G6 Rhino 155mm SELF-PROPELLED GUN-HOWITZER
The G6 is a three-axle, six-wheeled, heavily armored system mounting a modified version of the G5 cannon. The G6 is an agile super-range weapon that forms the backbone of a fully integrated and flexible artillery system. It was developed and refined primarily to support rapidly advancing mechanised infantry and armoured divisions.
The manufacturer has developed the T-6 155mm turret from the G-6 and it has been fitted to T-72 hull and India's Arjun hull for trials. The G-6 utilizes a wheeled instead of a tracked chassis. This choice, according to South African military specialists, was dictated above all by the peculiarities of the terrain relief of the region as well as by the necessity of having a large range for the self-propelled combat equipment employed by the ground forces.
In the series models of this self-propelled gun, the wheels have independent torsion suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers. It is turned off during fire. Prior to this, with the help of the hydraulic system, four supports are lowered (from the sides of the front and rear parts of the body). The foreign press notes that, despite the significant combat weight (36.5 tons), the G-6 self-propelled howitzer has good mobility. Its maximum highway speed is 90 km/hour and 35-40 km/hour in rough terrain. The range is 600 km. It can negotiate a slope of up to 30 degrees, a ditch 1 meter wide, a wall 0.45 meter high, and a ford up to 1 meter deep.
The guidance compartment is located in the front part of the body and behind it is the motor and transmission compartment. Then comes the fighting compartment, which also includes an armored turret that can be rotated in a circle. The body is made of welded armor plates that protect it against small arms fire and fragments of artillery shells. The bottom has reinforced armor against the action of land mines. A 525-hp air-cooled diesel engine is used as the propulsion unit on the G-6. It is linked with an automatic transmission providing for six forward gears and two reverse gears. All wheels of the self-propelled gun are drive wheels.
The basic armament of this self-propelled gun is a 155-mm howitzer located on the armored turret. The aiming angles of the gun are from -5 degrees to +75 degrees in the vertical and all 360 degrees in the horizontal. The drive system is electrohydraulic. A shell rammer is arranged on the left side of the breech mechanism to facilitate loading. The powder charges (in a combustible cartridge case) are placed in the loading chamber manually. A well-trained combat crew achieves a rate of fire of four rounds/min during the course of 15 minutes.
For firing from the howitzer, use is made of rounds with high explosive fragmentation, smoke, illuminating and incendiary shells. The carried ammunition is 47 shells and 52 charges. The maximum range of fire with a conventional high explosive fragmentation shell is 30 km and 39 km with a high explosive fragmentation shell with a special bottom pyrotechnic grenade launcher attachment. The fire control system includes, in addition to day and night sights, a laser rangefinder and a ballistic computer. It can be be connected to the battery fire control system, obtaining all necessary data for firing.
Iraq had two vehicles that looked remarkably similar to the G-6. They are the 155 mm Majnoon SPG and the 210 mm Al Fao SPG. The origin and current status of these two vehicles is uncertain. As far as it is known, none of these entered production or service with the Iraqi Army and none were captured during the 1991 Gulf War.
The G6 is fully compatible with NATO standard 155-mm ammunition and has a direct fire range of 3000 meters (using a Frag-HE round). Used together with the specially developed modular charge ammunition system, the 45-calibre gun provides accurate coverage of a target zone of more than 1000 square kilometres, without change of position. 45 rounds are carried on board. The onboard gyro-controlled navigation and automatic laying systems enable the gun to be brought into action independently within 60 seconds of stopping and it can move off 30 seconds after firing, thus presenting an elusive target. The G6 is equipped with an electronically controlled hydraulic flick rammer that provides an initial rate of fire of 3 rounds per minute.
High mobility is ensured by the permanent six-wheel drive purpose-built vehicle, powered by an air-cooled diesel engine through a six-speed automatic gearbox. The maximum speed of the G6 is 85 km/h. The rigid chassis is actually divided into two parts, a driver's/engine compartment and a crew compartment. In order to distribute its weight and to maintain mobility over sand and soft terrain, the G6 employs large 21x25 run-flat tires. All-independent torsion bar suspension, differential locks and on-the-move tyre inflation system (optional) offer superior traction and high levels of crew comfort. The driver controls a central tire-inflation system to vary the ground pressure. The system can also be used to maintain some degree of tire pressure in case of air leakage from small punctures. A 45-hp (34 kw) Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) provides power for turret operations, recharging the batteries, and the driver/crew compartment air conditioning system.
The armored turret and hull provide protection against small arms fire, shell splinters, landmine explosions and, in the vital 60° frontal arc, against 20mm attack. The frontal 60° arc provides protection against 20-mm type ammunition. Additionally, the shape and armor thickness of the chassis hull allows it to withstand at least three mine detonations (against TM46 antitank landmine or equivalent) before being immobilized. Separate fire extinguishing systems can be fitted in the turret and engine compartment. A ventilation system or BC protection and air conditioning can be provided. The separation of the driver/engine compartment from the crew compartment also facilitates survival against mines. The connection between the two is perforated with blowout holes to direct the force of the blast upwards, away from any personnel compartments. The separation also allows the driver to be beyond the detonation point before the mine is activated. The driver also has bullet-resistant glass windows that can be further protected by armored shutters, although it limits him to the use of a periscopic viewing port. The vehicle commander has limited steering and braking capability if the driver becomes a casualty. The crew compartment has four firing ports (two each side) so the crew can engage targets without exposing themselves to return fire.
A wide range of optional subsystems is available to increase the efficiency of the G6 and its crew. They include the following:
- Inertial navigation and laying or back-up laying systems
- Night vision equipment
- Barrel cooling and thermal warning systems
- Fire control computer interface
- Muzzle velocity analyzer
- Explosion control for fuel tanks
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