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Type 88 / PLZ-45 Self-Propelled Artillery

The PLZ-45 is a 155mm / 45 calibre full-tracked self-propelled artillery system. The PLZ-45, in its development and at the beginning of its service, was called Type 88.

The PLZ-45 references the 45 times-caliber barrel, with the gun tube length 45 times the interior diameter of the barrel. The higher the value, the longer the tube, the faster the projectile muzzle velocity, so the greater the shell's range and accuracy.The PLZ 05 is a 155 mm self propelled howitzer with a 52 caliber barrel and is apparently offered for export. The more powerful PLZ 04 , with a 54 caliber barrel, has a slightly (4 percent) longer barrel than the PLZ 05.

The first domestic 155mm self-propelled howitzer is known as the PLZ-45. The PLZ-45 artillery was developed as a foreign trade equipment in the late 1980s. It uses a 45-caliber 155-mm long barrel gun that has its own unique advantages in overall performance. But because the body of the PLZ-45 gun was derived from the W1988 (also known as the PLL01 gun) type 155 mm traction and howitzer produced by foreign technology.

Therefore, there is a problem that the volume of the chamber is too large and the length of the body tube is insufficient. The internal ballistic performance of the artillery has not been optimal, and limited to the technical conditions at the time, China could not develop a fully automatic loader for 155mm artillery. The PLZ-45 gun was only equipped with a semi-automatic loader. For foreign trade equipment, the PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer had distinctive features in terms of fire performance and system integrity, but its automation level can not meet the technical standards of the next generation of advanced large-caliber self-repressing artillery that the troops expect. So the final decision was not to heavily equip China's army's with such artillery units.

However, the flower outside the wall is fragrant. Although the PLZ-45 artillery did not equip Chinese troops, it created a situation in the foreign trade market and won a good reputation. This was also the best award for the research and development personnel of China's artillery. Since the mid-to-late 1990s, in the international artillery field, in order to improve the range and increase the body, the 52-caliber long-body 155-mm howitzer began to be favored.

China's army set out to correct the defects of the PLZ-45 gun to develop its new long-tube 155mm cannon to maintain this advantage in suppressing enemy artillery.

In the first half of 2007, the North Company at the Abu Dhabi Defense Exhibition took the lead in publicizing the SH-1 52-caliber 155-mm self-propelled cannon. It showed that after more than 10 years of hard work, China had an independent development of a barrel length of 45 times the caliber, with the technical strength of the longer 155mm artillery.

In a strict sense, a distinction should be made between towed artillery guns and self-propelled artillery. Conventional artillery usually refers towed artillery, which uses vehicles to tow artillery. Self-propelled artillery is able to rely on its own power, no other vehicle traction, maneuver on the battlefield. The current trend is emerging self-propelled artillery gun several types of pairwise integration. The PLZ-45, although it is called a self-propelled howitzer, the aspect ratio reached a cannon barrel level, so strictly speaking, should be called "cannon."

Patterned on the original American M109, it has a similar design and appearance while incorporating a more powerful engine to improve mobility on a heavier chassis. The PLZ-45 has fast response, high degree of automation, and good motor ability. The PLZ-45 favorably with the M-109 in all aspects, and also has a significant advantage in range. The M-109 has been in service with the US military since 1963, from the A1-type modification to the current A6, is a very sophisticated artillery. Not only American mass equipped M-109, United States all allied forces, NATO allies also are equipped with M-109 series self-propelled artillery.

China has become the world's fourth-largest exporter of self-propelled guns. China's development level of self-propelled artillery worldwide started late, but rapid developed. The PLZ-45 tracked self-propelled howitzers undwent successful development in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The PLZ-45 self-propelled guns first appeared in 1988. Kuwait in 1997 and in 2001 purchased a total of 54 export-oriented PLZ-45, as well as related support vehicles, equipped with three artillery battalions. In 1997, the Kuwait Land Forces placed an order with China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) for a total of 27 PLZ-45 systems. This was apparently the first production order for the PLZ-45. NORINCO offers the PLZ-45 as part of a complete artillery package which includes a full-tracked ammunition support vehicle almost identical in concept to the US United Defense M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV).

By 2010 China had become the world's fourth largest exporter of self-propelled artillery. Statistics show that in 2006 to 2013, the world market sales self-propelled artillery in total amounted to $4.11 billion. Data show that the top three were South Korean K-9 155 mm self-propelled artillery, France 155 mm "Caesar" self-propelled artillery, Germany PZH 155 mm self-propelled artillery. China ranked fourth, after four years, mainly exported to Saudi Arabia 27 155 mm PLZ-45-type self-propelled artillery, with a total value of $200 million.

