In addition to offering a complete range of 105mm, 122mm and 155mm towed and self-propelled (SP) artillery systems, China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) (Stand 10-E05) is now marketing the Artillery Master 155 Field Artillery Weapon System (FAWS) in the Middle East region.
This is a complete 155mm artillery system that includes not only the PLZ52 firing platform and its family of ammunition, but also the complete target acquisition system – without which no artillery system can rapidly and accurately engage targets.
At the heart of the system is NORINCO’s latest PLZ52 155mm/ 52 calibre full-tracked SP, which is being marketed alongside the older PLZ45 155mm/45 calibre SP system.
The latter is currently deployed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, as well as in China by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
PLZ52 is a new design with a more powerful engine and is armed with a turret-mounted 155mm/52 calibre ordnance that is fitted with a fume extractor and slotted muzzle brake.
Mounted above the rear of the ordnance is the muzzle velocity radar that feeds information to the computerised fire control system (FCS).
Maximum range of the PLZ52 depends on the projectile/charge combination, but according to NORINCO, a maximum range of 53km can be achieved firing its Extended Range Full Bore – Base Bleed – Rocket Assisted (ERFB-BBRA) projectile.
PLZ52 can fire the full family of NORINCO 155mm ammunition that, in addition to the previously mentioned ERFB-BB-RA, includes ERFB high-explosive, ERFB-BB high-explosive, ERFB white phosphorous, ERFB smoke, ERFB illumination, incendiary and cargo. It can also fire projectiles for greater precision effects, including the GP1 and GP6 laser-homing guided artillery projectiles and the recently revealed GS1 top-attack smart projectile. A total of 30 155mm projectiles, plus associated modular propellant charges, is carried with a maximum rate of fire of up to eight rounds a minute.
Each PLZ52 would typically be supported by one Ammunition Support Vehicle (ASV) on a similar platform, which would carry 96 rounds of ammunition, plus associated charges. This would feed ammunition direct into the rear of the PLZ52 via a telescopic arm.
Other elements of the Artillery Master 155 FAWS include command post vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles with advanced day/night sensor pods, a truck-mounted artillery locating and correction radar, and a meteorological system. Targets can be located rapidly using the ground-based elements, or the Sharp Eye-III unmanned aerial vehicle, which would typically be issued on the scale of three per battalion.