Pakistan Army has reportedly received the first batch of nuclear-capable self-propelled 155mm SH-15 howitzers from China to further consolidate its artillery capabilities.
Although the number of howitzers in the first batch has not been officially disclosed, it was reported in December 2019 that Pakistan would procure a total of 236 howitzers from NORINCO, a Chinese state-owned defense manufacturer.
NORINCO had first unveiled the SH-15 howitzer during Zhuhai Airshow China in November 2018. The same month, it also displayed the howitzer at the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) in Karachi.
The Chinese defense company had also conducted the trials of SH-15 in Pakistan. Although the trials were kept secret at first, a leaked picture of the trials got published in Chinese magazines, disclosing the organization of the trials.
Currently, Pakistan Army is using the US-made 155mm M109 A5 tracked self-propelled howitzers and Chinese 155mm SH1 and 122mm SH2 wheeled self-propelled howitzers.
More About SH-15 Howitzers
The SH-15 howitzer is similar in concept to the French CAESAR truck-mounted howitzer. It is based on a 6×6 wheeled Shaanxi truck chassis for carrying a 155 mm gun-howitzer installed at the back of the truck. It is equipped with a computerized fire control system, navigation, positioning, and targeting systems.
It is capable of both direct and indirect fire. It has a maximum firing range of 53 km with a rocket-assisted V-LAP projectile. It can fire up to 6 rounds per minute. It has a conversion time of less than 1 minute, meaning it can fire rounds and move from its offensive position within seconds to evade counter-fire.
It can accommodate up to six crew members. The front cabin has armored protection with bulletproof windows and windshield to protect the cabin crew from small arms firing and shell splinters.
It weighs around 22 tons. It has a maximum speed of 90 km/h. It has a maximum range of 600 km, which is the distance it can travel after filling the tank to full capacity.