Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016

Wheeled firepower [AAD16D1]

14 September 2016

Although China North Industries (NORINCO, Hangar 2) has not brought any of its expanding range of tracked and wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs), the prolific Chinese company is showing scale models of some of its latest vehicles and weapon systems.

This includes the 105mm (8x8) Wheeled Tank Destroying Vehicle ST1, a highly mobile vehicle with a maximum road speed of 100km/h and a range of up to 800km, fitted with a power-operated turret armed with a 105mm rifled gun that has a thermal sleeve, fume extractor and muzzle brake.

The ST1 is manually loaded and NORINCO is claiming a maximum rate of fire of six to eight rounds a minute. It is fitted with a computerised fire control system that enables stationary and moving targets to be rapidly engaged with high first round hit probability.

In addition to firing conventional natures of 105mm ammunition, the ST1 probably can have the capability to fire the GP2 laser-guided projectile out to a range of 5,000m that is beyond the range of the main armament firing conventional natures of ammunition. The GP2 is fitted with a tandem high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, which is claimed to be able to penetrate up to 650mm of steel armour protected by explosive reactive armour (ERA).

The turret is also armed with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun (MG) and a roof-mounted 12.7mm MG for local and air defence purposes.

The ST1 has the firepower of earlier main battle tanks such as the Leopard 1 and AMX-30, but greater strategic mobility because it can be deployed over long distances under its own power without requiring heavy equipment transporters. It is similar in concept to the Italian Centauro 105mm Mobile Gun System (8x8) currently in service with Italy and Spain, with a quantity of surplus Italian vehicles recently delivered to Jordan.

(301 words)