Jane’s China completes development of 155 mm AH4 howitzerPosted: July 22, 2016
China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) has confirmed that development of its AH4 155 mm/39 calibre lightweight gun-howitzer (LGH) has been completed and the company is ready to begin production when orders are placed.
In many respects the Chinese AH4 155 mm/39 calibre LGH is very similar in concept to the BAE Systems M777 155 mm/39 calibre Lightweight Howitzer (LH) that was originally developed as a private venture by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited (VSEL) and is now in service with Australia, Canada, and the US Army and Marine Corps.
NORINCO states that the AH4 has a combat weight of 4,500 kg, including its hydro-pneumatic suspension that enables the weapon to be deployed in firing position within three minutes and returned to its towed position in two minutes.
The AH4’s elevation and traverse limits are almost identical to the M777 at -3 to 72° and 22.5° respectively.
It is operated by a crew of seven and when travelling the AH4 is towed by its muzzle.
A maximum range of 25 km can be achieved when firing the 155 mm Extended-Range Full-Bore Hollow-Base High-Explosive (ERFB-HB/HE) projectile.
The range can be extended to 30 km if the ERFB-Base Bleed/HE is employed. The weapon can engage targets out to 40 km with the latest ERFB-BB-Rocket Assist/HE projectile, although this may result in a loss of accuracy.
NORINCO has confirmed that the AH4 is also capable of firing its expanded family of 155 mm precision-guided munitions (PGMs). These include the latest 155 mm laser-guided projectile (LGP) GP6, which has a maximum range of 25 km with a first round hit probability of 90% and is capable of engaging stationary and moving targets.
This is a follow-on to the earlier 155 mm GP1 LGP and is claimed to have a higher resistance to jamming. Its multiple laser coding technology enables co-operative multi-target engagement.
Source: IHS Jane’s 360 “China completes development of 155 mm AH4 howitzer”