Armed Forces

Volcano Munitions for Ukrainian Howitzers

Photo. A. Hładij

The Armed Forces of Ukraine decided to procure Vulcano artillery PGMs. This means that the Ukrainian tube artillery assets will be capable of attacking targets at a distance of up to 70-80 kilometers.

The information on the procurement of the Vulcano artillery rounds was published as a part of a summary released by the German government, covering the equipment co-financed by the German government and/or the EU. The release states that the Ukrainians have ordered 255 Vulcano artillery rounds.

Deployment of the Leonardo/Diehl Italian-German Vulcano artillery rounds may be a major boost of firepower for the Ukrainian artillery units. The Vulcano rounds are sabot, extended-range munitions.

Photo. Leonardo

Vulcano GLR is the more advanced variant. The precision strike capability is ensured thanks to the INS/GPS guidance unit coupled with a semi-active laser guidance system utilized in the terminal phase of flight and providing the user with an additional capacity to neutralize moving targets. If a 52-calibre long barrel is used (such as the one in the Caesar, Krab, or PzH 2000 howitzers), the rounds can be used at a distance of 70 to 80 kilometers.

The ammunition in question has been tested already with the PzH 2000 and Caesar howitzers. However, it is compliant with any artillery system that conforms with the NATO JBMoU memorandum - the compatible systems include the Polish Krab, or the US-made M109 systems as well. If a 39 calibre-long barrel is used (M109, M777, Italian FH-70 systems), the maximum range is defined as 55 kilometers. The explosive charge weight is lower than in the case of a conventional 155 mm round. The round is faster, it also features (in the GLR variant) a programmable fuse, enhancing the round's lethality.

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A simpler variant of the Vulcano round designated BER (Ballistic Extended Range) is also available. It does not feature a guidance module. It has a range of 50 kilometers for 52-calibre long barrels, and 36 kilometers, for a 39-calibre long barrel. It remains unclear as to which variant the Ukrainian Armed Forces would receive. Many signs suggest that the GLR rounds are going to be delivered.

Vulcano would be yet another type of artillery PGMs in Ukraine, following the German-made SMArt anti-tank rounds, Swedish-French BONUS anti-tank rounds, and the US-made Excalibur PGM, utilizing a GPS/INS guidance unit, similar to Vulcano.

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The round has not yet been commissioned in the German military, so, most probably, it would go through its baptism of fire in Ukraine. Vulcano's capabilities would make it possible to precisely attack targets at a distance of 70 kilometers if no GMLRS-equivalent firepower is required. The new munitions may be viewed as another, yet necessary reinforcement of the Ukrainian artillery.