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PLL-01

155 mm towed howitzer

PLL-01 howitzer

The China's PLL-01 howitzer is based on Austrian technology

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service 1991
Crew 8 - 10 men
Armament
Gun bore 155 mm
Barrel length 45 calibers
Projectile weight 43 - 48 kg
Maximum range of fire 24 - 50 km
Maximum rate of fire 4 - 5 rpm
Sustained rate of fire 2 rpm
Elevation range - 5 to + 72 degrees
Traverse range 70 degrees
Dimensions and weight
Weight 9.5 t
Length (in travelling order) ~ 7 m
Length (in combat order) 11.4 m
Width (in travelling order) 2.5 m
Width (in combat order) 9.3  m
Auxiliary power unit
Engine 493Q diesel
Engine power 77 hp
Auto-propulsion speed 18 km/h
Auto-propulsion range (on roads) 80 ~ 100 km
Mobility
Towing vehicle 6x6 truck
Road towing speed 90 km/h
Cross-country towing speed 50 km/h
Emplacement 1.5 minutes
Displacement 1.5 minutes

 

   In the early 1980s China obtained an Austrian 155 mm howitzer technology. Austrian company Noricum licensed China to produce their copy of a GHN-45 howitzer. The GHN-45 was an advanced design, which had a much longer range than most artillery pieces in service at the time. First Chinese prototypes of the new howitzer were completed in 1986. The prototypes were referred as WA-021 or WAC-21. The new howitzer was adopted by the China's army as the PLL-01. This artillery system is also known as the Type 89. Deliveries commenced in 1991. Only around 50-150 of these artillery systems were made. In the early 1990s China believed that with the end of the Cold War there was no need to rapidly modernize the artillery forces. So production of the original PLL-01 was shelved. Eventually this howitzer evolved into a whole series of Chinese artillery systems.

   In the late 1980s and early 1990s the 155 mm caliber was unusual for China. Previously China had been operating a Soviet 152 mm caliber. Even today there are a number of older 152 mm howitzers in service with the China's army. In the 1980s. Introduction of the PLL-01 represented a move of the China's army towards the Western standards in artillery. Though the ageing Type 66 152 mm howitzer (copy of the Soviet D-20) is still the mainstay of the Chinese towed howitzers.

   China obtained the 155 mm howitzer technology, alongside with technology of long-range ammunition. The PLL-01 uses Extended Range, Full Bore (EFRB) ammunition, which has a much longer range than typical howitzer ammunition, thanks to improved aerodynamics. The PLL-01 can also fire all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition. Though the maximum range with a standard M107 HE round is 24 km. Maximum range of fire with long-range ammunition is much greater. The EFRB ammunition has a range of 30 km. It is the same as rocket-assisted ammunition fired from a 155 mm/L39 weapon, except that the ERFB has no rocket booster. The EFRB-BB ammunition has a range of 39 km and again, this is not a rocket-assisted projectile. In 2004 NORINCO announced that it developed a 155 mm extended-range projectile with a maximum range of 50 km. This howitzer fires HE, HE-FRAG, illumination, smoke, white phosphorus, and cargo rounds. This artillery system is also capable of firing precision guided munitions. China obtained the Russian Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology in the late 1990s and successfully developed its own precision guided projectiles. Export version of this projectile is called GP1. These projectiles have a maximum range of 20 km.

   The PLL-01 has a semi-automatic loader. It enables projectile loading at any angle of elevation. The charge is being loaded manually.  Maximum rate of fire is 4-5 rounds per minute. Sustained rate of fire is 2 rounds per minute. This howitzer is operated by a crew of 8-10 soldiers.

   Unusual feature of the PLL-01 howitzer is that it is fitted with auxiliary power unit. It is a small air-cooled diesel engine, developing 77 hp. It is installed in a fairing carried atop the front of the carriage. The power unit is used for self-movement once the howitzer is in position. It also assists emplacement and displacement of the howitzer. This feature significantly reduced the stress on the crew. Even a single crew member can jack the gun in 90 seconds. Also it takes slightly less time to emplace and displace this howitzer, comparing with conventional towed artillery pieces. Maximum auto-propulsion speed is 18 km/h. Maximum range on internal fuel is around 100 km, though the auto-propulsion capability is used only for short distances. This howitzer is normally towed by an associated 6x6 military truck, which carries the crew and ammunition. The PLL-01 can be towed on roads at speeds of up to 90 km/h.

 

Variants

 

   AH1 is an improved version of the PLL-01, manufactured in China by NORINCO. It has a more powerful auxiliary power unit, consisting of an air-cooled diesel engine, developing 110 hp. This howitzer has a maximum auto-propulsion speed of 20 km/h. Reportedly, the AH1 is in service with Ethiopia.

   PLZ-45 is a self-propelled howitzer, which utilizes a modified version PLL-01 howitzer, based on a tracked armored chassis. This artillery system mounts a 155 mm/L45 howitzer. It was developed in the early 1990s and was aimed mainly at export customers. A small number of these artillery systems is used by the China's army. The PLZ-45 was exported to some countries, including Algeria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

   AH2 is a 52-caliber version of the AH1 towed howitzer. It has a longer range of fire.

   SH1: Chinese truck-mounted howitzer consisting 6x6 truck with an armored cab, carrying the ordnance of the AH2 howitzer. It is modeled after a French CAESAR. This artillery system was developed for export. The SH1 is operated by Myanmar, Pakistan, and possibly other nations.

   PLZ-05 is a self-propelled howitzer, which utilized a modified version of the AH2 towed howitzer, based on a traced armored chassis. It mounts a 155 mm/L52 howitzer and has an automatic ammunition loading system. This artillery system was adopted by China's army in 2008. By 2015 nearly 300 of these artillery systems were in service. It replaces in service the ageing Type 83 152 mm self-propelled howitzer.

   FGT-203 is a 203 mm towed howitzer. It uses the same carriage as the PLL-01. This artillery system was developed in cooperation with Space Research International of Belgium and was a Chinese version of the FGH-203. Prototypes were completed in 1994. This artillery system had a range of up to 50 km. However this 203 mm howitzer never reached mass production.

 

 
PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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PLL-01 howitzer

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