Mike Evans, Program Director for the 2-CT Hawkeye 105mm self-propelled howitzer announced at the recent UA Artillery Association’s Fires Symposium that one of the systems was secretly provided to the Armed Forces of Ukraine to undergo live operational testing and evaluation on the battlefield in April this year.

The military issues news site Defence Blog reported on Sunday, June 23 that the howitzer, which is mounted on the US M1152A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), was provided to the US Army for testing in 2021. It was first showcased at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi in February 2019.

Miniature but potent firepower

The 2-CT is a modification of the US Army’s M20 105mm caliber howitzer. It uses an innovative hydraulic support system that reduces the normal recoil from the weapon by up to 70 percent which makes it possible to mount it on the flatbed of the HMMWV. It was designed to provide a lightweight alternative with greater capabilities than a 120 mm mortar.

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It was intended as a self-propelled howitzer at an affordable price for foreign export but attracted the interest of the US army as an artillery system suitable for expeditionary forces and other highly mobile light infantry units such as airborne and air assault units. For them, the attraction is its mobility and the capability to quickly carry out high rates of fire rather than the power or firing range offered.

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The CT-2 can be readily transported by helicopters or transport aircraft and is suitable for airdrops by parachute. The Hawkeye artillery system requires very little preparation and is combat-ready almost immediately after deployment.

The advantage of self-propelled artillery compared with towed howitzers, has been more than proven during the war in Ukraine as artillery radars and drones can result in destruction if they don’t move fast enough.

By mounting the howitzer on an HMMWV chassis allows for rapid deployment and withdrawal from a firing position combined with reasonable off road and cross-country mobility.

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While not as destructive as its 155mm big brother the 105mm caliber howitzer can support infantry from beyond the enemy mortar range and compares with Russian self-propelled and towed 122mm systems.

The combination of the standard 105mm caliber with the fully tested chassis has the potential to simplify logistic and maintenance operations in the field and avoids the need for additional training of artillery personnel.

The Elbit systems M121 vehicle-mounted 120mm mortar has a maximum range of 8 kilometers (5 miles) compared with that of the howitzer of around 11 kilometers (7 miles) with standard conventional artillery rounds or 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) with rocket-assisted projectiles, at a rate of fire of 8 rounds per minute from its two-man crew.

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