|Manufacturer:||NORINCO - China North Industries Group Corporation - CNGC|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
The PLZ45 is the 155mm self-propelled gun-howitzer developed by NORINCO for the export market. The artillery system was jointly developed by the 123 Factory, 127 Factory, 674 Factory and Beijing University of Science and Technology. The PLZ45 beat the US and European competitors in a bid to provide self-propelled artillery systems for the Kuwait Army in 1997. Latest Internet source photos suggest that the artillery may have also entered service with the PLA.
NORINCO and its subcontractors developed the PLZ45 155mm self-propelled gun-howitzer system in the early 1990s for the export market. The artillery system is armed with a 155mm main gun derived from the NORINCO’s Type 89 (PLL01) 155mm/45-calibre towed gun-howitzer. It does not utilise the Type 321 utility tracked chassis used by most of Chinese indigenous artillery systems. Instead, it has a newly designed tracked chassis with better performance.
In the 1997 international competition to provide Kuwaiti Army with a battalion of self-propelled artillery systems, the PLZ-45 surprisingly beat the US and European competitors to win the contract. Apart from political reasons to repay China’s support in the UN resolution to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, the excellent performance of the artillery system also played an important role in the decision. A battalion of howitzers were delivered to the Kuwait along with a full package of support, command and control, forward observer, and radar vehicles. Impressed by the artillery’s performance, Kuwait ordered additional 74 PLZ45 gun-howitzers in 2001.
Initially the PLZ45 was not developed for the PLA since its standard artillery at division level is the Soviet 152mm, not Western 155mm. However, there has been speculations that the PLA may adopt the Western 155mm designs to replace its 152mm artillery guns in the future. A small number of 155mm Type 89 towed gun-howitzer has already been delivered to the PLA. Internet source photos also show PLZ45 with PLA ensign in fire test, an indication that the PLA45 or its improved model may eventually be accepted by the PLA.
The PLZ45 is armed with a 155mm, 45-calibre main gun. China obtained the 155mm/45-calibre howitzer technology from Austria in the 1980s, and developed its own 155mm/45-calibre gun in 1986.
The turret has an elevation of +72 to -3 degrees with 360 degree traverse. The main gun has a semi-automatic loader and an electrically controlled and hydraulically operated rammer that enables projectile loading to take place at any angle of elevation with the charge being loaded manually. The gun-howitzer has a crew of five.
There is also a roof-mounted W-85 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun and two sets of four-barrel smoke grenade launchers on the turret's side.
Ammunitions are stored at the rear of the turret. A total of 30 rounds for the gun-howitzer and 480 rounds for the machine gun are carried onboard. 24 howitzer rounds are carried in the loader and 6 rounds on the right side below the loader.
The fire-control system of the PLZ45 includes an automatic laying system, optical sighting system, gun orientation and navigation system, and a GPG receiver.
The PLZ45 fires a range of Extended Range Full Bore (ERFB) ammunition, including High Explosive (ERFB/HE), Base Bleed High Explosive (ERFB-BB/HE), ERFB-BB/RA, ERFB/WP, ERFB/Illuminating, ERFB/Smoke, and ERFB-BB/Cargo.
China obtained the Russian Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology in the 1990s, and has successfully developed its own 152/155mm laser-guided ammunitions. Designed to defeat armoured vehicles and weapon emplacements, the projectile has inertial mid-course guidance and semi-active laser homing. The projectile has a range of 3~20km, and can hit a target by the first shot without registration.
Standard PLZ45 battalion consists of 3 batteries, each with 6 PLZ45 self-propelled gun-howitzers (SPGH) and 6 PCZ45 ammunition support vehicles (ASV). Each battery has a battery command post and 3 battery reconnaissance vehicles (BRV), both of which are based on the Type 85 APC. These are supported by W653A armoured recovery vehicles, 704-1 artillery locating and fire correction radar, 702-D meteorological radar, and fire support maintenance vehicles.
The gun-howitzer is powered by a 520hp turbocharged diesel, giving a max road speed of 40km/h.