2009/03/01

Self-propelled howitzers: China ahead of some Western nations

.
The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has apparently a new self-propelled howitzer (SPH) type (PLZ05) - which is comparable in (range) performance to the German PzH2000, the Russian MSTA-S 2S19/2S30 Iset, upgraded French 155 GCT, Turkish T-155 and South Korean K-9.


The best Taiwanese, Britsh, U.S. and (apparently) also Japanese SPHs still use the 155mm 39calibre guns and are thus out-ranged by PLZ05 unless they use extended range munitions and PLZ05 only standard unassisted munition. (The Japanese Type 99 SPH might also be a 45calibre gun.)
Even worse, the new U.S. NLOS-C prototype is apparently also using an old-style, relatively short gun - and will be similarly disadvantaged. The British already failed in their AS90 Braveheart program and will likely not upgrade their SPH inventory to 52 calibre guns.
The Taiwanese use old and obsolete U.S. equipment.

This whole issue should be a bit disconcerting for the Taiwanese (who are in a great need of army modernization anyway). The Japanese Type 99 is a quite rare species due to the Japanese habit to procure their weapons extremely slowly and at high prices - they might worry as well.

It's no direct issue for European external security, but both the Russian and Chinese SPHs could become relevant as export hardware and might face us sometime in the future.

We're lucky that guns are only one component of overall artillery performance today. It is quite expensive and difficult to achieve excellence in the whole artillery system of C4ISR, rocket launchers/guns and ammunitions.
The weapon systems are usually the most visible and published part of the complex. Their most modern hardware types in both guns and rocket launcher categories (PHL03) are impressive, though.


P.S.: I considered only tracked turret systems, the classic SPHs. Some turretless and even wheeled systems use 52calibre guns as well.

No comments:

Post a comment