Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chinese PLL05 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar-Howitzer


The PLL05 (or Type 05) is the self-propelled mortar-howitzer system based on a WZ551 6X6 wheeled chassis. The system combines features of the conventional mortar and the howitzer, firing projectiles at both short-range, high-arcing ballistic trajectories and longer-range, less steep ballistic trajectories for indirect fire. The PLL05 has been equipped by the 127th Light Mechanised Infantry Division of the 54th Group Army since 2008. A track-based version of the system is currently in development.


The concept of mortar-howitzer was first developed by Russia on the 2S9 NONA-S 120mm tracked SP artillery system, which entered service with the Russian Army in 1981. The same artillery system was later adopted by the 8X8 wheel-based 2S23 NONA-SVK. Although neither system has been exported, China may have managed to obtained an example from a third country in the 1980s and developed its own mortar-howitzer system based on the Russian design. The PLL05 was said to be superior to the 2S9/2S23 in range.
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PLL05 in service with PLA mechanised infantry troops (Chinese Internet)
The Chinese-designed mortar-howitzer system was first revealed by the NORINCO for the export market in 2001, but the system did not receive any order. An improved variant with a redesigned turret was adopted by the PLA under the designation PLL05. The artillery system can be found in the artillery regiment organic to a light (wheel-based) mechanised infantry division, with 18 vehicles organised into a mortar-howitzer battalion.


The PLL05 uses a 6X6 wheeled chassis derived from the ZSL92/WZ551 armoured personnel carrier (APC) with steeled hull. The combat weight is 16.5 tonnes, enabling the vehicle to be airlifted by a Y-8-sized transport aircraft. A crew of four (commander, driver, gunner, and loader) are protected inside the hull with collective NBC protection system.


The main armament is a 120mm rifled gun, with no muzzle break or fume extractor. The gun has an elevation range of -4°~+80°, and an azimuth range of 360° (in contrast to the +/-35° azimuth range of the 2S23). The maximum range is 9.5km when firing the howitzer projectile, 8.5km when firing the mortar projectile, and 1.2km when firing the HEAT projectile. The artillery could also fire the rocket-assisted mortar projectile, which has a maximum range of 12.8km. The artillery is capable of both in-direct and direct firing. Fire accuracy is attained by a fire-control system, which allows three aiming methods: automatic, semi-automatic, and manual.
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PLL05 in the high-elevation firing position (Chinese Internet)

While the 2S9/2S23 is manually loaded, the PLL05 is equipped with a semi-automatic loader, which gives a rate of fire of 6~8 rounds/minute (howitzer projectile), 10 rounds/minute (mortar projectile), and 4~6 rounds/minute (HE-AT projectile). The turret is fitted with a cylinder-shape electro-optical device, which may allows the use of smart ammunitions like the Russian KBP Gran laser-guided mortar round. 36 rounds are carried inside the turret and hull.
Secondary weapon includes a Type 85 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the commander copula. There are two sets of smoke grenade launchers in group of three, with one fitted on each side of the turret.


The vehicle is powered by a BF8L413F 4-stroke, 8-cylinder, turbo-charged, air-cooled diesel engine, which produces a standard power of 235kW (320hp) at 2,500rpm. The vehicle is capable of a maximum speed of 85km/h on paved road and 8km/h when afloat. Two propellers are fitted at the rear of the vehicle for swimming.

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