|Weapons & Weapon Systems
In the preliminary stages of the design of a new 105 mm light howitzer for use by the Republic of Korea Army, the Kia Machine Tool Company (today the WIA Corporation) procured examples of the now BAE Systems Land Systems 105 mm Light Gun and the German Rheinmetall conversion of the US 105 mm M101 howitzer.
Aspects of both 105 mm weapons were subsequently incorporated in the KH178 105 mm light howitzer. Production of the KH178 started in 1984 and it is now in service with the Republic of Korea Army. This conversion programme is believed to have been completed some years ago.
It is believed that South Korea took delivery of about 1,700 M101s from the United States and that a significant portion of these have been upgraded to the 105 mm KH178 configuration.
The KH178 comprises the CN78 105 mm cannon, the RM78 recoil mechanism, the CG78 carriage and a new fire-control system. The barrel is 34 calibres long and is fitted with a double-baffle muzzle brake. A horizontal sliding breech block is used with a percussion firing mechanism. The barrel is autofrettaged and has a life of 7,500 EFC. Progressive twist rifling is used, changing from 1:35 to 1:18 at the muzzle.
The recoil mechanism is of the hydropneumatic type with a constant recoil length. The recoil and recuperator cylinders are mounted over and under the barrel. In order to reduce elevation handwheel loads, the equilibrators are of a new type using a hydropneumatic and spring system.
On the split trail carriage the trail legs are reinforced and a shield may be fitted. Run-flat tyres are used. All the fire-control equipment and some accessory devices are fitted with self-luminous sources.
The KH178 can fire all current standard 105 mm ammunition plus a new single-increment super propellant M200. This gives the weapon a range of 14,700 m. Firing a Rocket-Assisted Projectile (RAP) the range is 18,000 m.