MANUFACTURER(S): Thyssen-Henschel (Rheinmetall Landsysteme) - Germany / TAMSE - Argentina
Detailing the development and operational history of the TAMSE VCA 155 (Vehiculo de Combate de Artilleria de 155mm) Self-Propelled Gun (SPG) Vehicle.
Entry last updated on 5/26/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
In the 1970s, the Argentine government charged the German concern of Thyssen-Henschel (now Rheinmetall Landsysteme) with development of a modern standardized tracked vehicle chassis based on the Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) of the German Army. The result were two headline products made up of the TAM combat tank and VCTP IFV. From this were born several other limited production variants including the VCA 155 (Vehiculo de Combate de Artilleria de 155mm = "155mm Artillery Combat Vehicle").
The VCA 155 mated the turret and main gun armament of the Italian OTO-Melara Palmaria 155mm Self-Propelled Vehicle with the chassis of the TAM Medium Tank. To accommodate the turret, the hull of the TAM was lengthened and an additional set of road wheels was added. The hull sides were vertical as opposed to slightly sloped as in the TAM/VCTP and the rear hull facing was sloped inwards. The main gun and integrated recoil/mounting system was housed within a boxy turret superstructure with commander's cupola, crew hatch, turret bustle and communications antenna. The main gun featured a fume extractor at its midway point and a double-baffled muzzle brake. Turret internal volume allowed for 23 to be carried in the turret and a total of 28 x 155mm projectiles overall. The turret also showcased eight smoke grenade dischargers in two banks of four fitted to either frontal side. The running gear remained largely the same with the exception of the added road wheel pairs and an additional track return roller to compensate for the lengthening. The drive sprocket is at the front with the track idler at the rear. The engine retains a front-right mounted installation forcing the driver to front-left in the hull. A group of four or five personnel (including the commander, gunner and ammunition handlers) make up the turret crew. An optional machine gun can be fitted to the turret roof for self defense against infantry or low-flying aircraft.
All told, the VCA 155 displaced at 44 tons, featured an operational road range of 320 miles and a maximum road speed of 34 miles per hour. Commonality of parts has proven a bonus and the far-reaching firepower of the Italian 155mm main gun is proven. By all accounts, the VCA 155 is comparable to other global SPGs in use - led primarily by the ubiquitous American M109 Paladin series.
Production of VCA 155 vehicles was handled by TAMSE of Buenos Aires and was to total 25 units. However, budgetary constraints have limited procurement to 19 units beginning in 1995 and the TAMSE line was stopped thereafter.