It uses similar ordnance to the towed NORINCO 155mm WAC-021 system. The enclosed rotating turret may incorporate NBC protection and a fire suppression system. The all-welded steel bodywork PLZ-45 weighs 29 tons, with a 33 ton combat weight. The vehicle length is 6.1 m (without barrel), width 3.2 m, and a height 2.6 m (excluding anti-aircraft machine gun). The right front side of the engine compartment has a Deutz BFl2 L413FC-cooled turbo diesel engine, with a maximum output power of 525 horsepower, with a six-speed forward, backward l file manual gearbox dual power output, the maximum road speed of 56 km / h, maximum travel 450 km, the steering system and a hydraulic power assisted steering; PLZ-45's suspension with torsion bar, a total of six pairs of road wheels, the first of which 1-2,2-3,4-5. The different interval between the first and second six pairs together with l strengthen hydraulic shock absorbers, front driving wheel, driven wheel in the rear, and there are three on each side supporting wheels, making for high-speed and off-road track tension driving.

The PLZ-45 driver's seat is located in the left front body,has been turned on after the hatch, front three periscopes; rear of the vehicle is equipped with turret fighting compartment, turret ring diameter of 2.6 meters, the PLZ-45 has a good carrying capacity; vehicle length entrances located in the upper right side of the turret with a rear-facing open hatch, 5 weeks endoscopic and open l seat gun rack, to install a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun; turret on each side l large fan-out entry, the door is equipped with a lookout windows, rear turret ammunition and has a door for access purposes; all entrances were closed design, the central pressure blower forming inside "three defenses" (NBC) protection environment, and another explosion suppression systems and manual fire extinguishing system.

PLZ-45 uses the 45 caliber 155 mm howitzer, also a NORINCO product, its actual barrel length is 7046 mm, shooting ERFB full caliber extended-range missile at a range of 30 kilometers, shooting ERFB-BB/HE increase the bottom row range missile at a range of up to 39 km, only slightly less than 52 times the diameter of 155 mm cannon; PLZ-45 can also use the M-107 NATO standard 155 mm shells. It is equipped with smoke evacuator bore and 3 of grid-type gun 171 muzzle brake, artillery maneuver when traveling to march lock fixed barrel, just open and close the lock is manually operated, when not in use is fixed ramp in front of the vehicle armored top.

The PLZ45 has a direct fire and indirect fire sight, the former is located in the left side of the gun barrel for a 5.5 magnification, field of view of 11 degrees straight tube lens; latter elbow mirror, magnification 4, 9.5 degrees field of view, located in the turret at the top of the left front, with armored shield protection. Sliding wedge breech ring tail connecting bolt gun shells semiautomatic machine, with hydraulic power assist gin pole into the shells, artillery pitch angle can fit in any operation, without having to change the loading gun point; loading procedure since the ammunition tanks fired shells will be automatically transported to the missile position, a grab machine artillery shells into the ammunition machine to the next, a call placed to play the machines into the guide groove, filling the hand lever press, then rises into the ammunition machine to meet artillery axis, the shells into the top bore, loader to load propellant Human clip, you can unlock the bolt gun ready to fire. Bomb semiautomatic machine so PLZ-45 has the highest per-minute rate of fire made 4-5 (continued firing rate of 2 rounds / min), but only with two loading hand, the whole vehicle with vehicle length, shooters and driving hands, Also only 5 people.

Turret rear ammunition bay can store a total of 24 155-mm artillery shells, and the other six rounds stored in filling seats on the right hand of the floor for a total of 30 rounds; projectile drugs can be divided into two storage folder, 8 rounds loaded into the left hand wall, placed artillery saddle after 22 rounds left and right floor ammunition rack. As PLZ-45 specifically for hydraulic balancing machine gun attached to the turret roof down, it increased the number of interior space, although the turret can rotate 360 ??degrees, but usually remains when shooting toward the front left and right 30 degrees of fire, and Lower the rear one pair hoe to facilitate stable body.

In order to improve performance, North Industries Corporation in 1995 after made several improvements, including a new fire control system (automatic column drop functionality, optical sight, barrel automatically point function, navigation and positioning capabilities, and GPS receiver), fighting prepare only 1 minute, shooting shorten reaction time; barbette muzzle velocity measuring device installed base to increase shooting accuracy; using the new fire-control computer software; cancel out the entry of large turret on the right (still retains the shore looking window) ; installation of smoke launchers, side skirts and front track increases, increase the engine air filter, as well as increasing the turret air-conditioning systems.

For many years China's foreign trade self-propelled howitzer was a PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer. Under the guidance of foreign trade for domestic demand, the gun was developed by a related unit. The gun was first publicized at the 2nd Beijing International Defense Exhibition held in 1988. On the road to international arms, the PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer won the favor of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other countries, and the number of exports reached 108, making it a veritable foreign trade star weapon.

The successful development of the PLZ-45 self-propelled artillery system has greatly improved the level of self-propelled artillery in China. However, under the premise of weak national scientific research and technical level at that time, under the guidance of "doing something, not doing something" The PLZ-45 self-propelled gun system developed underneath is lacking in chassis performance and fire performance. With the passage of time and the emergence of foreign third-generation self-propelled artillery, the PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer whose overall performance only reached the international second-generation and half-level level has been unable to compete in the competition. For this reason, the North Industrial Company began to develop PLZ-52 after entering the new century.



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