G6 howitzer

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G6 Rhino
G6 howitzer
G6 howitzer parked at Air Force Base Ysterplaat in 2006.
Type Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin South Africa
Service history
Used by See Operators
Wars South African Border War
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Production history
Designer Lyttelton Engineering Works[1]
Designed 1981[2]
Manufacturer Denel Land Systems (turret)
Land Systems OMC (chassis)[3]
Unit cost USD $3,272,000 (new)[4]
Produced 1988 - 1999[4]
No. built 154[4]
Variants See Variants
Specifications
Weight 46 tonnes (51 short tons; 45 long tons)[5]
Length 9.20 m (30 ft 2 in) (hull)[5]
Width 3.40 m (11 ft 2 in)[5]
Height 3.20 m (10 ft 6 in)[5]
Crew 6[3]

Main
armament
155mm G5 howitzer (47 rounds)[5]
Secondary
armament
12.7mm M2 Browning machine gun (900 rounds)[5]
Engine Magirus Deutz Model FL 413 F/FR air-cooled diesel[4]
525 hp (391 kW)[5]
Power/weight 11.17hp /tonne (8.7 kW/tonne)[3]
Suspension Torsion bar with hydraulic shock dampers[4]
Ground clearance 0.45 m (1 ft 6 in)[3]
Fuel capacity 700 litres[5]
Operational
range
700 km[3]
Speed 90 km/h (55 mph)[5]

The G6, sometimes denoted as the G6 Rhino,[6] is a South African mine-protected self-propelled howitzer.[7] It was developed as a turreted, self-propelled variant of the G5 howitzer series, mating the gun to a six-wheeled armoured chassis.[8] Design work on the G6 began in the late 1970s to replace the obsolescent Sexton being retired from service with the artillery regiments of the South African Army.[9] Serial production commenced between 1988 and 1999.[4]

At the time of its introduction, the G6 was considered one of the most mobile self-propelled howitzers in service.[10] Its chassis was engineered to be mine-resistant and blastproof, allowing it to survive multiple TM-46 detonations during trials.[11] The G6 was conceived as a wheeled rather than a tracked vehicle for this purpose, as well as to allow it to deploy long distances by road without consuming excessive quantities of fuel or requiring a tank transporter.[11]

G6s entered service during the last two years of the South African Border War, frequently shelling positions held by the People's Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) during the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.[12] Their ability to bombard a target and change positions rapidly in less than two minutes, with minimal preparation, greatly reduced the threat posed by retaliatory Angolan air raids and counter-battery fire.[13] A number of G6s were subsequently manufactured for export and purchased by Abu Dhabi and Oman.[14] Export models included a specialist anti-aircraft variant with a GEC-Marconi Marksman turret and twin-barrelled 35mm autocannon.[15]

Chile briefly produced the G6 under licence as the CC-SP-45, although this arrangement was later terminated after the system was not adopted by that country's armed forces.[4] Iraq also manufactured its own domestic variant of the G6[16] as the Al Majnoon with technical assistance from Canadian artillery engineer Gerald Bull, which later evolved into the much larger and more sophisticated Al Fao.[17]

Ammunition characteristics[edit]

G5/G6 ammunition
  • Maximum range:
    • 30,000 m with standard HE rounds,
    • 39,000 m with HE base bleed rounds, and
    • 42,000 m with HE base bleed rounds (BB—fired from G6-52)
    • 50,000 m with HE base bleed rounds (BB—fired from G6-52 extended range)
    • 52,500 m with a special velocity-enhanced long range projectile (V-LAP—fired from G6).
    • 58,000 m with a special velocity-enhanced long range projectile (V-LAP—fired from G6-52).
    • 67,450 m M9703A1 V-LAP round (tested successfully to 73,000 m by Denel in G6-52 extended range platform)
  • Minimum range: 3,000 m.
  • Rate of fire: 4 round/min, 2 round/min sustained.
  • Ammunition: 155 mm ERFB. 47 rounds, 50 charges, 64 primers and fuzes
  • Accuracy: 0.1% of range in azimuth, 0.48% of range in range
  • In 2012 four rounds of M982 Excalibur precision guided munitions were fired to a range of 38 km, all landing within 5 m of the target.[18]

Variants[edit]

  • G6
  • G6 M1A3: exported UAE version
  • G6-52 (23 litre chamber)
  • G6-52 extended range (25 litre chamber)
    • Reduced crew to 3–5;
    • can fire projectile up to 67 km at a rate of fire of eight rounds/minute;
    • increased off-road speeds to nearly 70 km/h;
    • implemented multiple rounds simultaneous impact (MRSI) technology and can land six (G6-52L variant) or five (G6-52) rounds simultaneously at targets up to 25 km away; and
    • is currently undergoing extensive trials.
  • G6 Marksman: a British SPAAG version, combining the G6's base vehicle with the Marksman turret.[19]

Operators[edit]

