UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


PL-96 D-30 122mm Towed Howitzer

The PL-96, also referred as the Type 96, is a Chinese copy of the Soviet D-30 howitzer, manufactured by China North Industries Corporation. It is a slightly improved version of the Type 86 howitzer. The Soviet D-30 122-mm Howitzer (GRAU index 2A18) first entered service in the 1960s. It is a relatively light and handy weapon despite being heavy enough for sustained long range fire in the field.

The D-30 has a maximum range of 15.4 kilometers, or over 21 km using RAP ammunition. It is used to replace the massively equipped old-fashioned 54 and 54-1 or 122mm howitzers. The 96-type 122mm howitzer has a longer barrel, 30 times the caliber, and a total weight of 3.2 tons. The rate of fire is 6-8 rounds per minute. It has a 360° shooting range. It can use anti-personnel grenades, armor-piercing shells, extended-range shells and smoke screen shells. A variety of ammunition, such as flares and anti-armor sub-munitions, has a range of 18 kilometers using ordinary shells, and a range of up to 21 kilometers using recessed extended-range projectiles.

Distinctive features include its low mobile mounting and above-barrel recoil system. Type-96 122mm howitzer, the chinese variant of soviet D30, has a unique feature. With its striking three-leg stabilising system the D-30 can be rapidly traversed through 360 degrees. It can rotate a full 360 degree without moving from the position as the wheels of it can be lifted up from the ground balancing on its three trails.

The howitzer is equipped with a Type PG-1M panoramic sight with a magnification of 4x and a 10-degreee field of view; Type OP4M telescopic sight with a magnification of 5.5x and 11-degree field of view; and a Type K-1 indicator with a 10-degree field of view. The ordnance has its recoil system mounted above the barrel and has a multi-slotted muzzle brake. A gun shields provides some protection over the frontal arc for the crew of 7. In the firing position the wheels are raised of the ground and located on each side of the gun shield.

The gun body is composed of a single-layer barrel, a tail, a tail ring, two hoops, a muzzle brake and a tow bar. Its main function is to give the projectile the correct flight direction, and under the impetus of the gunpowder gas, to give the projectile a certain initial velocity and rotational movement. After launch, the barrel moves backwards and re-enters along the rail groove of the cradle, so that the barrel does not rotate and change. The muzzle brake is more efficient (54%), and the tow ring and tow bar are fixed on the front and bottom of the muzzle brake.

The breech block is a semi-automatic vertical wedge type, and a bullet-proof plate is installed in the U-shaped groove of the breech block. It is used to lock the barrel, fire shells and draw out the shells. Its structure is composed of a locking device, a semi-automatic device, a launching device, a safety device, a bullet-proof device and a pumping device.

The cradle is used to keep the gun body in the correct direction of movement during recoil and recoil. The cradle is an inverted trough cradle, the recoil part is suspended on the cradle, and the cradle is composed of the cradle body and the trunnion . The parking machine and the reentry machine are installed above the cradle. The anti-danger board is located on the left rear side of the cradle, on which is equipped with a firing handle, a dialer handle and a shooting angle safety device. The left side of the cradle is equipped with an anti-danger plate with a joint pin mechanism. The interlock mechanism is mainly used to release the firing mechanism when the gun tail is within a certain range above the large frame and the firing angle is not greater than 22 degrees. When the artillery fires at a firing angle of less than 22 degrees, the directional firing range is 360 degrees; when firing at a firing angle greater than 22 degrees, the directional firing range is 124 degrees between the three large frames.

The anti-recoil device consists of a retreat machine and a recoil machine. People usually call the recoil device the heart of the artillery. During the launch of the artillery, it can consume and absorb part of the recoil kinetic energy to reduce the impact on the gun mount . When the recoil is over, make the recoil part of the artillery balance and return to the position, and make sure that the recoil part does not slide down at any elevation angle. The retreat machine is a hydraulic control rod type with a spring-type liquid volume regulator. It is equipped with 10 liters of retreat fluid. The reentry machine is a gas-liquid type, and it is equipped with nitrogen or air sealed with the retreat fluid.

The upper frame is the support for the landing part of the artillery and the main body of the revolving part. There is a sleeve at the lower part of the upper frame to connect the vertical shaft of the moving part. The shell of the high-low machine is also installed on the left side panel of the upper frame.

The lower frame is welded by cast steel, and the upper surface of the frame is installed with a turbine flange that meshes with the steering wheel. There is a sleeve at the lower part of the lower frame for engaging with the axle. Three large frame legs of box-shaped welding structure are connected to the lower frame. One of the frame legs is welded and fixed on the lower frame, which is called a fixed frame leg, and the other two are movable frame legs, which are connected by hinges. During the battle, the three large frames were opened and fixed with footstools and stele piles. When marching, the two large movable frames are folded and placed on the fixed frame, and the front end of the gun body is connected and fixed with the fixed frame. As a result, the total length of the artillery march is shortened, the transition radius is reduced, and the mobility of the artillery is improved.

The high-low Direction machine is a single-tooth arc type, and the high-low machine shell is installed on the upper frame, located on the left side of the artillery to ensure the height range of the barrel from -7° to +70°. The steering gear is a turbo-worm type, located on the left side of the upper frame. The steering gear worm is installed in an eccentric sleeve. When the shooting direction is changed quickly, the steering gear can release the barrel and rotate quickly, which is convenient for shooting targets in any direction. Ensure that the artillery 360° high and low firing range. The quick release mechanism of the steering gear enables the upper mechanism to be separated from the steering gear and quickly rotate to the required position. The quick release mechanism can only make the gun body point roughly in the required direction, and then reconnect the direction machine for precise adjustment.

