, with the use of rocket-propelled or rocket-assisted artillery rounds.
Pavičić mentioned that new ammunition is being developed for the PzH 2000 Howitzers, capable of attaining range of up to 80 kilometres. Most probably he meant the Vulcano precision guided munitions, which – according to Diehl Defence – have an effective range mentioned above. This type of artillery rounds utilizes a double-guidance system, based on GPS and semi-active laser sensors.
The contract, the aim of which is to realize the Croatian procurement of the German self-propelled howitzers, was signed back in 2014. Its value is contained in an amount of EUR 41 million, and the price also includes modernization of the fire-control systems, communications suites and updated software. Everything above is complemented with an additional training package.
During the latest Bundeswehr reform, the target number of the PzH 2000 Howitzers which are being used by the Germans has been reduced from 148 down to 89. In total, the German Army had been using more than 180 howitzers of this type – part of that quantity was decommissioned earlier. The above circumstances made it possible to sell surplus howitzers to Croatia and Lithuania, with the latter country receiving 16 PzH 2000 howitzers in total, 12 of which are going to be used by the combat units.
However, we cannot rule out a situation in which Germany decides to reintroduce some of the decommissioned howitzers back into the active service – similarly as it is going to happen in case of the Leopard 2 tanks remaining in the active service, number of which is going to be increased from 225 up to 328. The action related to the Leopard tanks has been undertaken in the light of the Russian threat, closely related to the Ukrainian crisis.