MANUFACTURER(S): Soltam - Israel
OPERATORS: Azebaijan; Cameroon; Romania; Thailand; Uganda
ENGINE: 1 x Diesel engine.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Soltam ATMOS 2000 6x6 Wheeled Self-Propelled Howitzer.
Entry last updated on 12/29/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Soltam Systems developed its ATMOS 2000 wheeled Self-Propelled Artillery (SPA) at the turn of the century as a private venture primarily aimed at the export market. In a departure from the usual tracked, self-propelled guns popular with many ground forces of the world today, Soltam's approach was such that a wheeled truck design was selected for its inherent mobility, lower operating/procurement costs, and off-the-shelf repair capability when compared to more expensive, more complicated tracked models attempting to fulfill the same battlefield role. The chassis includes an armored crew cabin at front with a flatbed section at rear, this area typically mounting a 155mm gun system for indirect artillery fire. The vehicle was developed as a somewhat modular product allowing for various caliber guns to be fitted to the flatbed section or the gun unit to be sat upon a local truck of choice for the foreign customer.
The crew cab sits atop the diesel engine arrangement that drives power to the three axles managing ten large, rubber-tired road wheels. The cabin is lightly armored against small arms fire and artillery spray but little else - it is not a direct contact weapon system but instead designed to sit behind the front lines and lay down fire over the heads of friendly forces. The front axle pair is steerable and power-assisted while a spare road wheel is affixed to the rear external wall of the cabin for emergencies. Storage boxes are set at the midway point of the vehicle to which the gun, its mounting, and integral recoil system are all fitted over the extreme aft section of the bed. Its mass is supported by eight rubber-tired road wheels fitted at the two rear axles. Recoil arms are lowered at the rear of the chassis prior to firing and serve to keep the vehicle from tipping due to recoil forces. The gun is seated on a traversable table with mounting hardware that allows for the necessary elevation, offering relatively unfettered engagement angles. A digital fire control system improves accuracy and satellite navigation assists the crew. The vehicle can be readied to fire in approximately 1.5 minutes from stop to setup and features a three-round-per-minute burst rate-of-fire with ranges reaching out to 25 miles depending on barrel length and projectile used. The gun conforms to all standard NATO munitions options.
Current operators include Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Thailand, and Uganda. While showcased to the Israeli Army, it has not been adopted for service with the branch. The largest operator remains Cameroon with 18 units in inventory.