In 2018, NORINCO unveiled the SH11, which aimed to address this very specific need.

Modern tracked SPHs provide reliable firepower and protection for the crew. However, they are often quite expensive to manufacture, making them unattractive to countries with limited financial resources, or to equip them in large numbers. One of the solutions was simply to mount the howitzer on a cheaper chassis. These chassis are usually wheeled and lightly armored, but on the other hand they are also more mobile. The late 1990s to early 2000s saw a global shift in artillery mechanization, with more and more militaries increasing funding for wheeled SPHs that were cheaper and easier to produce in larger quantities.

China, noticing the shift, also began work on their own wheeled SPHs, with NORINCO producing vehicles like the SH1 and SH2 for the growing market. With “shoot and scoot” tactics becoming increasingly popular, these combat vehicles need to be upgraded. In 2018, NORINCO unveiled the SH11, which aimed to address this very specific need. The SH11 is based on the 8×8 VN1 chassis, an export version of the ZBL08, which is already popular and in service with many countries. The hull would be slightly redesigned and the rear waterjets were replaced with stabilizers.

The chassis has a shape characteristic of the current wheeled armored vehicles. The frontal projection is formed by several inclined armor plates of various sizes, providing protection against bullets and shrapnel, as well as small-caliber projectiles. The onboard part of the body is made in the form of box-shaped units above the large wheel arches, separated by boxes for spare parts and equipment. The horizontal roof of a large area simplifies the installation of a large combat module. A large hatch is retained in the vertical stern sheet, which can be used to load ammunition.

In the basic configuration, the VN-1 APC is equipped with a Deutz BF6M1015C diesel engine with HP 440 power. The chassis has a four-axle undercarriage with an individual suspension of large diameter wheels. As part of the suspension used torsion bars and spring shock absorbers.

The SH11 would receive a newly designed turret capable of a full 360 degree rotation and fitted with a modified AH-4 light field howitzer capable of firing the whole range of NATO standard 155mm ammunition. The howitzer is fed by a fully automatic loading system with an estimated maximum fire rate of at least 5 rounds per minute. Apparently, this turret is made in the form of a combat module with all the necessary devices, suitable for installation on any compatible platform.

The composition of the fire control system has not yet been clarified, but it most likely corresponds to current trends. Thus, it is proposed to install two blocks of optical-electronic devices on the roof of the tower. One of them must be used by the gunner, the other by the commander. In this case, the commander has a full panoramic sight. All these devices are connected with electronic control panels at workplaces in the tower. The consoles must handle all incoming data and calculate various parameters. The composition of the onboard equipment will allow self-propelled guns to fire directly or from closed positions.

The auxiliary armament of the new type of ACS is quite simple. On the roof of the tower mounted open installation with a heavy machine gun. On the front sheets of the tower there are two rows of smoke grenade launchers aimed at the front hemisphere. Due to automated systems for various purposes, designers from NORINCO managed to reduce the crew to three people: driver, gunner and commander.

The existing wheeled infantry fighting vehicle is capable of speeds up to 100 km/h. A significant increase in mass in a new project should noticeably reduce mobility. The maximum speed of SH11 can be tens of kilometers per hour lower than that of the base sample. In addition, we should expect a certain decrease in cross-country ability.

The combat characteristics of the SH11 remain unknown. The new 155-mm howitzer complies with existing Chinese standards, and therefore should be able to use all the available shots of the appropriate caliber. The length of the barrel suggests that the firing range of an ordinary projectile can reach 15-20 km. When using an active-projectile, a range increase of several kilometers should be expected. In addition, increased combat effectiveness can be achieved with the help of adjustable projectiles.

Not too much information has been published, and therefore the future of the SH11 ACS is difficult to predict. To date, SH11 has not received any orders. There is reason to believe that the new self-propelled gun will be able to interest the People’s Liberation Army. It already has several wheeled self-propelled guns of various types in service. Perhaps the promising machine SH11 will occupy the remaining niche. Land artillery will become a more flexible tool capable of solving all the tasks.

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