The Turkish Land Forces Logistics Command (TLFLC) has completed the first prototype of its Firtina Artillery Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (FAARV).
A second pre-production vehicle is expected to follow in 2012 or early 2013, after which the main production run of between 70 and 80 vehicles will be built at the TLFLC’s Arifiye facilities.
The FAARV is being developed to support the command’s growing fleet of Firtina 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled guns (SPGs), with one vehicle expected to be used to support a troop of three SPGs.
It has a combat weight of 47 tonnes and features a hull of all-welded steel armour offering protection against small arms fire and shell splinters.
The vehicle is normally operated by a crew of three, with the driver positioned at the front left and the powerpack to the right. The latter derives from old decommissioned M48 tanks and consists of an AVDS-1790-series V-12 diesel developing 750 hp, coupled to an Allison CD 850-series automatic transmission.
The maximum road speed is quoted as 50 km/h with an operational range of up to 360 km. Suspension is hydropneumatic, similar to that fitted to the Firtina SPG, and provides an improved ride for the crew across rough terrain.
To the rear of the driver’s position is a raised superstructure containing 155 mm ammunition (projectiles and charges) and the associated ammunition transfer system developed by local company Aselsan.
A total of 96 rounds of ammunition are carried plus a similar number of charges. These are fed to the SPG by a protected conveyor system that extends over the front of the FAARV and lines up with the rear of the Firtina.
According to the TLFLC a total of 48 projectiles and associated charges can be transferred to the artillery system in 20 minutes. Turkey uses the old bag-type 155 mm charges, but is expected to move to a modular charge system in the future.
Optional equipment for the FAARV includes a nuclear, biological and chemical protection system and fuel transfer system. A .50-calibre M2 HB machine gun mounted on the right side of the superstructure roof is provided for air defence and self-protection.
The Firtina SPG, which is referred to as the T-155 K/M Obus by the Turkish Army (or TUSpH Firtina), is based on the South Korean Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder 155 mm SPG, which has been in service with the Republic of Korea Army since 1999.
While no details of production quantities have been revealed, it is believed that the TLFLC has built about 180 systems out of a total initial estimated requirement of 250.
The Firtina’s gun is fitted with a computerised fire-control system developed by Aselsan that fires the old 155 mm M107 projectiles out to a maximum range of 18 km. This can be extended using enhanced projectiles; for example, a maximum range of over 40 km is claimed for the firing of an extended-range full-bore base-bleed projectile.
The Firtina SPG is the most powerful SP tube artillery system deployed by Turkey. The only other SP artillery systems are the M44T and M52T, the basic design of which is over 60 years old.