skip to main content

Norinco's PCL-181 SPH shown in service with PLAGF's 72nd Group Army

Chinese state-owned media revealed on 14 July that an artillery brigade under the People's Liberation Army Ground Force's (PLAGF's) 72nd Group Army has been equipped with the China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) 155 mm PCL-181 wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH).

Footage released by China Central Television's (CCTV's) Weihutang programme shows several of these SPHs conducting a live-firing exercise against simulated targets at an undisclosed desert area in China.

The exercise took place in concert with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which appeared to be ASN 209 Silver Eagles, for reconnaissance and targeting purposes. CCTV referred to the strikes as “precision strikes” stating that the shells were laser-guided, which likely refers to the use of semi-active laser-homing shells cued by a laser target designator on the UAV.

The latest news means that all three group armies under the PLA's Eastern Theatre Command – the 71st, 72nd, and 73rd – have now been equipped with the PCL-181.

Aside from these three group armies, the PCL-181 has also been seen in service with brigades in the 80th Group Army, which is under the Northern Theatre Command; in the 83rd Group Army, which is under the PLA's Central Theatre Command; in the 74th and 75th Group Armies, both of which are under the Southern Theatre Command; and in the Tibet and Xinjiang Military Commands, both of which are under the Western Theatre Command.

The PCL-181, which is based on a 6×6 truck platform reportedly developed by the Shaanxi Automobile Group, weighs 22 tonnes and can attain a maximum speed of 90 km/h on roads. The vehicle is armed with a 155 mm L52 howitzer provided with a digital fire-control system (FCS) and, according to Norinco, is capable of a rate of fire of 4–6 rounds per minute.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...