The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun Development
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun aka Grande Cadence de Tir (high rate of fire) aka cannon 155 aka AUF1, was developed by the former French state owned company Giat Industries (now NEXTER) to meet the requirements for a 155mm SPG that offered protection and transportation of the crew during the 1960’s, which the serving at the time 155mm Mk F3 did not have.
Development started in 1969, with ten vehicles being delivered for field testing between 1974-75. It entered production in 1977, with the first vehicles being supplied to Saudi Arabia to meet their urgent requirements.
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun Description
The driver sat in front in the centre of the hull and the engine at the rear. The AMX-30 turret was removed, as was the 105mm ammunition storage in the hull. This was replaced with a backup generator and a air ventilation system to the AUF1 turret which was then inserted in to the hull.
The Commander and Gunner sit on the right with the loader on the left. The gun elevation is -4 to +66 degree’s via hydraulic controls. The turret is fully 360 degree traverse. The 155mm main gun is hooked up to an autoloader, which can load 8 rounds per minute. It is capable of firing 6 rounds in the first 45 seconds, in burst fire mode. Non-Rocket assist rounds have a 18km range and 30.5km rocket assisted.
The rear section of the turret is formed of two storage bins, each with vertical racks. 1 bin is used to store 42 rounds and the second is used to store the propellant charge’s. A further 40 propellant charge’s can be stored in an additional storage under the turret (range can be increased with the number of charges used).
The rear wall of the turret folds down in to a platform exposing the rear of the two storage bins, so that the storage racks can be refilled whilst the vehicle is firing and a full compliment takes roughly two men up to 20 minutes so that the operations with in the turret are not interrupted.
The vehicle can be brought in to action within 2 minutes and in-case of counter battery can move off within 1 minute.
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun (AUF1) Specifications
AUF1 TA turret 19 tonnes
With AMX-30 B2 chassis 46 tonnes
Artillery 155 mm/39 cal. ordnance
Rate of fire 6 rds in 52 seconds
Range 4,5 à 30 km
Any 155 mm NATO-standard ammunition and competent ammunition (BONUS)
Automatic loading of complete rounds
Automated storage and feed of shells and propellant charges (selection/loading)
42 on-board complete rounds.
Replenishment (shell + charges) < 20 minutes.
12.7 mm roof-mounted machine gun
GALIX protection system (optional)
Ballistic protection against 7.62 mm projectiles and shell splinters
Add-on armour and collective NBC protection.
Gun crew: commander, gun-layer, radio operator/ artificer/loader and driver
Engagement duration within 2 minutes (into-action time/6-round salvo/out-of -action time).
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun AUF2 Upgrade
A new 155mm main gun which is now cal Length 52 giving an increased range of 42km
A new automatic round and charge feed system providing a higher rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute
New charges and rounds
Refurnished AMX-30B2 hull
The AUF2 turret for the French Army is mounted on a refurbished AMX 30 B2 tank chassis fitted with a 750 hp Renault/Mack E9 engine. This engine, associated with a semiautomatic gearbox, provides the system with a power-to-weight ratio 20% higher than the original configuration. It gives the system mobility and manoeuvrability capabilities that are identical to those of the MBT’s.
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun AUF1 and AUF2 Chassis
Originally the turret was mounted on the AMX-30B, The AUF2 turret in French service uses a refurnished AMX-30B2 hull.
GCT 155mm turrets have been photographed on both Russian T-72 and Indian Arjun tanks. Its also believed the AUF2 turret can be fitted on a Leopard 1.
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun Operators
It entered service with the French Army in July 1979. It was decided to use the hull and chassis of the existing AMX-30 Medium Battle Tank, which was deployed with the French Army. This meant a quicker development, savings in operational and manufacturing costs as it used the same engine and suspension.
241 delivered to the French Army (70 upgraded to AUF2). Note: The official French Army website only lists the AUF1.
85 vehicles delivered between 1983 and 1985.
No longer in service
Understood to have 18 in storage
First country to receive the vehicle in 1978 totalling 51
It has been trialled/deomnstrated by – India on a T-72 hull/chassis and Egypt.
The French GCT 155mm Self Propelled Gun Combat History
Iraq – 1980-88 Iran Iraq War and possibly the Invasion of Iraq/Gulf War
France – Was deployed with the French Army in the Gulf War. French Forces were deployed as part of IFOR in the Siege of Sarajevo. The vehicle served as a counter battery against Serb artillery that attacked the city. France has also contributed to the Peace Keeping efforts in Lebanon and the vehicle has been deployed with those forces.