Spain mass produces 105/120/155mm barrels to meet the demand

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The demand for main combat guns in various calibers is on the rise, according to Spanish experts. This rise in demand has prompted General Dynamics European Land Systems – Santa Bárbara Sistemas [GDELS-SBS] to resume their production. Spain has been known to manufacture a range of large-caliber barrels, including 120mm, 105mm, and 155mm, for main battle tanks [MBTs] and artillery.

Reportedly, this includes over 200 120mm Leopard 2E tank guns for the Spanish Army, 100 155mm/52 caliber SIAC 155/52 howitzers, and dozens of 105 Light Gun L118 and L119 105mm guns.

Continued military conflicts have underscored the importance of artillery and MBTs. “GDELS-SBS is one of the few European companies that have retained the expertise and capability to produce gun barrels for the most sought-after calibers in weapon systems,” said Juan Escrina, director general of GDELS-SBS. The company is the only Spanish firm equipped to manufacture, maintain, and modernize artillery systems to meet the latest requirements.

Germany increases its artillery power - it buys 12 more PzH 2000s
Photo credit: Getty Images

One prominent example is the 120mm smoothbore gun used in the Leopard 2 main battle tank. Known for its advanced firepower, protection, and mobility, the Leopard 2 is a cornerstone of several NATO countries’ armored forces.

Another significant weapon system utilizing GDELS-SBS barrels is the 105mm rifled gun found on the Centauro wheeled tank destroyer. Designed for rapid deployment and high mobility, the Centauro balances firepower and agility, making it ideal for reconnaissance and support roles in various military operations.

The 155mm caliber is extensively used in modern artillery systems, and GDELS-SBS manufactures barrels for the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. Renowned for its long-range precision and high rate of fire, the PzH 2000 provides critical support in both offensive and defensive operations. Its advanced targeting systems and automation make it one of the most effective artillery pieces in service today.

Unannounced delivery: Italian 105mm B1 Centauro tanks to Ukraine
Photo credit: Twitter

The barrels produced by GDELS-SBS are crafted from high-strength steel alloys. These materials are specifically chosen for their exceptional mechanical properties, including impressive tensile strength, toughness, and resistance to wear and deformation under high-pressure conditions.

To ensure long life and dependability, GDELS-SBS uses advanced anti-corrosion and anti-rust techniques. These methods include specialized coatings and treatments that shield the barrels from environmental hazards like moisture, salt, and other corrosive elements. Common treatments might involve chrome plating or proprietary coatings designed to enhance the barrel’s resistance to corrosion.

Furthermore, the manufacturing process features rigorous quality control measures. Each barrel undergoes comprehensive testing and inspection to ensure it meets strict military standards. This includes non-destructive testing methods such as ultrasonic testing and magnetic particle inspection to identify any internal or surface defects.

Panzer 87 or Leopard 2A4 Swiss
Photo credit: Fighting Vehicles

However, the conflict in Ukraine has highlighted durability issues with both Russian and Western artillery and tank guns occurring more frequently than anticipated. Reports, predominantly from 2022 and 2023, coupled with photographic evidence, indicate that 155mm artillery guns supplied to Ukraine cannot endure the intensity of daytime firing.


Bulgarian Military.

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