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Self-Propelled Artillery

A self-propelled gun refers to a towed artillery equipped with an auxiliary power engine and capable of being driven by a small gasoline or diesel engine and capable of self-propelled short-distance maneuvers. Self-propelled artillery refers to artillery with dedicated power and a tracked or wheeled vehicle as the chassis. China has more than 50 different types of artillery, with a total of more than 17,000 pieces of various types. China’s artillery equipment is controlled by well-trained soldiers and is a product manufactured in recent years. These units are equipped with towed artillery, self-propelled artillery, and a variety of multiple rocket launchers.

The power and mobility of artillery is always a contradiction that is mutually constrained and needs to be balanced. The power, range and accuracy must be met while minimizing the gun's full weight and size. China has developed more than a dozen types of mounted guns, ranging from 122 mm to 155 mm. Various chassis and models have caught up with the rest of the world.

While China is still pursuing the developed countries, seeking to achieve the capabilities of their weapons systems, new solutions are emerging, but the truth is not clear in what quantities and whether they are made at all. The largest Chinese implements are the 203-mm ACS W-90 and towed Type-90. The W-90 is a rough copy of the M110A3 cannon, and the Type-90 has a Soviet-style barrel and an American-style breech. Whether they actually entered service and in what quantities is unknown.

The Chinese seem to prefer the 155mm cannon. China is the country with the largest number of 155 artillery pieces in the world. It is the most comprehensive country in the world to study 155mm howitzers. It has developed traction guns, crawler self-propelled guns, self-propelled guns, vehicle guns, shore defense guns, naval guns, and ultra-light cannons. A large family of multi-variety, 39/45/52 multi-shot artillery, formed the world's largest family of 155 artillery, both domestic and into the world market.

Since the 1980s, China has developed three series of 155mm guns of 39x, 45x and 52x calibers, absorbing the advantages of the East and West, forming a caliber, two twist lines, three barrel lengths, and four platforms. The complete 155 mm artillery system covers all areas of application for heavy artillery.

  1. 155mm universal light traction and howitzer with a caliber of 39 times. It is used to replace 130 plus 152 plus howitzers. It is the general towed artillery of the military's future light brigade, mountain and airborne units.
  2. PLZ45 type 155 mm foreign trade self-propelled with a cannon, 45 times caliber, has been exported to several countries in the Middle East, and now it still has vitality, but also a few years of foreign exchange.
  3. PLZ05 type 155mm self-propelled howitzer, PLZ52 type foreign trade 155mm self-propelled cannon, 155mm auxiliary power self-propelled cannon, and 155mm truck cannon, these four guns use 52 times caliber, of which 155 crawler type self-plus The howitzer and 155mm vehicle gun will become the main artillery of the army in the future.

Four platforms:

  1. Auxiliary power system for 155mm self-propelled gun.
  2. PLZ45 type 155 mm self-propelled cannon crawler chassis.
  3. Wheeled chassis of domestic 155mm vehicle gun.
  4. PLZ05 type 155 mm self-propelled cannon crawler chassis.

In terms of operational efficiency, the long-tube 155-mm truck cannon is much stronger than the short-barrel armed wheeled armored self-propelled artillery. In 2006, China successfully developed the SH-1 type 155mm truck gun and the SH-2 type 122mm truck gun. These two types of truck guns are mainly for foreign markets, and the comprehensive technical performance belongs to the international intermediate level. In the Myanmar military parade, the Chinese-made SH-1 truck gun and the 59-type magic tank were publicly unveiled together, propping up half of the Burmese army. The SH-1 155mm vehicle and howitzer launched domestically produced ordinary and guided artillery shells and also launched NATO standard 155mm caliber shells. With a 52-caliber diameter, the range is up to 53 km. Equipped with a complete set of modern artillery intelligence, command and control automation system, the comprehensive performance is equivalent to the French Caesar 155mm vehicle gun, and the range is far superior.

The large-caliber heavy-duty vehicle gun has good strategic delivery maneuverability and battlefield tactical maneuverability, which meets the needs of modern artillery for long-range maneuvering and quick-moving. It can be said that as long as the off-road truck can get there, the truck gun can also arrive. Relatively speaking, the time of motorized crawler-type self-propelled artillery are extremely precious, and long-distance transport must rely on trains or flat-bed trailers, which are very limited. Since the combat weight of the vehicle and the howitzer is only a dozen tons, it can be used for long-distance delivery with a transporter such as the domestic transport -9 and Yun-20, which has strategic mobility.

China's largest-capacity cannon is the 05A 155mm crawler-type self-propelled cannon, and its comprehensive performance has reached the top in the world. However, due to the size and weight limitations, there are certain limitations in applications and road/strategic maneuverability in some environments, and the new on-board 155mm guns maintain great power, but have greater deployability.

