The Soltam Systems L-33 Self-Propelled Artillery vehicle was built upon the chassis of the World War 2-era American M4 Sherman Medium Tank.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Israeli Defense Force image archives.
Israeli Army ingenuity showed through with their Soltam L-33 "Ro'em" when there proved a need for an indigenous Self-Propelled Artillery (SPA) system. Design work began in the late 1960s and took the existing chassis of the American World War 2-era M4 Sherman Medium Tank and added a new, fixed hull superstructure with a Cummins diesel engine. The result was a serviceable 10-ton vehicle mounting a powerful 155mm howitzer. First combat service was with the Israeli Army during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and additional service in the 1982 Lebanon War. It is estimated that some 200 vehicles were produced in all though they are no longer in active service with the Israeli military.
The "L-33" designation stems from to the main gun's 155mm "L/33" caliber.
The L-33 featured a Soltam Systems-developed 155mm M68 field gun with the weapon modified to fit in to the L-33 vehicle scheme. The mounting hardware allowed for traversal of +30 degrees two either side from centerline as well as +52 to -4 degrees elevation. Lacking a turret, the entire vehicle was turned to face target areas outside the traversal reach of the weapon proper. The gun was capable of reaching out to 12.4 miles unassisted and projectiles and charges are handled separately with 60 x 155mm projectiles are carried aboard (16 "ready-to-fire"). The gun held the inherent ability to fire standard NATO munitions including High-Explosive (HE), anti-personnel, illumination, and smoke rounds as needed. During travel, the barrel was clamped against the vehicle by way of a brace found along the glacis plate when in travel mode. Rectangular doors along the sides of the boxy superstructure gave the gunnery crew entry and exit into the main fighting cabin. The driver was positioned at front-left of the hull. Roof hatches provided further access to the outside as well as direct management of the included 7.62mm air defense / anti-infantry machine gun fitted at front-right. 1,000 x 7.62mm rounds of ammunition were typically carried for the roof machine gun.
The drive component of the vehicle was a Cummins VTA-903 V8 diesel-fueled engine of 460 horsepower at 2,600rpm. This provided the L-33 with a road speed of 36kmh and range out to 260km. Dimensions included a length of 6.5 meters with width of 3.27 meters and height of 2.46 meters.
Manufacturing Soltam Systems - Israel
Production 200 Units
- Fire Support / Assault / Breaching
21.33 ft (6.5 m)
10.73 ft (3.27 m)
8.07 ft (2.46 m)
47 tons (42,250 kg; 93,145 lb)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Soltam L-33 production model)
1 x Cummins VTA-903 V8 diesel-fueled engine developing 460 horsepower at 2,600rpm.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Soltam L-33 production model)
22 mph (36 kph)
162 miles (260 km)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Soltam L-33 production model; Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 155mm Soltam Systems 155mm/33 OR 1 x 155mm/39 main gun.
1 x 7.62mm anti-aircraft machine gun on hull roof.
Ammunition: 60 x 155mm projectiles.
1,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Soltam L-33 production model)
L-33 - Base Series Designation; available with 155mm/33 or 155mm/39 series main guns.
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