A Norinco 122 mm SH3 tracked self-propelled howitzer was observed in service with the Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) for the first time on 10 November, with President Paul Kagame’s office releasing a photograph of a vehicle that participated in a combined-arms exercise designated ‘Hard Punch II’.
The SH3 superficially resembles the PLZ-89 in service with China’s People’s Liberation Army, but it is an entirely different vehicle, with a stated combat weight of 24.5 tons compared with the PLZ-89’s 20 tons. The variant was not previously known to have been exported, and no longer features in the Norinco catalogue.
The system that participated in the exercise may have been one of six unidentified large-calibre artillery platforms that China exported to Rwanda in 2007, according to Beijing’s confirmation to the UN Register of Conventional Arms at the time. The RDF is also known to possess Russian-manufactured 2S1 self-propelled howitzers, which feature similar 122 mm D-30-derived guns.
The Rwandan Ministry of Defence stated that Hard Punch II was carried out at the Combat Training Centre Gabiro on 10 November, and demonstrated “how different military capabilities are integrated and synchronised during a military operation at the level of an infantry division”.
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