The barrel length of modern artillery is basically increased to 55 times the diameter level, and the muzzle velocity reaches 900 m/s. Under the same technical level, the 155 gun must have a greater range because the shell is heavier. The firing range is 1.5 times larger, and the fire coverage is 2.25 times, which can reduce the number of artillery while maintaining the support range. Of course, there are special needs. For example, when you look at the airborne troops, their transportation capacity is limited, and the 122mm howitzer can be mounted on a warrior or even a smaller chassis. For the airborne troops, a small range and a short range are better than nothing; The Marine Corps needs a gun that can be mounted on an amphibious assault vehicle, and the 155 can't do it.

As a traditional "Oriental caliber", the 122mm howitzer has equipped Chinese artillery since the time of the War of Resisting the United States and Aid Korea. After the 122mm towed howitzer, China soon began to explore its self-propelled version, that is, the Type 70/70-1 developed on the chassis of the Type 63 armored transport vehicle.

As an attempt when the domestic research and development base was limited, the ill-fated Type 83 122mm towed howitzer is equipped with a small number, but it used the Type 63 amphibious tank derivative chassis and the improved Type 83 122mm howitzer to make the 88+1. The 122mm tracked self-propelled howitzer became a self-propelled artillery commonly equipped by the troops of the Nanjing Military Region during the preparation for military struggle in the southeast in the 1990s.

During this period, there was another type of 122mm self-propelled howitzer that used an elongated version of the WZ chassis and used a wheeled 122mm self-propelled howitzer similar to the turret. It was the last development of the Type 83 122 gun and the forerunner of the "big eight-wheel 122 gun".

With the success of imitating the Soviet-made D30 122mm howitzer in the mid-1980s (the W86 was the foreign trade model at that time), the attempt of a new generation of domestically produced 122mm self-propelled howitzer also began. The first was the Type 85 armored transport vehicle chassis. Although its open layout with more canvas is still not bad from the 70 family’s vote of "simple self-propelled 122mm gun", but for export, it also built a semi-automatic ammunition machine. Since the Type 85 is essentially an improved version of the 63-1, there was little difference except that the front of the hull looks sharp.

During this period, the country also developed the power rear-mounted BK series wheeled armored vehicle chassis. In addition to the famous BK1970/1990 wheeled assault gun, the domestically produced D30 howitzer was also used in its 6x6 and 8x8 test versions. As an attempt, although the two 122mm self-propelled howitzers with BK chassis were not sold, they first verified the feasibility of the rear-mounted power layout of the self-propelled artillery chassis, and secondly explored the D30 level 122mm gun "chassis decentralization" possibility.

The 6x6 version 122mm gun shoots at a large angle. A small vehicle can carry cannons. Even Cuba with Soviet artillery and a messy chassis had no work that put the D30 on the BTR chassis. Although the artillery model is updated, the vehicle-mounted machine gun is still a very suitable Type 59 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun.

After the W86 was further localized and improved with new ammunition and becomes a PL96 howitzer with a longer range than the original D30, the new generation of 122mm self-propelled artillery will blossom on various chassis: for example, the 07 series 122mm crawler self-propelled howitzer, 09 Type 122mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer (big eight-wheeled 122mm gun) and Type 09 122mm vehicle-mounted self-propelled howitzer (truck cannon); and the 05 amphibious chassis 122mm self-propelled howitzer that has been publicly displayed, the PCL171 type self-propelled howitzer using the "Warrior" CTL181A chassis, etc. The WMZ322 foreign trade type 122 howitzer was improved on the basis of PLZ89, which has improved its appearance.

In the "Dongfang-2018" Sino-Russian joint exercise, the heavy synthetic brigade and the medium synthetic brigade that China's army participated in were equipped with the 07 type 122mm gun and the 09 type "big eight round" 122mm gun. The Russian army, which has been equipped with the 2S1 122mm crawler self-propelled howitzer for a long time, has a high level of automation and digitalization of the 07-style evaluation; the mobile and flexible 09-style, the reaction speed when shooting forward in an emergency , It impressed them even more.

However, for some time, reviews around the Ttype 09 have often been mixed. As a member of the medium-sized synthetic brigade emphasizing fast-reaction operations, the Type 09 122mm gun is required to have the same water floating performance as other main battle equipment of the synthetic brigade, and the reserve buoyancy in the original design of the car body is limited, which makes the vehicle weight reduction difficult: the use of lightweight tire wheels that are significantly smaller than the standard "big eight-wheel", the steel plate on the side of the turret is thinned (so that it needs ribs to maintain strength), and the semi-automatic loader was also sacrificed. On other self-propelled 122mm guns that do not need to consider amphibious performance, it is normal to install a loader, and on the Type 05 amphibious chassis with sufficient reserve buoyancy, the weight of the loader is not a problem.

These issues that did affect technical and tactical performance to a certain extent did not affect the speed of the gun's replacement. Even though the frontal protection of the Type 09 122mm gun is not very reliable, on the training field, when the Type 11 wheeled assault gun in the brigade organization loses a lot of special circumstances, it will occasionally be seen with the Type 08 infantry fighting vehicle. A scene of direct shooting at the front line. In the second quarter of this year, the combined brigades of the Eastern Theater Army also conducted extensive direct-point shooting training of various types of 122mm gun.

