Pakistan’s artillery will be supplemented with hundreds of Chinese-made 155mm SH-15 self-propelled howitzers
Pakistan’s artillery will be supplemented with hundreds of Chinese-made 155mm SH-15 self-propelled howitzers. That’s what the website News Nation reported on December 24, 2019. Accordingly, 236 howitzers will be purchased by Islamabad under a contract with China’s NORINCO. According to some sources, the cost of each SH-15 is about $ 2.1 million.
Currently, the main assets of Pakistani artillery force are US 155mm M109A5 tracked self-propelled howitzers and Chinese 155mm SH1 and 122mm SH2 wheeled self-propelled howitzers. For years, Pakistan’s armed forces have been in the process to strengthen its artillery capability, especially with a new more mobile artillery solution.
SH-15 self-propelled howitzer was first introduced at the 2018 Zhuhai Air Show in Guangdong, China. This is a version developed from older SH-1 design with the main firepower is a 155mm L52 howitzer mounted on the chassis of a 6×6 Shaanxi truck. SH-15 was quickly put into service by a number of Chinese artillery units. This artillery system is also being supplied to export customers.
Compared to Sh-1 predecessor, SH-15 has several improvements. The better armored cabin accommodates a complete crew of 4 or 5 soldiers. The armor provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters.
For self-defense against infantry and aerial threats, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun can be mounted on the roof. The self-propelled howitzer is said to fitted a domestic Chinese diesel engine and weighs a maximum of 22 tons. It can reach a maximum speed of 90 km/h on flat roads, operating range up to 600km.
As mentioned above, the SH-15 retains the 155mm howitzer of the SH-1 and is provided with a semi-automatic loading system, allows to increase the rate of fire twice as fast as the conventional way. The gun barrel is fitted with a double baffle muzzle brake. When moving, the ordnance is held in position by a clamp located to the immediate rear of the cab, which is operated by remote control. When the SH15 is deployed in firing position, two large spades are lowered at the rear to provide a more stable firing platform, allowing it to maintain accuracy when firing at high speed.
The vehicle is supported by a ballistic computer system. Software programmed by Norinco even allows the crew to control the howitzer remotely, ensuring safety in case of an enemy counterattack.
The SH15 has a maximum firing range of 20 km with standard ammunition and 53 km with a rocket-assisted projectile. The maximum rate of fire is 4 to 6 rounds per minute. It is compatible with all standard 155 mm NATO ammunition, as well as indigenous ammunition developed by NORINCO.
A special feature of this howitzer is that the chassis system is capable of raising or lowering depending on the terrain conditions and the payload. The built-in ammunition boxes are located on the each side of the vehicle quite clearly, and are easily affected when the vehicle is moving on rough roads. A total of 48 rounds of ammunition reserve. Elevation and traverse is hydraulically operated.
Overall, this self-propelled howitzer system is highly mobile and powerful. It can be deployed at long distances or can be transported by medium transport aircraft. It is light enough to be carried by Y-9 or similar military transport aircraft. SH-15 will be a flexible choice for quick reaction units, enhanced combat power, survivability, automation, and digitization for artillery forces.
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