pak upgrading its howitzers

Discussion in 'China' started by lambu, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. lambu

    lambu Regular Member

    Jul 15, 2010
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    While the Indian Army continues to wait in vain for even its 130mm M-46 towed howitzers to be upgraded to 155mm/45-cal standard, the Pakistan Army is quietly but swiftly replacing its 400 Type 59-1 towed howitzers (a clone of the M-46 built by China North Industries Corp, or NORINCO) with the GM-45, developed in the early 1980s by the 123 Factory, 127 Factory, and 674 Factory of China’s 5th Ministry of Machine-building and Beijing Univeristy of Science and Technology in cooperation with NORICUM (now Voest-Alpine Stahl AG) of Austria. The 155mm/45-cal GM-45, also built by NORINCO, is a conversion of the Type 59-1 (M-46) to accommodate the ordnance of the standard production NORINCO 155mm/45-cal WA-021 howitzer. The firing rate 4 rounds/minute. Recoil is variable and loading and breech operations are manual. To increase the rate of fire a flick rammer has been installed on the left side and hydraulically operated wheels have been added to each trail assembly to ease the opening and closing of the trails. The GM-45 also has a two-wheeled dolly, which is attached under the rear of the closed trails. According to NORINCO, when firing an ERFB 155mm projectile, the GM-45 has a maximum muzzle velocity of 897 metres/second. It can also fire NORINCO-built 155mm laser-guided projectiles.

    With this latest acquisition, the Pakistan Army will continue to maintain its commanding lead over the Indian Army when it comes to field artillery assets and capabilities. The Pakistan Army’s field artillery enhancement efforts began in 2008 when its Chief of the Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited Beijing in September 2008 and inked a contract to procure an initial 36 A-100E 300mm multi-barrel rocket launchers and two SLC-2 active phased-array weapons locating radars. This followed a round of competitive evaluations conducted by the Pakistan Army of the A-100E (built by CPMIEC of China) and the competing AR-2, another 300mm MBRL built by NORINCO. Also expected to be procured in the near future from China are approximately 190 SH-1 155mm/52-calibre motorised howitzers. The A-100E, developed by CPMIEC, comprises a 300mm 10-tube launch vehicle, reloading vehicle and command-and-control vehicles, all of which are mounted on the WS-2400 8 x 8 wheeled chassis. All 10 rockets can be fired within 60 seconds, and it can be reloaded in 20 minutes. The NORINCO-built AR-2 MBRL, on the other hand, has 12 launch tubes from which rockets armed with a wide variety of warheads are fired. The warhead options include fragmentation sub-munitions warhead, anti-tank mine scattering warhead, shaped-charge fragmentation submunitions warhead, separable HE-fragmentation warhead, fuel-air explosive warhead, and HE-fragmentation warhead.

    The NORINCO-built SH-1 motorised 155mm/52-calibre howitzer underwent extensive mobility and firepower trials in December 2007 in Pakistan’s Northern Areas, and underwent similar field trials in June 2008 in the Cholistan Desert. The SH-1 can fire rocket-assisted V-LAP projectiles out to 53km, as well as laser-guided projectiles like NORINCO’s ‘Red Mud’ and KBP Instrument Design Bureau’s Krasnopol-M2. The SH-1 can also fire base-bleed 155mm rounds out to 42.5km, and its truck chassis houses a fibre-optic gyro-based north positioning-cum-navigation system, battlespace management system, autonomous orientation-cum-muzzle velocity radar, gun loader’s display-cum-ramming control box, ammunition box housing 25 rounds (of seven different types) and their modular charges, and a network-centric artillery fire direction system. A complete SH-1 Regiment comprises 24 SH-1s, four Battery Command Post vehicles, one Battalion Command Post vehicle, one road-mobile CETC-built JY-30 C-band meteorological radar, four 6 x 6 wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, and an S-band CETC-built SLC-2 artillery locating-cum-fire correction radar.

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