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PLZ45 Self-Propelled Howitzer
PLZ45155mm Howitzer.jpg
Chinese PLZ-45 Self-Propelled Howitzer
Type Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Production history
Designer NORINCO
Designed 1980s - early 1990s
Manufacturer Norinco
Unit cost US$ 5 million[citation needed]
Produced 1997
Weight 33 tonnes [1]
Length 10.5 m (34 ft 5 in) [1]
Width 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
Height 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) with AAMG
Crew 5

Caliber 155 mm (6.1 in) (45 calibre)
Traverse 360°
Rate of fire Maximum: 5 rounds/min
Sustained: 2 rounds/min
Effective range (HE) 24km; (ERFB) 30km; (ERFB-HB-BB) 39km

Armor Protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters
155 mm howitzer
12.7 mm heavy machine gun / 2 sets of 4-barrel grenade launchers
Engine Deutz turbocharged air-cooled diesel engine.
525 hp (386 kW)
Power/weight 15 hp / tonne
Suspension torsion bar
550 km [2]
Speed 55 km/h (on-road) [2]

The PLZ-45 or Type 88 is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed by Su Zhezi of 674 Factory, and developed by Norinco, 123 Factory (Heilongjiang Hua’an Industry Group Company), 127 Factory (Tsitsihar Heping Machine Shop), 674 Factory (Harbin First Machine Manufacture Limited Company) and Beijing Institute of Technology in the early 1990s for the export market. It is based on Norinco's Type 89 (PLL01) 155mm/45-calibre towed gun-howitzer.[2][3]

The PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer is used by the People's Liberation Army of China, Bangladesh Army, Kuwaiti Army & Saudi Arabian Army.



Operated by a crew of five (commander, gunner, two loaders and a driver), the PLZ-45 is armed with a 155mm, 45-calibre main gun, with a semi-automatic loader and an electrically controlled and hydraulically operated rammer that enables projectile loading to take place at any angle of elevation with the charge being loaded manually. The turret has an elevation of +72 to -3 degrees with 360 degree traverse.[2]

Secondary weapons include a roof-mounted W-85 heavy machine gun and two sets of four-barrel smoke grenade launchers on the turret's side.

Ammunitions are stored at the rear of the turret. A total of 30 rounds for the gun-howitzer and 480 rounds for the machine gun are carried on board. 24 howitzer rounds are carried in the loader and 6 rounds on the right side below the loader.

The fire-control system of the PLZ-45 includes an automatic laying system, optical sighting system, gun orientation and navigation system, and a GPS receiver.[2][3]


Kuwaiti PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer in February 2011.

The PLZ-45 howitzer fires a range of Extended Range Full Bore (ERFB) ammunition, including High Explosive (ERFB/HE), Base Bleed High Explosive (ERFB-BB/HE), ERFB-BB/RA, ERFB/WP, ERFB/Illuminating, ERFB/Smoke, and ERFB-BB/Cargo.[2][3]

China obtained the Russian Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology in the 1990s, and successfully developed its own 155mm laser-guided ammunitions. Designed to defeat armoured vehicles and weapon emplacements, the projectile has inertial mid-course guidance and semi-active laser homing. The projectile has a range of 3 – 20 km, and can hit a target by the first shot without registration.[2][3]


A standard PLZ-45 battalion consists of 3 batteries, each with 6 PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzers (SPH) and 6 PCZ-45 ammunition support vehicles (ASV). Each battery has a battery command post and 3 battery reconnaissance vehicles (BRV), both of which are based on the Type 85 APC. These are supported by W653A armored recovery vehicles, 704-1 artillery locating and fire correction radar, 702-D meteorological radar, and fire support maintenance vehicles.[3]


The PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer is powered by a 525 hp Deutz turbocharged air-cooled diesel engine, giving a max road speed of 55 km/h (34 mph).[4]

Armor & Protection

The armor of the PLZ-45 self-propelled howitzer protects against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. It is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.[2]


Confirmed Operators

Kuwaiti PLZ-45 Self-propelled Guns roll during the Kuwaiti National Day Military Parade on Feb. 26, 2011.

  •  China: Used by the People's Liberation Army.[5][6][7]
  •  Kuwait: (75) [8] 27 PLZ-45's (to form a training platoon and the first battalion) ordered in 1997 and delivered in 2000 - 2001.[4][9][10] 24 more howitzers (to form the second battalion) were ordered in 2001 and delivered in 2002 - 2003.[9][11] 24 more howitzer guns (to form the third battalion) were ordered later and delivered in 2003.[9]
  •  Saudi Arabia: (54) In 2007, it was reported that the Saudi Arabian Army had decided to order two battalions (54 units) of the PLZ-45 artillery system.[3] In August 2008, China signed a contract to provide Saudi Arabia with one battalion i.e. 27 PLZ-45 155mm self-propelled howitzers.[12][13] Another contract to supply one more battalion (27 more PLZ-45 self-propelled guns) was signed later in the month.[5] The howitzers were delivered between 2008-2009.[11]

Potential Operators


  1. 1.0 1.1 "China Upgrades Self-Propelled Artillery". July 25, 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "PLZ45 155-mm self-propelled howitzer". Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "PLZ45 155mm Self-Propelled Gun-Howitzer". 1 October 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "PLZ-45 self-propelled artillery". Federation of American Scientists. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Chinese Guns Conquer Arabia". August 15, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  6. "Howitzer on Power - PLZ45". Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  7. F Foss, Christopher (2012-10-22). "China details latest PLZ52 155 mm self-propelled artillery system". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  8. "Kuwait Land Forces military equipment and vehicles of Kuwaiti Army". 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Artillery Article Index - November 24, 2001". November 24, 2001. Retrieved April 19, 2013. 
  10. "PLZ-45 self-propelled artillery". Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Trade Registers - SIPRI". 
  12. Chang, Andrei (August 11, 2008). "China to export guns to Saudi Arabia". Kanwa Daily News. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  13. "China wins key Saudi artillery contract". United Press International. August 7, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2013. 
  14. Olimat, Muhamad (2012). China and the Middle East: From Silk Road to Arab Spring. Routledge. pp. 146–147. ISBN 9781135102210. 
  15. Rama Rao, Malladi. (24 January 2010). "Dynamics of China-Bangladesh relations". Policy Research Group. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 

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