Self Propelled Gun/Rocket Launcher

Discussion in 'Army' started by FORBIN, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    This raises some questions, does the PLA really have an obscene amount of 152mm shells left unfired to justify having the Type 66 howitzer in service ? Because any military tactician worth his or her salt would know the logistical strain of keeping 2 different caliber of artillery in service that performs exactly the same.
    And I did be extremely suprised of the PLZ-05s do not have manual aim and calibration systems as a back up in case their electronic systems failed.
     
  2. Tetrach
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    Tetrach Junior Member
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    Having two munitions is far from the extreme. During WW2 most armies fielded 4 to 5 different calibers.
     
  3. plawolf
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    plawolf Brigadier

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    Two different calibers is hardly an issue. Most western militaries have more than that just for frontline small arms.

    Many factors could contribute to the decision to keep two calibers beyond having a massive existing supply of shells and artillery pieces; for example; the factories that make 152mm shells and artillery could still have many years of useful life left in their tooling and machinery. That’s tooling and machinery that is already bought and paid for, so the cost of making 152mm shells and artillery could easily just be labour and raw materials plus overheads. OTOH, 155mm would be using brand new tooling and machines, the cost of which need to be recouped from the unit price, so I would expect 155mm to be a fair bit more expensive.

    Since the 152 is merely redundant rather than obsolete, it would make perfect sense to keep using the existing tooling and machinery to make more until those need replacing, at which point the factory could switch to 155mm.

    Even if the PLA wanted to move to a single caliber, you cannot just magic the logistics and supply chains to keep those supplied overnight.

    It can and does take years of full pace production to make enough artillery and shells to phase out even a fraction of what the PLA already have.
     
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  4. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    I dont think you quite understand, it is two different calibers that perform exactly the same but uses 2 utterly incompatible systems . It is different from different calibers of small arms and bullets used by both Western militaries AND Chinese forces because there is enough differences in performance to justify their use.

    To use a most simple example, a 12.7mm bullet is most suitable for HMG applications and relatively static defensive postures where stopping power and range matters more than ease of transport or recoil. Trying to use a 12.7mm bullet in an infantry's rifle is the literal definition of ridiculousness made reality, that is what the 5-6 mms calibers exist for.

    There is little to no difference in the performance offered by the 152 and 155 (whether it be in range with the appropriate charge or destructive power, but they certainly offer a massive pain the rear in terms of logistics because a 152 cannot be used in a 155 system and vice versa.

    The PLA has been toying around with 155mm caliber cannons for close to 2 decades now. With them getting their first G6 Howitzer from South Africa way back the 1990s and producing their first variants in the same year. So the excuse of "there is not enough time" or " the PLA is too big to be equipped all at once" is a rather flimsy one indeed. Not to mention they already have several hundred 155 SPGs in service already.
    And there is no reason why the machinery and toolings used to make the 152 artillery systems cannot be retooled to make the 155mm system instead with minimal effort. To put it in perspective the first prototypes of the 105 L7 was made by simply reboring existing 20 pounder guns.
    In the long run, standardizing the caliber of artilery systems used would save just as much if not more money than just keeping these 2 systems in place. The fact that the 152 is redundant and puts an unnecessary strain on existing logistics and supply lines is already cause enough.
    Either China adapt the SPGs to the towed howitzer's caliber or vice versa.
     
  5. Viktor Jav
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    Viktor Jav Junior Member
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    P.S : There is also how the 2 howitzer systems works that make logistics and cost an even worse nightmare. The PL-66 is based on the D-20 howitzer which uses a vertical semi-automatic sliding wedge action which uses brass cartridges to store the powder charge, the PLZ-05 on the other hand uses G-45 howitzer technology which uses semi-automatic interrupted screw action which uses bag charges instead.
    So not only now you have 2 howitzer systems that uses 2 completely incompatible shells, you also have 2 completely different type of gun charges to deal with now. If that is not a literal textbook example of "how not to logistic 101" I don't know that is.
     
    #165 Viktor Jav, Jul 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  6. by78
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    by78 Colonel

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    High-resolution photos from a recent artillery exercise...

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  7. by78
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    by78 Colonel

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    Continued...

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  8. by78
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    by78 Colonel

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    8x8 self-propelled gun firing... All images are high-resolution.

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  9. AndrewS
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    AndrewS Senior Member
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    You're assuming that the 2 artillery types will be used in the same area. So that requires a number of additional assumptions.

    1. China will actually get into a high intensity land war where it will be firing artillery shells. That is highly unlikely to happen.

    2. That the resources used to standardise on 155mm shells is worth it. Given that air superiority is a requirement to win a high intensity land war against a peer opponent, China needs to devote more resources to air superiority first rather than standardising on 155mm.

    Note that the US Army has almost 1000 M109 155mm Paladin SPGs, whereas the Chinese Army has less than 400 SPGs

    3. That the different shell calibres will be used in the same area. More likely will be mechanised offensive divisions with 155mm SPGs and then non-mechanised defensive divisions with 152mm towed artillery

    4. Despite what you think, creating specialised tooling is actually expensive and only justified when you have sufficient volume.
     
  10. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    Just regarding this, it is more accurate to say the PLA has about 400 PLZ05/A 155mm SPGs. However they have large numbers of SPGs in the 122mm calibre across a variety of other tracked, wheeled and truck based platforms.

    In terms of artillery calibres, they've been standardizing to a combination of 155mm and 122mm with all of their new SPGs.


    I'm not sure as to what the rationale for continuing to operate Type 66s are, but I suspect it likely has to do with cost, which I imagine on some level probably makes continuing to operate 152mm ammunition a logical one. Over time, and with more money, I expect full standardization to 155mm and 122mm.
    (Not to mention the PLA still operates a good number of 152mm PLZ83 SPGs too)
     
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