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M1981

122 mm self-propelled gun

M1981 self-propelled gun

The North Korean M1981 self-propelled gun has a maximum range of 24 km

 
 
Country of origin North Korea
Entered service Late 1970 or early 1980s
Crew 8 ~ 9 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 25 t
Length (gun forward) ~ 8 m
Hull length ~ 6.3 m
Width ~ 2.6 m
Height ~ 2.6 m
Armament
Main gun 122 mm gun
Barrel length 52 calibers
Machine guns -
Projectile weight 27.3 kg
Maximum firing range 24 km
Maximum rate of fire 6 - 7 rpm
Elevation range ? to + 45 degrees
Traverse range ?
Ammunition load
Main gun ?
Machine guns -
Mobility
Engine A-650 diesel
Engine power 300 hp
Maximum road speed 40 - 45 km/h
Range 350 ~ 500 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.8 m
Trench 2.85 m
Fording 1.1 m
Fording (with preparation) 1.5 m

 

   The M1981 is a North Korean 122 mm self-propelled gun. Its actual designation is unknown. The M1981 is provisional designation, allocated by a US Department of Defense. Number in the designation denotes the year when this system was first observed by US intelligence. This North Korean artillery system was adopted in the late 1970s or early 1980s and is used to this day. As far as it is known the M1981 was not exported outside the North Korea.

   This artillery system combines a modified version of the Soviet D-74 towed gun, mounted on a lightly armored tracked chassis. A number of Soviet D-74 guns were exported to North Korea. The M1981 can be seen as a North Korean attempt to create a self-propelled artillery system, somewhat equivalent to the Soviet 2S1 Gvosdika and to improve mobility and protection of their D-74 towed guns.

   North Korea produced a number of self-propelled artillery systems by simply mating existing towed artillery pieces with various chassis. In many cases these North Korean artillery systems resemble various equivalent Soviet or Chinese systems.

   This self-propelled artillery system is armed with an ordnance of the D-74 122 mm/L52 gun. This Soviet gun was developed in the early 1950s and overall was a successful design. Though today it is no longer a modern weapon and can not match performance of modern 155 mm howitzers used by NATO countries and non-NATO allies, such as Japan and South Korea.

   The North Korean artillery system fires High-Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG), Armor-Piercing Tracer (AP-T) and concrete-busting rounds. A standard HE-FRAG round has a range of 24 km. An AP-T round penetrates 185 mm of rolled homogenous steel armor at a range of 1 000 m. Maximum rate of fire is 6-7 rounds per minute.

   This artillery system is operated by a crew of around 8 to 9 soldiers. The crew prepares the M1974 for firing within around 3 minutes from travelling. Two large stabilizing spades are lowered to the ground at the rear before firing.

   This self-propelled artillery gun is based on a lightly armored tracked chassis. The same chassis was used for the North Korean M1974 self-propelled gun-howitzer. Most likely that it is a heavily modified Soviet ATS-59G artillery tractor. The ATS-59G is powered by a 39-liter A-650 diesel engine, developing 300 hp. Actually it is a standard engine of a T-55 medium tank, developing 520 hp. However engine of the ATS-59G has a rate reduced, which reduced the power to 300 hp in order to extend service life of the engine. The M1974 artillery system has a maximum road range of around 350 km on internal fuel and around 500 km with auxiliary fuel tanks.

   Armor of the M1981 provides some degree of protection for its crew against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. The gun retains its original splinter shield. Though top of the superstructure is opened and completely unprotected. In traveling order it can be covered with bows and canvas cover. This artillery system has no defensive armament, except firearms of its crew members.

 

 
M1981 self-propelled gun

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M1981 self-propelled gun

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M1981 self-propelled gun

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