The Morana, by the Czech company Excalibur Army, belongs to the 155 mm caliber, incorporates a barrel length of 52 calibers and derives its design from the DITA gun, which belongs to the same caliber, but incorporates a barrel length of 45 calibers. The Morana incorporates an automatic aiming and loading system, an advanced Fire Control System (FCS), a new generation computer and automatic situation and problem diagnosis technology. The cannon was presented for the first time at the recent international exhibition “Eurosatory 2022”. Its development was based on five (5) axes: In tactical and operational characteristics, in the effectiveness and accuracy of shots, in the ability to deploy in any terrain, in the protection of the crew and in reliability, i.e. in the ability to remain operational under partial status failure.
In terms of tactical and combat characteristics the Morana is designed to move and deploy quickly, thus providing fire support quickly (the wheeled vehicle/carrier is from TATRA). The systems it incorporates allow it to operate independently, as a unit, or within an Artillery Squadron/Artillery. Therefore, it can react immediately and effectively under changing business conditions. In addition, the Morana can operate in various climatic conditions and difficult terrains, cover long distances and fire day and night and under any weather conditions. The Morana is designed to line up to fire, fire and move away from the firing position within 30-40 seconds of receiving the order. This time secures the gun from enemy anti-artillery fire
In terms of effectiveness and accuracy, the Morana achieves a maximum range of 35 kilometers, with conventional ammunition, and 41.5 kilometers with HE ER-BB (High Explosive Extended Range-Base Bleed) ammunition. Its supply amounts to 45 rounds of ammunition (40 in the autoloader and five in the vehicle). The automatic loading system allows a maximum rate of fire of six (6) rounds per minute, while the maximum continuous rate of fire is five (5) rounds per minute. The gun has the ability to fire MRSI (Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact), i.e. firing multiple rounds from different angles so that they hit the target at the same time. According to the company, the typical MRSI shot volume for a target at 6 kilometers is three (3) rounds, while for a target at 35 km the maximum MRSA shot volume is two (2) rounds.
The Morana incorporates an unmanned turret, mounted at the rear of the vehicle rather than in the middle. The engine is mounted directly behind the crew cabin (requires a crew of three, the driver, the cell leader and the gunner). The tower incorporates a separate power supply system so that it is operational in the event of failure of the vehicle’s power supply system. The barrel can be moved longitudinally in an arc of -60° to +60° and raised up to +70°. For its self-protection, the Morana incorporates, above the crew cabin, a remote-controlled tower with a 12.7 mm machine gun and a sensor that can identify (in the daytime) a target at a distance of 10 kilometers. The machine gun achieves a maximum range of 7.4 kilometers and an effective range of 1.8 kilometers. Its ammo is 300 rounds with an option to increase the ammo to 900 rounds.
The Morana incorporates the advanced Lansyr SEP, which controls the gun’s firing parameters with the help of a ballistic computer and sophisticated software. The software and ballistic computer calculate the ballistic data and ensure seamless communication (image, audio, data) with upper and lower echelons. The targeting and ordering process is achieved using Global Positioning System (GPS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS). GPS/INS systems continuously calculate the position of the gun, according to its position relative to the ground. Lansyr calculates shot data while incorporating an automatic shot correction system. It also has the ability of automatic topographical orientation, while taking into account the possible inclination of the vehicle in relation to the target.
At the all-terrain capability level, the gun is mounted on a TATRA (8 x 8) vehicle, but can also be mounted on other wheeled vehicles. Special emphasis has been placed on the vehicle’s suspensions so that they absorb shocks during movement on uneven terrain, therefore reducing the stress on the vehicle and the cost of its use and support. The vehicle incorporates a Cummins X15E3 600 engine with a maximum power of 600 hp, automatic transmission, Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) and anti-lock braking system. Of course, it also incorporates an integrated communications system, intercom, hydraulic door control system and front/rear view cameras. Its dimensions are (length x width x height) 13.2 meters x 3.1 meters x 3.55 meters.
The combat weight of the Morana, fully loaded, is 36 tons, which means a power-to-weight ratio of 16.7 hp per ton of weight. When moving on asphalt it reaches a maximum speed of 90 km per hour, while in off-road traffic its typical speed is 25+ km per hour. Its typical range is around 600 kilometers. It can pass a water obstacle 1.2 meters deep, overcome a vertical obstacle 60 centimeters high and pass an obstacle two (2) meters long. Particular emphasis has been placed on the exterior design so that the various systems and mechanical parts are covered as much as possible and by surfaces with as few corners as possible. The main reason is to reduce the radar footprint of the system, but also to achieve the best possible ergonomics, therefore the maximum possible facilitation of its support.
In terms of protection, the Morana incorporates Excalibur Army’s Puma armored cabin, which is equipped with an air conditioning system (for heating and cooling), a protection system against radiological, chemical and biological substances, while providing Level 2 protection, according to STANAG-4569 , i.e. protection from 5.56 and 7.62 mm cartridges (shot from a distance of 30 meters), from grenades, artillery fragments, mines and from 20 mm cartridges (shot from a distance of 80 meters). The rest of the vehicle is also armored, with the possibility of increasing the armor level, upon the user’s request. The vehicle can be fitted with a 76mm or 81mm smoke grenade launcher as well as a laser beam warning system. The seats in the cabin are safety, while apart from the three-member crew, a fourth person can be accommodated.
In terms of reliability, the Morana has the ability to fire even in the event of a partial failure of the vehicle. Direct fire can be carried out by the crew at a maximum distance of 5 km during the day or 3 km at night. In the event of ballistic computer or navigation system failure or gun misalignment, the Morana incorporates an emergency operation capability with targeting using optical devices. As we said, the tower incorporates a separate power supply system, so that it is operational in case of failure of the vehicle’s power supply system (main and backup). Additionally, the system also incorporates a hydraulic power and control unit, which checks the condition of the battery and recharges it, controls the pressure of the hydraulic circuits of the tower, the hydraulic fluids, etc.
To ensure its reliable operation, Morana incorporates a series of diagnostic tools and applications for vehicle and gun control. The results of the diagnosis are available to the crew and directly to the upper echelons of management and technical support. All diagnoses are stored in a database with the possibility of generating statistical data for evaluation. The cannon is refueled by a system safe for the crew. The driver has at his disposal a display screen of all the basic information of the vehicle, such as the state of the engine, the recording of kilometers (total and per route), speed, fuel reserve, temperature, etc. Also, he can see information related to the technical condition of the vehicle as well as a digital map with the position and course of the vehicle. The commander’s and gunner’s screens display information about the ammunition supply and the mission.