|Product type:||Weapons & Weapon Systems|
Development of the KH179 155 mm howitzer by the Kia Machine Tool Company (which is today known as the WIA Corporation) began in 1979 and was completed in 1982. It has been in service with the Republic of Korea Army since early 1983. The conversion programme is believed to have been completed some years ago. It is estimated that South Korea has about 1,700 155 mm towed artillery systems but it is not known as to how many of these are M114s upgraded to the KH179 standard.
The 155 mm KH179 howitzer is a conversion of the American M114A1 howitzer and carriage upgraded to mount a new 155 mm/39 calibre barrel. Certain other parts of the carriage have been altered to suit the new barrel and new fire-control equipment has been fitted. The KH179 is light enough to be airlifted by a Boeing CH-47C/D Chinook helicopter and can also be carried inside a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The new 155 mm/39 calibre barrel is of monobloc construction with an interrupted screw breech mechanism. The rifling has a constant 1:20 twist and there are 48 grooves. High-strength alloy steel is used throughout the barrel construction and heat treatment and autofrettaging are employed to provide maximum barrel life. Separate recoil and recuperator systems are used in what is stated to be a variable length, hydropneumatic, independent design.
On the carriage, the layer is on the left of the breech to operate the traverse handwheel on the left of the top carriage. Another member of the gun crew turns the elevating handwheel on the right of the breech. The layer is provided with a dial sight and telescope for aiming and another telescope for direct fire. All fire controls and some of the accessory equipment on the KH179 are equipped with radio-activated light sources. Pneumatic equilibrators are connected between the yoke of the recoil mechanism and the top carriage, to keep the handwheel loads within acceptable limits.
For indirect firing, a panoramic telescope with a ×4 magnification is fitted on the left side. For direct firing, the elbow telescope with a ×3.5 magnification and a 13.5° field of view is mounted on the right and has an effective performance up to 1,500 m.
The KH179 can fire existing NATO 155 mm ammunition and can also accommodate enhanced performance ammunition such as the ERFB projectiles. Range with RAP is stated to be 30,000 m and for normal HE projectiles the range is 22,000 m. Maximum rate of fire is 4 rds/min, dropping to 2 rds/min for sustained fire.
To reduce weight, the shield of the M114 has been removed on the upgraded 155 mm/39 calibre KH179 weapon.
It is understood that South Korea has about 1,800 155 mm towed weapons.
The Iranian DIO has produced a very similar weapon to the K179 howitzer called the HM41. Details are of this are given earlier in a separate entry. There are no known exports of the Iranian HM41. Illustrations of the Iranian 155 mm HM41 howitzer are identical to those of the KH179. There are no known exports of the 155 mm KH179 howitzer.