PCL-171 is a 122 mm self-propelled howitzer mounted on a 6×6 chassis.
The post-reform Chinese army was quite diverse, with the combined brigades divided into: heavy, medium, and light. For light brigades, in addition to tracked vehicles, wheeled vehicles are very focused on development, the PCL-171 122mm is the latest equipment of the mountain infantry brigade.
PCL-171 is a 122 mm self-propelled howitzer mounted on a 6×6 chassis. It was designed as an even more mobile and lightweight platform to complement the PCL-161, which is based on a larger truck chassis but also equipped with a 122 mm howitzer. In 2020 images emerged with this new artillery system being tested by the Chinese army. It was adopted during the same year.
Compared to PCL-161, PCL-171 is built on a much lighter platform. It uses a Dongfeng CTL-181A off-road chassis. Each battery consists of 6 PCL-171 guns, command vehicles, ammunition vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles and other equipment. Some of the non-gun vehicles are based on Dongfeng Mengshi CTL181A 4×4 armoured vehicles, with at least two variants in service. The command vehicle has communications equipment mounted on the vehicle while the reconnaissance vehicle is fitted with a counter-battery radar system, including a radar antenna and an opto-electronic sight mounted on an elevating mast.
The idea when designing the PCL-171 was that it should be much more effective than towed artillery and be able to change firing position in a short time. Conversion time form firing to traveling order is only around 1 minute. So this mobile howitzer can fire a couple of shells and leave its firing position before enemy artillery opens return fire.
The vehicle’s main armament, the PCL-171 is armed with a modified version of the PL-96 122 mm field howitzer. The vehicle has a maximum firing range of 18-22 km with conventional ammunition and up to 27-40 km with extended range ammunition. Each vehicle can carry 28 rounds of 122mm rounds, for a total of 168 rounds of rounds for a battery of 6 guns. Maximum rate of fire is up to 8 rounds per minute. China produces a whole range of 122 mm ammunition for its artillery system. This howitzer is compatible with all standard 122 mm ammunition of the PL-96. It is also compatible with 122 mm ammunition of the venerable Russian D-30 howitzer.