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Chinese army conducts field exercice with PLC-181 155mm howitzers in the Gobi desert.

| 2021

According to pictures released by the Chinese MoD (Ministry of Defense), the Chinese army has conducted field military exercise with PLC-181 155mm 6x6 self-propelled howitzer in a training field in northwest China's Gobi Desert.
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Chinese army PLC-181 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source China MoD)

The PCL-181 will replace the current PL-66 152-mm towed gun-howitzers and a small part of the remaining Type 59-1 130-mm towed cannons in service with the Chinese army. Compared with the latter two, the PCL-181 features more mobility and a fast reaction to perform firing operations.

In September 2019, the Chinese has unveiled its 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer called PLC-181-181 during a military that was held to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. According to Chinese military sources, the new 6x6 howitzer is designed and manufactured by the Chinese defense company NORINCO.

The PLC-181 is based on a Taian GM 6x6 military truck chassis. The design seems very similar to the French-made CAESAR, with a crew cabin at the front and a 155mm 52 caliber gun mounted at the rear of the truck chassis.

The vehicle is fitted with a four doors armored crew cabin that can accommodate a crew. The cab is of welded steel armor and provides protection against the firing of small arms fire up to 7.62 mm caliber and artillery shell splinters. As for the CAESAR, the PLC-181 is fitted with a semi-automatic reloading system, but the crew needs to place the shell on a loading arm which able to load the round into the breach. In firing position, two large spades located at the rear of the truck chassis, are lowered on the ground to provide a more stable firing platform.

The 155mm gun of the PLC-181 has a firing of 40 km with conventional projectiles and 72 km with a rocket-assisted projectile which incorporates a rocket motor for independent propulsion. According to Chinese military sources, the gun can also fire laser-guided ammunition as well as the export version of the Russian guided projectile Krasnopol. The gun has an elevation of 0 to +67.5° and has a traverse of 20° on left and right. It has a firing rate from 4 to 6 rounds per minute. The vehicle can carry a total of 27 rounds. Projectiles and charges are stored in ammunition boxes mounted on the sides of the vehicle.

The PCL-181 is equipped with an automatic fire control system (AFCS). Following the input of the target azimuth data, the vehicle-mounted fire control computer can calculate the azimuth and height of the artillery, and automatically lay the gun.

The PLC-181 has a weight of 25 tons and can be easily transported by a military transport aircraft as the Shaanxi Y-9. The vehicle can run at a maximum road speed of 100 km/g with a maximum cruising range of 600 km.

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