Self Propelled Gun/Rocket Launcher


Viktor Jav

Senior Member
Registered Member
I'm not sure if it's out of a "desire" to keep both in existence, rather the cost of replacing all of their older 152mm guns with new 155mms in a fashion we would consider quick.

For all we know it might end up taking them some 30 years to fully switch from 152mm to 155mm from when the first PLZ05 was introduced, in which case it would definitely make sense to allow the remaining 152mm guns to be capable of firing somewhat more modern shells.


The decision to procure new artillery in 155mm rather than 152mm would have been a conscious decision, not something made on a whim. I.e.: I think it is reasonable to assume some kind of benefit or preferable capability could be derived from moving to 155mm vs 152mm.
The question we need to ask instead then becomes one of "why is the shift from 152mm to fully being 155mm taking relatively long". And for that, I think the answer becomes a combination of cost and priority in terms of overall PLA funding.
The PLA already had nearly 30 years to make the shift, starting from the PLL-01 of which was first noted back in the 1990s. And with the downsizing of ground forces, the amount of towed artillery needed would decrease as well. If the PLA had any intention of getting a towed 155mm howitzer, we should have at least seen a couple of examples by now. To be fair this does not preclude the PLA from making the shift later in the future, but suffice to say that it is not on their minds as of now. And I don't see how towed artillery being placed on the back seat means spending more money on them is worthwhile seeing as they will be replaced eventually, then what is China going to do with all those modern shells ? These are even less likely to be fired than general ammunition, especially with the prospect of China getting into a serious land war requiring huge numbers of towed artillery being nill in the forseeable future.
And I agree that military decisions are not made on whim, but it does not preclude existing biases and/or omissions and oversight to influence their judgement either. For all we know it is just as likely the newer corps of officers had replaced the old ones without consulting the previous decisions making reasons.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
The PLA already had nearly 30 years to make the shift, starting from the PLL-01 of which was first noted back in the 1990s. And with the downsizing of ground forces, the amount of towed artillery needed would decrease as well. If the PLA had any intention of getting a towed 155mm howitzer, we should have at least seen a couple of examples by now. To be fair this does not preclude the PLA from making the shift later in the future, but suffice to say that it is not on their minds as of now. And I don't see how towed artillery being placed on the back seat means spending more money on them is worthwhile seeing as they will be replaced eventually, then what is China going to do with all those modern shells ? These are even less likely to be fired than general ammunition, especially with the prospect of China getting into a serious land war requiring huge numbers of towed artillery being nill in the forseeable future.
And I agree that military decisions are not made on whim, but it does not preclude existing biases and/or omissions and oversight to influence their judgement either. For all we know it is just as likely the newer corps of officers had replaced the old ones without consulting the previous decisions making reasons.
Of course what you say is possible, however given the pattern in the PLA's ground forces where many older/obsolete tanks, IFVs, and artillery still remain in service with minor modernization/upgrades, despite introduction of a significant number (but still relatively small number) of more modern equivalents, it suggests to me that the "problem" is one of not having an urgency to replace older systems (or not replacing them fast enough).


If we accept that the PLA had a reason for switching from 155mm to 152mm, then the question becomes one of why is the switch from 155mm to 152mm relatively slow?
My answer is one of cost and priority -- to my knowledge the first 155mm artillery fielded in larger numbers with the PLA was the PLZ05 in the mid 2000s.
Considering the pace of acquiring new PLZ05s and PCL181s, it may end up taking them decades to fully replace 152mm (post 2030) -- in which case obviously it would make sense to continue maintaining more modern shells for 152mm artillery that will continue to be in service between now and then.


The PLL-01 is an excellent example of an artillery piece that was never procured in significant numbers, likely due to cost reasons. In fact I haven't even seen PLL-01s in service outside of the 1999 parade.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
1M USD for a towed gun?!?! Even including a vehicle for towing and storing ammunition, seems quite pricey for a simple field gun!
India bought 145 M777 howitzers for $542M, which works out as $3.7M each

Granted that includes a lot of other stuff, so I thought $1M was a reasonable guess
 

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