|PLZ45 Self-Propelled Howitzer|
|Place of origin||China|
|Wars||2015 Military Intervention in Yemen.|
|Designed||1980s - early 1990s|
|Mass||33 tonnes |
|Length||10.5 m (34 ft 5 in) |
|Width||3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)|
|Height||2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) with AAMG|
|Caliber||155 mm (6.1 in) (45 calibre)|
|Rate of fire||Maximum: 5 rounds/min|
Sustained: 2 rounds/min
|Effective firing range||(HE) 24km; (ERFB) 30km; (ERFB-HB-BB) 39km|
|Armor||Protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters|
|155 mm howitzer|
|12.7 mm heavy machine gun / 2 sets of 4-barrel grenade launchers|
|Engine||Deutz turbocharged air-cooled diesel engine.|
525 hp (386 kW)
|Power/weight||15 hp / tonne|
|550 km |
|Maximum speed||55 km/h (on-road) |
The PLZ-45 or Type 88 is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed by Su Zhezi of 674 Factory, and developed by Norinco, 123 Factory (Heilongjiang Hua’an Industry Group Company), 127 Factory (Tsitsihar Heping Machine Shop), 674 Factory (Harbin First Machine Manufacture Limited Company) and Beijing Institute of Technology in the early 1990s for the export market. It is based on Norinco's Type 89 (PLL01) 155mm/45-calibre towed gun-howitzer.
Noricum, the arms division of the Austrian steel company Voest-Alpine, purchased the design rights to the GC-45 howitzer after Space Research Corporation moved to Brussels. They made a number of detail changes to improve mass production, resulting in the GHN-45 (Gun, Howitzer, Noricum), which was offered in a variety of options like the APU and fire control systems. Once out of prison, Gerald Bull was soon contacted by China.
The PLA also used the Noricum version, producing it as the PLL01/WA021, which entered service in 1987. They also mounted it on a locally designed tracked chassis to produce the PLZ-45 (also known as the Type 88), along with an ammo-carrier based on the same chassis. The PLZ-45 did not enter service with the PLA primarily because their existing artillery was all based on Soviet-standard 152 mm ammunition. However, two major batches of PLZ-45s were sold to the Kuwaiti and to Saudi Arabia.
Operated by a crew of five (commander, gunner, two loaders and a driver), the PLZ-45 is armed with a 155mm, 45-calibre main gun, with a semi-automatic loader and an electrically controlled and hydraulically operated ram that enables projectile loading to take place at any angle of elevation with the charge being loaded manually. The turret has an elevation of +72 to -3 degrees with 360 degree traverse.
Ammunition is 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 on board. 24 howitzer rounds are carried in the loader and 6 rounds on the right side below the loader.
The PLZ-45 howitzer 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 successfully developed its own 155mm laser-guided ammunition. 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 – 20 km, and can hit a target by the first shot without registration.
A standard PLZ-45 battalion consists of 3 batteries, each with 6 PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzers (SPH) and 6 PCZ-45 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 armored recovery vehicles, 704-1 artillery locating and fire correction radar, 702-D meteorological radar, and fire support maintenance vehicles.
Armor & protection
In 2015, the Saudi Army used the PLZ-45 to bomb Houthi rebels in western Yemen during the 2015 Military Intervention in Yemen. This was the first time the PLZ-45 has been used in combat. In late 2015 Kuwait has sent an Artillery Battalion to the Saudi borders as a part of the intervention in Yemen.
- China: Used by the People's Liberation Army.
- Kuwait: (51) 27 PLZ-45s (to form a training platoon and the first battalion) ordered in 1998 and delivered in 2000 - 2001. 24 more howitzers (to form the second battalion) were ordered in 2001 and delivered in 2002 - 2003.
- Saudi Arabia: (54) In 2007, it was reported that the Saudi Arabian Army had decided to order two battalions (54 units) of the PLZ-45 artillery system. In August 2008, China signed a contract to provide Saudi Arabia with one battalion i.e. 27 PLZ-45 155mm self-propelled howitzers. Another contract to supply one more battalion (27 more PLZ-45 self-propelled guns) was signed later in the month. The howitzers were delivered between 2008-2009.
- Ethiopia: 18 delivered in 1999
- Algeria: 50 have been delivered. First appearance was in 2017
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