Excalibur Army introduced a new 155 mm self-propelled howitzer, the Morana. It was first revealed at Eurosatory 2022.

Eastern Europe is producing guns, artillery shells and other military supplies at a rate not seen since the Cold War. New weapons are also constantly being updated and developed. The Ukraine-Russia conflict presents new opportunities for the arms industry. In the Czech Republic the Excalibur Army introduced a new 155 mm self-propelled howitzer, the Morana. It was first revealed at Eurosatory 2022.

According to the manufacturer’s introduction, the MORANA is a sophisticated 155 mm caliber artillery weapon with automatic charging, designed for fast and effective support of operational-tactical and tactical groupings of ground forces. The unique Fire Control System and diagnostic system enables autonomous fulfillment of combat tasks.

The MORANA is in fact a further evolution of the 155mm Dita self-propelled howitzer system introduced at IDEX 2021, but the MORANA is much larger than its sister. The artillery system is based on a Tatra 8×8 wheeled chassis, operated by a crew of 4 in the cabin, two in the front and two in the back. MORANA is designed to be highly mobile and to change firing position in a short time.

Morana’s main weapon is a 155mm L52 howitzer manufactured by ZTS Special in Slovakia, coupled with a fully automatic reloading system. The howitzer has a maximum range of 41.5 km and the maximum rate of fire is 6 rounds per minute. The Morana can be ready for action in 20-30 seconds, the only operation being to lower the hydraulic jacks. The commander in the front cabin gets the firing mission on its computer, the howitzer location system providing the exact position, ballistic calculation giving azimuth, elevation and charge.

While its normal use is indirect fire, the Morana, similar to the Dita, can be also used in direct firing, using the RCWS optics for aiming. The howitzer has a direct firing capability at range of up to 5 km. At night the range is reduces to 3 km. Direct firing capability is typically used for self-defense. The auxiliary weapon is a remote-controlled weapon station, which is installed on the right side of the artillery turret, and is usually armed with a 12.7 mm.

The MORANA howitzer is equipped with a powerful Onboard control and diagnostic system which contains subsystems of diagnostics, navigation, automatic gun guiding, autonomous calculation of shooting elements and ammunition management. The howitzer is equipped with an automatic guiding system that allows fast and fully-automatic gun adjustment into target direction. The gun is normally aimed in fully automatic mode, though there is also a manual gun laying option via supportive optical devices.

MORANA is armored to resist small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. According to reports, it can withstand 7.62 mm armor-piercing bullets at a range of 30 meters and mine blasts equivalent to 6 kg of TNT. The cabin is pressurized and has an NBC protection system. Mobility is provided by a 600 hp diesel engine, which gives a top road speed of up to 90 km/h and a range of 600 km.

While its sister Dita is in contract production, Morana is only in the prototype stage. In addition to the complete system, Excalibur Army is proposing the fully independent artillery module for installation on other platforms, either wheeled or tracked.

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