|Manufacturer:||NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has developed a new 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (also known as gun-howitzer in PLA service) developed as a successor to the Type 83 152mm self-propelled howitzer currently in service with the PLA. PLZ-52 (also called Type 05 or PLZ-05) appears to be based on the full-tracked chassis of the standard production NORINCO 155 mm/45 calibre PLZ-45 which has been used by the PLA for some years and the only export customer to date being Kuwait who have taken delivery of two batches each of 27 systems.
Most recent export customers for self-propelled (SP) artillery systems have opted for 155 mm/52 calibre rather than the older 155 mm/45 as it offers increased range.
The development of the PLZ-52 reportedly began in the mid-1990s, and the prototype was completed in 2003. The howitzer may have been certified in 2005~06. A model of the howitzer was first revealed by the China North Industries Group Corporation (CNGC) during the 2005 Beijing International Aviation Expo. In July 2007, during the exhibition held in the Chinese People’s Revolutionary Military Museum to mark the 80th anniversary of the PLA, an example of the howitzer was displayed to the public for the first time.
Although the turret integrated into the fully-tracked chassis is very similar to the Russian 152 mm 2S19 (MSTA-S), Chinese sources have insisted that the Type 05 has been fully developed in China and is not a copy of the Russian artillery system.
PLZ-52 are deployed only with the People's Liberation Army.
As of 2012, at least 240 units are in service with the PLA, and a break-down by units are summarized as follows:
1. Shenyang Military Region, a Total of 60.
- 39th Group Army, 7th Artillery Brigade, 1st and 2nd Battalions, a total of 36.
- 39th Group Army, 116th Mechanized Infantry Division, Artillery Regiment, 1st Battalion, a total of 24.
2. Beijing Military Region, a Total of 72.
- 38th Group Army, 6th Artillery Brigade, 3rd and 4th Battalions, a total of 36.
- 38th Group Army, 112th Mechanized Infantry Division, Artillery Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions, a total of 36.
3. Nanjing Military Region, a Total of 36.
- 1st Group Army, 1st Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Division, Artillery Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions, a total of 36.
4. Guangzhou Military Region, a Total of 72.
- 41st Group Army, 123rd Mechanized Infantry Division, Artillery Regiment, 2nd and 5th Battalions, a total of 36.
- 42nd Group Army, 124th Amphibious Mechanized Infantry Division, Artillery Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions, a total of 36.
The PLZ-52 SPH adopts 52 Cal. barrel length and achieves a maximum firing range of 53km with ERFB-BB-RA projectiles. Its arbitrary angle automatic projectile loading system and modular propellant charge realize a maximum firing rate of 8 rounds per minute, a burst firing rate of 3 rounds per 15 seconds and multiple-round simultaneous-impact capability of 4 rounds, giving it fierce firepower to neutralize enemy targets.
There is also a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG) mounted on the roof of the turret, controlled by the commander. Four smoke grenade launchers are mounted on the turret front on each side of the main gun.
The PLZ-52 has an automatic loading system with 30 rounds on-board ammunition. The 155 mm 52 caliber barrel is provided with a slotted muzzle brake and a fume extractor and, when in the travelling position, is held in place by a manually released travelling lock mounted on the glacis plate. The turret has full 360º turret traverse and elevation from -3° to +68°.
The hull and the turret of the PLZ-52 are very similar to the Chinese PLZ-45 155mm 45 caliber self-propelled howitzer and are of all-welded steel armour construction that provides protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. The PLZ-52 has a crew of four consisting of commander, layer, loader and a driver. The driver is at the front left of the chassis with the engine at his right. The driver has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear and in top of this are three day periscopes. The turret is at the rear of the hull with the commander's cupola on the left top side and one hatch for the gunner at the right side. A panoramic sight is mounted at the front of the crew commander hatch. Two small doors in the turret rear and a larger door in the hull rear both open to the right for ammunition resupply.
The PLZ-52 SPH is motorized with a 1000hp engine and an automatic transmission box featuring excellent mobility and maneuverability. The PLZ-52 can reach maximum road speed of 65km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km. The torsion bar suspension either side consists of six dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with a distinct gap between the fifth and sixth roadwheels. The drive sprocket is at the front, idler at the rear and three track-return rollers. The upper part of the suspension is protected by armour plates.
The PLZ-52 SPH adopts an advanced digital fire control system, and is also characterized by quick reaction and outstanding battlefield survivability. Its laser/fiber-optic gyro navigation system can guarantee autonomous engagement capability without a survey vehicle's support. The computerized information integration technology improves information sharing and simplifies operation. Smart projectiles, such as GS1 155mm smart projectiles and 155mm laser-homing projectiles enable the PLZ-52 to strike accurately against various targets in the battlefield. Standard equipment of PLZ52 includes an auxiliary power unit, NBC system, explosion detection and suppression system and a fire suppression system.