Map of G6 operators in blue

Combat history[edit]

The first G6 prototype appeared in 1981, during the height of the South African Border War.[2] Four engineering development models were being tested with the South African Defence Force by the mid-1980s.[2] In October 1987, the South African government ordered all the G6s deployed to Angola for combat trials as part of Operation Hooper.[12] One suffered an engine failure, so only three actually reached Angola, where they joined expeditionary troops of the 4 South African Infantry Battalion.[2] Operating as an independent battery, the three G6s were instrumental in the bombardment of the strategic Angolan airfield at Cuito Cuanavale.[12] In this their crews were significantly aided by South African special forces acting as forward artillery observers near the airfield; on one occasion the G6s were able to destroy four Angolan Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s on the ground as they attempted to take off.[8]

The heightened artillery threat to the Cuito Cuanavale airfield eventually forced the Angolan pilots to relocate their operations to another airstrip at Menongue, which was beyond the range of the G5 and G6 but severely diminished their ability to time and execute their missions, given Menongue's distance from the actual fighting.[12] However, they also began making South African artillery positions the primary targets of their raids, forcing the G6 crews to constantly shift positions after each bombardment.[2] The G6s themselves were considered so valuable that an air defence contingent from South Africa's 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment was subsequently attached to the battery for the remainder of the campaign.[2]

The G6 is not known to have seen combat again until 2015, when a single battery was deployed with the United Arab Emirates Defence Force to Aden during the Yemeni Crisis.[23] The howitzers were landed in Aden by ship and escorted by a large Emirati armoured formation.[23] They have since been used to shell Houthi militant positions in support of Emirati and allied Yemeni offensives carried out near Taiz.[24]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Armour and Artillery (2002 ed.). Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 698. ISBN 978-0710623096. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Harmse, Kyle; Dunstan, Simon (23 February 2017). South African Armour of the Border War 1975–89. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. pp. 32–46. ISBN 978-1472817433. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Christopher F. Foss. Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition Guide (2000 ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 440–441. ISBN 978-0-00-472452-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "G6 Renoster 155 mm Self-Propelled Howitzer". Newtown, Connecticut, United States: Forecast International, Incorporated. 2000. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chant, Christopher (1987). A Compendium of Armaments and Military Hardware. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-7102-0720-4. OCLC 14965544. 
  6. ^ Chant, Christopher (1997). An illustrated data guide to modern artillery. London: Tiger Books International. p. 29. ISBN 978-1855018617. 
  7. ^ "Weapon systems: Artillery - GV6". South African Army. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Greeff, I.B. (June 1992). "South Africa's Modern Long Tom". Military History Journal. The South African Military History Society. 9 (1). ISSN 0026-4016. 
  9. ^ "Obsolescence risk mitigation study for G6". Rivonia, Johannesburg: ITWeb. 6 September 2011. Archived from the original on 30 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Jane's International Defence Review. 34. 2001 https://books.google.com/books?id=5ti5AAAAIAAJ.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ a b Camp, Steve; Helmoed-Römer, Heitman (November 2014). Surviving the Ride: A pictorial history of South African Manufactured Mine-Protected vehicles. Pinetown: 30 Degrees South. p. 224-225. ISBN 978-1928211-17-4. 
  12. ^ a b c d Weigert, Stephen (2011). Angola: A Modern Military History. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 87–96. ISBN 978-0230117778. 
  13. ^ Malan, Magnus (2006). My Life with the SA Defence Force. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis. pp. 236–237. ISBN 978-1869191146. 
  14. ^ "Trade Registers". Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  15. ^ Cordesman, Anthony (1997). Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE: Challenges of Security. Boulder: Westview Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0813332406. 
  16. ^ Ṣāyigh, Yazīd (1992). Arab Military Industry: Capability, Performance, and Impact. London: Brassey's Incorporated, Publishing House. p. 110. ISBN 978-0080417776. 
  17. ^ Chauhan, Sharad (2003). War on Iraq. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation. pp. 258–259. ISBN 978-8176484787. 
  18. ^ "Raytheon Fires Excalibur from G6 Self-Propelled Howitzer". Defense & Aerospace Week. 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2016-11-06. 
  19. ^ "Denel in UK gun link-up". Flight International. Flightglobal.com (14–20 September 2004): 10. September 2004. ISSN 0015-3710. 
  20. ^ a b c "G6 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer, South Africa". army-technology.com. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  21. ^ "Fact file: G6 L45 self-propelled towed gun-howitzer". defenceWeb. Retrieved 2016-11-06. 
  22. ^ "G6 Rhino 155mm SELF-PROPELLED GUN-HOWITZER". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Binnie, Jeremy (7 August 2015). "Analysis: Emirati armoured brigade spearheads Aden breakout". London: Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  24. ^ "SA arms used to bomb civilians in Yemen". The Sunday Times. Johannesburg. 11 November 2015. Archived from the original on 24 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 

External links[edit]