PLZ-45A4 is the latest version of this Chinese weapon, praised as having the same power as the famous Korean K9.

The 155mm PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer has been in service with the Chinese People’s Army since 1997 and has been exported to several countries such as Algeria, Ethiopia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. PLZ-45A4 is the latest version of this Chinese weapon, praised as having the same power as the famous Korean K9.

The new PLZ45A4 specially designed for the Saudi armed forces, was first introduced at the World Defense Show 2022. Saudi Arabia has also had a lot of experience with the PLZ-45 version. Building on its predecessor, the PLZ45A4 is upgraded with a new turret. According to NORINCO, the PLZ45A4 is equipped with a new fire control system, a new muzzle velocity radar is mounted on the top of the canon which is fitted protection against the wind and the sand.

The main armament of the PLZ-45A4 is a 155 mm / L45 howitzer, developed from the PLL-01 155 mm towed howitzer, giving an estimated maximum rate of fire of about 6-8 rounds per minute. The new howitzer is also equipped with a fully automatic reloading system. It is compatible with all standard NATO ammunition, including HE, HE-FRAG, smoke, illumination and cargo shells. Maximum range of fire with a standard shells is 20-25 km, and 39 km with extended-range shells. Newly-developed Chinese rocket-assisted shells have a maximum range of nearly 50 km. A 12.7 mm heavy machine gun can be installed for self-defense.

China’s new howitzer integrates digital battlefield technology with high automation capabilities. It only takes 1 minute to fire after receiving firing coordinates from the front observer. This PLZ-45A4 is also compatible with precision guided munition, such as the GP1 laser-guided shells, based on the Russian Krasnopol technology. It is also compatible with Chinese satellite-guided shells.

The PLZ45A4 is equipped with a new automatic transmission with a 522 hp diesel engine. A maximum road speed is reportedly just 50 km/h. There is an auxiliary power unit, which powers all systems when the main engine is turned off. This howitzer is also fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

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