CHINA / MILITARY
PLA debuts latest artillery weapons in plateau exercises
Published: Jul 28, 2021 08:39 PM
Long-range multiple launch rocket systems (LRMLRS) attached to an artillery detachment with a regiment under the PLA Army fire rockets during a live-fire training exercise in early July, 2021.Photo:China Military

Long-range multiple launch rocket systems (LRMLRS) attached to an artillery detachment with a regiment under the PLA Army fire rockets during a live-fire training exercise in early July, 2021.Photo:China Military



Two of the latest Chinese artillery weapons recently made their exercise debuts in plateau regions organized by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command and Tibet Military Command, with analysts saying on Wednesday that these weapons are particularly effective on plateaus.

An artillery unit under a regiment affiliated with the PLA Xinjiang Military Command organized a live-fire exercise with newly commissioned equipment for the first time in a snowy plateau region at an elevation of more than 5,000 meters, according to a statement the command released on its WeChat  account on Tuesday.

Photos attached to the statement indicate that the new equipment is likely the PLZ-07 122-millimeter-caliber self-propelled howitzer, Shanghai-based news website eastday.com said in an analysis.

With an armored, caterpillar-tracked chassis, the PLZ-07 has much higher survivability and mobility when operating in special terrains, making it potentially China's most powerful howitzer in its caliber category, eastday.com said.

Another new artillery piece, a multiple rocket launcher system, made its debut in a recent exercise with the PLA Tibet Military Command, according to a report by China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday.

The new rocket artillery looks similar to the PHL-11 self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system, as both use a wheeled chassis and fire 122-millimeter-caliber rockets. However, the new rocket artillery only runs on four wheels and has 20 rocket launch tubes, while the PHL-11 runs on six wheels and has 40 launch tubes, eastday.com said.

Unlike many other weapons and types of equipment that could offer a lower performance due to the lack of oxygen on plateaus, artillery weapons could perform even better in such areas, since the air resistance is smaller, and that is why they are some of the most important weapons for plateau operations, a military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In addition to these two new weapons, the PLA has been operating other types of artillery weapons in plateau regions, including howitzers and multiple rocket launcher systems with different calibers and mounted on different chassis, like the PCL-181 155-millimeter caliber self-propelled howitzer and the PHL-03 long-range multiple rocket launcher system, previous official reports showed.

This means the PLA can use optimal weapons in different scenarios, considering when firepower, mobility and armored protection should be prioritized, the expert said.


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