Type 76 twin 37 mm naval gun
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The Type 76 twin 37mm naval gun is a small caliber naval artillery piece developed by China for anti-aircraft and anti-surface purposes.
The lineage of the Type 76 originates with the Type 61, which was the Chinese army's modification of the Soviet V-11 model of the 37 mm automatic air defense gun M1939 (61-K). In the late 1950s, the People's Liberation Army Navy updated the Soviet V-11 naval gun by incorporating a semi-automatic operation to reduce manpower needed to operate the gun. The result was the Type 61, named after the year in which the development was competed. Type 61 incorporated the semi-automatic operational mode, but as a precautionary measure, the manual operational mode of the original Soviet V-11 gun is also retained as a backup.
Despite satisfactory results, the Type 61 did not enter mass production because China was still recovering from the political turmoil caused by the Great Leap Forward, during which time many military programs were scaled back or canceled altogether. As a result, the Type 61 only entered Chinese service in very limited numbers and never saw action in any battles.
Although limited, the service experience of the Type 61 proved that the semi-automatic operational mode design was reliable and the manual operational mode was not needed. In 1965, the Type 65 model was released without a manual operational mode, and series production was scheduled to begin in the following year. Like its predecessor, though, the planned series production of Type 65 also suffered from political turmoil, this time in the form of the Cultural Revolution. As with Type 61, Type 65 only entered Chinese service in very limited numbers. It did see action in real battles, but not against foreign enemies: during the fractional fighting among Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, Guards in Sichuan seized the Type 65 guns from the production factory and used the guns in battles against each other.
The Type 76 is a further development of the Type 65. The Chinese military wanted to further improve the Type 65 by incorporating a fully automatic operational mode, but political turmoil from the Cultural Revolution delayed development of the Type 65's successor until its eventual release in 1976.
The Type 76 incorporated a fully automatic operational mode, though the semi-automatic operational mode was retained as a backup measure. The model's rate of fire could reach a maximum rate of 400 rounds per minute per barrel (cyclic). The gun saw military action in the 1988 Spratly Islands naval battle and received positive feedback from the Chinese navy.
The Type 76F was a development to overcome the earlier Type 76's inherent shortcomings: due to the open mount, the Type 76 was subject to natural elements such as salinity and humidity, thus requiring constant maintenance. In addition, the Type 76 had no direct link to a fire-control system (FCS). The Type 76F was developed to solve this problem by adopting a fully enclosed turret which included an electro-optical (optronic) FCS. The entire system can be handled by a single crew member housed in a one-man operator console integrated with the gun. Today, the Type 76F remains in service aboard many auxiliary vessels of the Chinese navy while the more advanced and more costly Type 76A is used by surface combatants.
The Type 76A is a fully enclosed and fully automatic model in the Type 76 series. Unlike the Type 76F, the gun is fully automatic, with the semi-automatic operational mode and the one-man operator console removed. In addition to the optronic FCS found in the Type 76F, the Type 76A is linked to radar FCS. The maximum rate of fire, however, is reduced in comparison to Type 76, dropping from the original 400 rd/min/barrel to 375 rd/min/barrel. In addition to anti-aircraft and anti-surface roles, the Type 76A can also be used as a close-in-weapon system.
The H/PJ76A is a further development of Type 76A and the latest member of the Type 76 series. The most significant difference between it and its predecessor is that the H/PJ76A utilizes a large amount of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic to replace the original aluminum used in the Type 76A, thus reducing the gun's weight and maintenance cost.