The balance machine is arranged on the left side of the artillery and consists of two sleeves. The lower fulcrum is on the curved arm of the artillery wheel, which is a movable fulcrum, which is used to reduce the turning moment of the artillery wheel during the transition from march to battle. It is a pneumatic type, used to balance the weight of the lifting and landing parts, so as to ensure that the gunner turns Shiba Yuanhuan to move the high and low handwheels lightly and smoothly.

There is a jack seat plate in the center of the lower part of the lower frame, and its crank handle is located in front of the lower frame of the ginger wolf. When shooting, use a jack to lift the wheels off the ground and lower the height of the whole gun. The shooting posture is low and the line of fire is only 0.9 meters high, which is convenient for concealed combat with armored targets such as tanks.

The type 96 122mm howitzer can fire a 21.76kg projectile, with a range of 15,300m to 18,000m or between 9 to 11 miles. Along with the standard projectile the type 96 can also fire a wide range of ordnance that is designed to attack surface targets and armoured vehicles.

The gun can complete the combat state conversion action within 2 minutes, and can conduct battlefield maneuvers at a speed of 60km/n. The maximum range when launching explosive grenade is 15.3km. When launching armor-piercing projectiles to armored targets, the direct aiming distance is about 950m, the thickness of armor-breaking is 460mm, and the armor-piercing projectile can penetrate 460mm with shaped charge. The maximum range of a normal grenade is 15.3km. D-30A type (maximum range of 21.9 kilometers, maximum range of 15400 meters when launching rocket extended range shells. It was once equipped with 122 mm sarin shells with a total weight of 22.2 kg, of which sarin poison was 1.3 kg, and the detonator was TNT.

In addition to being able to launch all standard 122mm sub-loaded ammunition, it can also launch enhanced 122mm ammunition developed by China. Among them, the maximum range of high-explosive air-bottom ammunition and high-explosive bottom-platoon ammunition is up to 18 kilometers and 22 kilometers, there are two other 122mm extended-range artillery shells that are sub-munitions, equipped with MS15 fuzes, each containing 33 sub-munitions, each sub-munition can penetrate 80 mm steel armor, which can be used to attack For infantry clusters on top of armored vehicles or open areas, these ammunition can also be used for Type 83/86 towed 122 and Type 89 122 crawler self-propelled howitzers.

In modern warfare, the depth of the battlefield has been significantly deepened, and ordinary grenade and bottom row extended-range grenade cannot meet the needs of certain combat missions due to their short range. The composite extended-range projectile has a far greater range than the bottom-row extended-range projectile, so it can shoot at important targets in the depths of the enemy (headquarters, assembly areas, and transportation hubs) without changing the firing position. Fire support and long-range ground fire suppression against enemy ground forces.

The composite extended-range projectile has a far greater range than the bottom-platform extended-range projectile, so it can shoot at important targets in the depths of the enemy (headquarters, assembly areas, transportation hubs) and remote ground combat troops without changing the firing position. Fire support and long-range ground fire suppression against enemy ground forces. The projectile is based on the bottom row extended-range projectile, and aims at the changing law of the projectile’s flight resistance. It is a new range-extending approach that comprehensively applies the bottom row drag reduction and rocket assisted range extension technologies.

Using the extended range method of bottom row first and then rocket can give full play to the advantages of these two extended range technologies and avoid their shortcomings. When this compound range extension is combined with high initial velocity and low resistance elastic technology, the range extension rate can reach more than 50%. At present, the commonly used ammunition for the domestic 122mm caliber howitzer is ordinary grenade and bottom row extended range projectile. The development of the 122mm composite extended range projectile fills the domestic gap, greatly increases the range of the 122mm caliber howitzer and improves combat effectiveness.

D30-2 is slightly lighter than D30. Although no longer manufactured in Russia the D-30 is still manufactured internationally and is in service in more than 60 countries' armed forces. The 2A18 gun is the primary weapon of the 2S1 self-propelled howitzer. There are also Egyptian, Chinese, and Syrian self-propelled variants and conversions. The Syrian conversion utilizes the hull of a T-34 tank.

Airborne units are equipped with a version of the Type-96 122-mm. gun, but a new tracked airmobile APC may feature a mortar or gun system. The ZBD-09 122-mm gun system could eventually feature in airmobile army units.

Compared with similar howitzers at home and abroad, Type 96 has compact structure, convenient operation, long range, high precision, simple technology, and low cost. It can be said to have caught up with the world's advanced level, especially the type 96's 360° circular firing capability and long range.

This domestic artillery was exported to Pakistan and Tanzania. As part of a sweeping modernisation process, by 2015 the United Wa State Army (UWSA) based in northeastern Myanmar was fielding new Chinese towed artillery and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). The UWSA is the only Ethnic Armed Organization to have heavy artillery that can match the firepower of the Myanmar Army.

Images seen by IHS Jane's that were taken in early in 2015 near Panghsang, the capital of the UWSA-administered Shan State Special Region 2 (SR2), show UWSA troops training with Type 96 122 mm howitzers-the Chinese copy of the Soviet D-30 gun produced by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco)-and HJ-8 (Red Arrow-8) tube-launched, optically tracked wire-guided anti-tank missiles (ATGMs). This marked the first time the UWSA-estimated to number 20,000-25,000 regular troops-has been confirmed to have added either system to its increasingly sophisticated inventory.

Western countries believe that from a technical point of view, the D-30 howitzer was one of the best weapons of the same level in the world at that time, and its accuracy, stability and reliability were relatively good. At present, the artillery is one of the master artillery pieces of China's airborne troops and the division's artillery regiment. It has been exported to many countries in the Warsaw Pact, the Middle East and North Africa in large quantities. It is one of the most widely used artillery weapon designs in the world. It is second to none in the world of similar artillery.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:06:48 ZULU