South Africa’s Denel Land Systems and Serbia’s Yugoimport-SDPR are competing for the Pakistan Army’s requirement for a wheeled self-propelled 155 mm howitzer.
At the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which took place in Karachi last week, Denel Land Systems showcased and demonstrated its T5-52, a 155 mm 52-calibre gun mounted to the Czech Tatra T815-7 8×8 truck. The T5-52 is capable of firing standard, base bleed, and velocity enhanced shells to 30 km, 42.5 km, and 55 km, respectively (Denel Land Systems). The complete system weighs 38 tons and can travel at up to 85 km/h. It can travel up to 600 km without refuelling.
The Yugoimport-SDPR NORA B-52 is a lighter system at 28 tons, but it is also comprised of a 155 mm 52-calibre gun mounted to a Russian KamAZ 8×8 truck. The NORA B-52 can fire standard and base bleed shells to 20 km and 41 km, respectively (Army Technology). The NORA B-52 has a top travel speed of 90 km/h and range of 1,000 km without refuelling.
Notes & Comments:
The Pakistan Army has been seeking a wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH) since as early as at least 2008 when it procured two SH-1 howitzers from China for evaluation purposes. It is not clear if Pakistan acquired additional SH-1 units, though it would seem unlikely considering that these systems have not been verifiably spotted at national events or during major exercises.
Through the pursuit of wheeled armoured personnel carriers, utility helicopters, and wheeled SPHs, the Pakistan Army has been working to strengthen its rapid deployment and mobility capabilities. In terms of highly mobile artillery, the T5-52 and NORA B-52 are comparable platforms in many respects. The final selection will be dependent on the respective performance of these machines in the climate conditions the Pakistan Army envisages using these systems.