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Footage shows PCL-161 SPH in service with PLAGF's 78th Group Army

The PCL-161 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) has entered service with the People's Liberation Army Ground Force's (PLAGF's) 78th Group Army, according to a recently released video footage from state broadcaster China Central Television.

The video shows an artillery formation of the 78th Group Army consisting of at least 15 vehicles, including support elements. It also shows seven 122 mm PLC-161s firing in a line. These howitzers may have been part of a nine-gun battalion, as this is the number of howitzers often assigned to a PLA combined arms formation.

The lightweight SPH, which is based on a 4×4 MV3 truck chassis, is similar in appearance to the SH4 122 mm SPH displayed by the China South Division of the China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) at the Airshow China 2016 defence exhibition in Zhuhai.

The gun system on the PCL-161 is also similar to that on the in-service PCL-171 SPH, although the latter uses a 6×6 platform based on a modified Dongfeng Mengshi 6×6 CTL181A.

The vehicle is fitted with a digital fire-control system (FCS), interfaced with a multifunctional display located just forward of the rear-left wheel. The 122 mm gun features a multibaffle muzzle brake and appears to have a traverse of about 25° left and right, with a maximum elevation of approximately 70°. During firing, spades are lowered onto the ground to provide stability to the vehicle.

The PCL-161 is known to have been delivered to the Xinjiang as well as the Tibet military commands.

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