China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has developed a new 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (also known as gun-howitzer in PLA service) developed as a successor to the Type 83 152mm self-propelled howitzer currently in service with the PLA. PLZ-52 (also called Type 05 or PLZ-05) appears to be based on the full-tracked chassis of the standard production NORINCO 155 mm/45 calibre PLZ-45 which has been used by the PLA for some years and the only export customer to date being Kuwait who have taken delivery of two batches each of 27 systems.
PLZ-52 are deployed only with the People's Liberation Army.
1. Shenyang Military Region, a Total of 60.
The PLZ-52 SPH adopts 52 Cal. barrel length and achieves a maximum firing range of 53km with ERFB-BB-RA projectiles. Its arbitrary angle automatic projectile loading system and modular propellant charge realize a maximum firing rate of 8 rounds per minute, a burst firing rate of 3 rounds per 15 seconds and multiple-round simultaneous-impact capability of 4 rounds, giving it fierce firepower to neutralize enemy targets.
There is also a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun (AAMG) mounted on the roof of the turret, controlled by the commander. Four smoke grenade launchers are mounted on the turret front on each side of the main gun.
The PLZ-52 has an automatic loading system with 30 rounds on-board ammunition. The 155 mm 52 caliber barrel is provided with a slotted muzzle brake and a fume extractor and, when in the travelling position, is held in place by a manually released travelling lock mounted on the glacis plate. The turret has full 360º turret traverse and elevation from -3° to +68°
Design and protection
The hull and the turret of the PLZ-52 are very similar to the Chinese PLZ-45 155mm 45 caliber self-propelled howitzer and are of all-welded steel armour construction that provides protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. The PLZ-52 has a crew of four consisting of commander, layer, loader and a driver. The driver is at the front left of the chassis with the engine at his right. The driver has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear and in top of this are three day periscopes. The turret is at the rear of the hull with the commander's cupola on the left top side and one hatch for the gunner at the right side. A panoramic sight is mounted at the front of the crew commander hatch. Two small doors in the turret rear and a larger door in the hull rear both open to the right for ammunition resupply.
The PLZ-52 SPH is motorized with a 1000hp engine and an automatic transmission box featuring excellent mobility and maneuverability. The PLZ-52 can reach maximum road speed of 65km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km. The torsion bar suspension either side consists of six dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with a distinct gap between the fifth and sixth roadwheels. The drive sprocket is at the front, idler at the rear and three track-return rollers. The upper part of the suspension is protected by armour plates.
The PLZ-52 SPH adopts an advanced digital fire control system, and is also characterized by quick reaction and outstanding battlefield survivability. Its laser/fiber-optic gyro navigation system can guarantee autonomous engagement capability without a survey vehicle's support. The computerized information integration technology improves information sharing and simplifies operation. Smart projectiles, such as GS1 155mm smart projectiles and 155mm laser-homing projectiles enable the PLZ-52 to strike accurately against various targets in the battlefield. Standard equipment of PLZ52 includes an auxiliary power unit, NBC system, explosion detection and suppression system and a fire suppression system.
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