The 155mm Soltam M-71 heavy field howitzer was born out of experience with the design, development and manufacture of the previous M-68 artillery family (described in detail elsewhere on this website). The weapon features a longer barrel and air-driven rammer, while retaining much of the form and function of the original.
The result was a more effective heavy artillery that proved itself not only to the Israeli army. Other operators have also been seen in military service in Myanmar, Chile, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Slovenia.
The South African Army named its gun the G-4 and Slovenia the M839.
Design work on the M-71 began in 1974, followed by production in 1975.
The weapon in its final form weighed 20,300 pounds and had a 19.9-foot barrel. For maximum efficiency, a crew of 8 must be deployed on the artillery. The system fires conventional and specialized 155mm projectiles, loaded through a horizontal breech block. The carriage consists of four wheels attached to a split frame assembly that serves as both a transport stand and a firing stand.
The hardware allows access to an elevation range of -5 to +75 degrees, and to +/- 20 degrees lateral from the centerline. Each shell is fired at a muzzle velocity of 2,700 feet per second and has a range (using a conventional 96-pounder) of up to 14.6 miles.
Compared to the earlier M-68, the M-71 was faster to reload, lighter and had a longer range.
The "L-39" is a proposed M4 Sherman medium tank development to be deployed as a self-propelled gun (SPG) system alongside the M-71 howitzer. A hull superstructure was added to the existing Sherman chassis. Although the car was profitable, it was not used for repairs.
The M-72 was another failed self-propelled artillery development involving the chassis of the British main battle tank Centurion (MBT).
Chile became one of the largest users of the M-71 outside of Israel, receiving a total of about 36 prototypes. It is followed by South Africa and Thailand.
- fire support/attack/damage
10 tons (9,200 kg; 20,283 lb)
15 miles (24 km)
1 x 155mm main barrel
Depends on the ammunition carrier.
M-71 - Base Series Name