G5-52 155mm 52-calibre, towed gun howitzer
LIW, a division of Denel, South-Africa, completed development work and test firing on their latest version of the G5 155mm towed gun system in 2003. In line with its standard artillery gun nomenclature, this version has been named the G5-52, while the truck mounted version will in future be known as the T5-52.
The biggest change is the addition of a burst loader and a complete projectile handling system. This system comprises an electrically-driven chain rammer which loads both the projectile and the charge in the gun barrel, a projectile magazine which can hold 6 projectiles in 2 layers, and a small crane which can transfer 3 projectiles at a time from a ground pile to the projectile magazine.
This latest development is in line with the South African National Defence force and other potential buyers' requirement for more ergonomic gun designs, and which consider the 47kg 155mm projectile too heavy to be handled by one person during the process of loading. The new system requires no man handling of projectiles. Only the charge, much lighter at 17kg, has to be placed manually on the loading tray, from where it is automatically pushed into the barrel chamber.
A unique feature of the system is that a firing mission can be started with one round in the barrel, one on the loading tray, 6 in the magazine and 3 on the crane. A total of 11 rounds can therefore be fired without any manipulation of ammunition, which is a world first for a towed gun system.
A firing rate of 6 rounds per minute can easily be achieved with the top charge at all elevations. With the fully integrated command system and automatic laying system, MRSI (multiple round simultaneous impact) missions can be conducted with minimum operator assistance.
The ballistic system is a JBMOU standard 52 caliber system. As with all Denel's artillery system developments, a systems approach has been followed in the development of the ballistic system, ensuring the availability of a gun, a full range of projectiles and fuzes, and a bi-modular charge system which can all be fired safely at the full operating temperature range. The G5-52 fires the Denel range of ERFB boat-tail, base-bleed and VLAP projectiles with the M90 bi-modular charge system at a top-charge muzzle velocity of 923m/s.
This gives the G5-52 a sea level range of 41,6km with base bleed and 55,3km with VLAP ammunition at 21°C. The operating pressure at 60°C is 430 MPa, providing a large margin of safety in the gun, which, with its G6-52L (Losvoor) derived barrel and breech mechanisms has been designed to withstand a pressure of 520 MPa.
"The 52 caliber ballistic system is not very forgiving when it comes to the mixing and matching of system elements" says Mr Org Ehlers, General Manager of LIW. "Denel, through its integrated system approach, has ensured that it is currently the only supplier that can safely fire a 52 caliber artillery system without any restrictions".
The G5-52 now completes Denel's lineup of 155mm high performance artillery gun systems, consisting of the G5 and G6 45 cal. systems, the G6-52, the G6-52L (long range, Losvoor), the T6-52 turret, the G5-52 and the T5-52 truck mounted gun.
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