SH15 self-propelled howitzers lined up at Harar Meda Air Base. (Ethiopian Press Agency)
Ethiopia has acquired Chinese-built 155 mm SH15 wheeled self-propelled howitzers (SPH), it was revealed on 21 January.
The SH15s were seen in footage that was released as part of the coverage of a visit by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Awash Arba Combat Technical School, but the SPHs were filmed at Harar Meda Air Base in Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa.
The SPHs were lined up in four columns of eight vehicles, indicating 32 have been delivered, although not all of them could be seen. Planet satellite imagery shows 32 large vehicles lined up in the same formation at Harar Meda Air Base on 21 January but were gone later that day.
The Ethiopian Press Agency released a photograph showing at least seven SH15s also participated in a parade that Abiy viewed at the Awash Arba Combat Technical School, which Janes has located 165 km east of Addis Ababa. Shadows indicate the parade took place in the morning, leaving insufficient time for any of the SH15s seen at Harar Meda to participate, meaning Ethiopia almost certainly has more than 32 of the new SPHs.
Produced by Norinco, the SH15 is the export variant of an SPH that China's People's Liberation Army reportedly refers to as the PCL-181. Norinco says the SH15's 52 calibre long gun has a maximum range of 50 km with extended-range base-bleed ammunition; its 6×6 chassis has a unique suspension mechanism that improves accuracy; and it comes with a command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system that enables it to operate as part of a network.