Compared with the 155mm howitzers deployed at the military level to support the integrated brigade in the key direction of the campaign, the 122mm gun under the flat brigade-battalion system must be prepared for the "universal artillery". The 122 direct-point shooting training frequently organized recently is to consider “what equipment is there to fight what battle” in the event of extreme close range battlefield environment, and give full play to the performance of existing equipment. Through the thorough understanding and comprehensive improvement of the D30 howitzer, the domestically produced 122mm gun has the confidence to let users "do whatever they want" when using it.

Another topic about 122mm gun is related to extreme environments. In the dispute between 122mm gun and 155mm gun, the range of 122mm gun is frequently mentioned. At present, the maximum range of Chinese military's 122mm guns when launching bottom concave shells is 18 kilometers, the maximum range of bottom row shells is 22 kilometers, and the maximum range of composite extended-range projectiles is 27 kilometers, which can basically meet the brigade-level combat needs. However, it needs to be admitted that in the initial stage of the installation of several types of 122mm gun, limited by the construction of the artillery supporting reconnaissance system and the training direction, the "performance base" of the several types of long-range ammunition was still insufficient. The Western Theater Command and the Xinjiang Military Region frequently pulled 122 durians to the depths of the desert and snow-covered plateaus to test the performance of the artillery.

Judging from the development and use of the 122mm gun traditional artillery, even if it is a new equipment improved under the existing caliber system, the improvement of its combat effectiveness is not immediate. Therefore, for artillery at all levels of the People’s Army, in addition to the 155mm self-propelled howitzer of Western origin, the 300mm rocket launcher, 122mm howitzer and rocket launcher inherited from the Soviet/Russian artillery system, and the 120mm mortar howitzer will remain For a long time in the future, it will be necessary to continue to explore the equipment of its combat performance limits.

China’s latest 122mm self-propelled artillery inherits the excellent quality of the Type 09 infantry fighting vehicle and is also in an advanced position in the world of similar products. ZBL-09 is a new type of wheeled armored vehicle developed by China North Industries Corporation, mainly used for infantry to carry out mobile offensive and defensive combat missions. It adopts 8×8 drive form for the first time, with outstanding maneuverability, fierce firepower and good protection, and its various performances have reached the world's leading level. Its appearance indicates that the name of my country's wheeled armored vehicle has achieved a breakthrough from ZSL to ZBL (where B stands for foot combat and S stands for transportation). ZBL-09 was designed and finalized in 2009 and entered the international military market. The export model is VN1 8×8 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle.

PLZ-07 122mm self-propelled artillery PLZ-07 is the third-generation 122mm self-propelled howitzer made in China. The previous two generations were 70/70-1 (using Type 63 armored transport vehicle chassis) and Type 85 (exported). Type), 89 type (domestic type). The PLZ-07 self-propelled howitzer was developed on the basis of China's second-generation infantry fighting vehicle. The PZL-07 122 self-propelled howitzer is a new product improved on the basis of the 89 self-propelled howitzer. It adopts a 97-step chariot chassis, increases the internal space of the turret, and is equipped with a new 122 howitzer.

Since the Type 83 152mm self-propelled howitzer, the main barrel suppression artillery of the Chinese Army has changed its caliber standard to 155mm. Since then, the PLZ-45 155mm 45-caliber self-propelled howitzer system developed is mainly for export, but the PLA Army also has a small amount of equipment. It is believed that the technical level and performance of the PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer is quite good. In 1997, Kuwait ordered a total of 54 export-type PLZ-45, and related auxiliary vehicles, equipped with 3 artillery battalions. According to the conclusion made by the Kuwaiti military and the expert evaluation team, the reliability/ performance/ range/ unit price of the PLZ-45 is better than the competitor, the American M-109A6. PLZ-45 was first made public in 1988, representing China’s highest technical level in the artillery field in the late 1980s.

PLZ-05 155mm self-propelled artillery is a 155mm long barreled crawler self-propelled howitzer. It is one of the main battle equipment developed by China. It was developed in the 1990s by the PLZ45 self-propelled howitzer. Developed. It is the third-generation self-propelled howitzer with a barrel of 52 times or more caliber, the same as the German PzH2000. It was finalized for production in 2005 and put into mass service.

In 2005, the domestically produced second-generation 155mm self-propelled artillery passed the national appraisal, and it was formally finalized as the PLZ05 155mm self-propelled howitzer, which entered the mass production and equipment stage. The ultimate goal of introducing Western 155mm artillery technology in 1982 has been realized. After repeated explorations, China finally found and created a domestic development path for large-caliber long-barreled tubes. Facts have proved once again that following trends can always only be behind others, and only creating trends is the only way for a military power to develop itself.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:07:10 ZULU