The XM2001 Crusader was to be the United States Army's next-generation self-propelled howitzer (SPH), designed to improve survivability, lethality, mobility, and effectiveness and planned to be introduced by 2008. United Defense was the prime contractor; General Dynamics the major subcontractor. In early May 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld cancelled the $11 billion USD program because he considered it neither mobile nor precise enough. The prototype is on display at the cannon park at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Key features of the Crusader design included:
Using the same chassis, the resupply vehicles (RSVs) would deliver automatic, reciprocal transfer of ammunition, data and fuel to the SPH or another RSV.
|Curb Weight||40 tons||36 tons||33.3 tons|
|Length||7.53 m||7.53 m||11.03 m|
|Width||3.31 m||3.31 m||2.44 m|
|Height||3.00 m||3.00 m||3.59 m|
|Cross-Country Mobility||39-48 km/h||39-48 km/h||64 km/h|
|Armament||Cooled 155 mm||none||none|
|Max Range||40-50 km (assisted)|
|Rate of Fire/Resupply||10-12 rounds/min||48 rounds in 10 min||48 rounds in 10 min|
The Crusader program was cancelled, partly due to the $25 million per copy cost (compared to the German PzH 2000 cost of $4.5 million.) The Pentagon preferred the Crusader design, largely due to its lighter weight. It also had a speed of around 40 mph compared to the PzH 2000 speed of around 37 mph. However, the Pentagon refused German suggestions of producing a PzH that would have detachable armor, which could be shipped separately, or substituting titanium for steel in many parts. The PzH 2000 also required a crew of two more men, considered a disadvantage, but which could also be an advantage. That is, if the crew is cross-trained, and a driver is killed, he could be substituted by another crewman, and vice versa.
Another consideration was that the existing Paladin already had advanced characteristics, making it still a very effective weapon. Significant upgrades have increased its usefulness. The Paladin boasts a "shoot and scoot" ability, limited by wires leading to a control vehicle, which could be converted to laser communication, like that of the Crusader.
The British have adopted a new vehicle, the AS-90 costing around $8 million. The AS-90 weighs around 45 tons and has a speed of around 50km/h.