The PLZ-07 is a Chinese tracked self-propelled howitzer armoured vehicle designed and manufactured by the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO).
The PLZ-07 self-propelled howitzer was presented for the first time to the public during the military parade in Beijing for the 60th anniversary of the Chinese army (PLA), on October 1st, 2009.
The PLZ-07 has been in service with PLA (People’s Liberation Army), the Chinese Army. The PLZ-07 has been developed to replace the older 122 mm self-propelled howitzers in service with the People’s Liberation Army, which includes the Type 89, Type 85 and Type 70/70-1 systems.
The Chinese army operates a large number of these artillery systems. The PLZ-07 has greater mobility, improved fire control system and delivers greater firepower than its predecessors.
The PLZ-07 is armed with a variant of the PL-96 122 mm/L32 howitzer, which in turn is a copy of the Soviet D-30 towed howitzer. It is a proven design, used on a number of Chinese self-propelled howitzers.
It is equipped with a semi-automatic loader. This artillery system is compatible with standard Chinese and Russian 122 mm ammunition. It fires separate-loaded ammunition.
NORINCO developed a whole family of 122 mm ammunition to be used by the PLZ-07.
Maximum range of fire is 18 km with a standard High-Explosive (HE) projectile, 22 km with extended-range projectile and 27 km with rocket assisted projectile.
This artillery system is also capable of firing 122 mm laser-guided projectiles. These are based on Russian Kitolov projectile technology.
The secondary armament consists of a roof mounted 12.7 mm machine gun. The PLZ-07 is fitted with improved fire control system.
The PLZ-07, in a way, is a Chinese copy of the Russian D30 howitzer. Besides the QJC-88 12.7 x 108mm heavy machine gun mounted on the turret roof there are two triple banks of 76mm smoke grenade dischargers on either side of the turret. The gun has an elevation from 0° to +70° and a maximum rate of fire of 6 – 8 rounds per minute.
The armor of the PLZ-07 provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. NBC protection and automatic suppression systems are fitted as standard.
This artillery system is operated by a crew of 5.
Due to new chassis the PLZ-07 has greater mobility than the previous Type 89.
It uses a modified chassis of the Type 97 infantry fighting vehicle, which is powered by a BF8M1015CP turbocharged diesel engine, developing 590 hp.
This artillery system is not amphibious, however it seems that it might be fitted with floatation kit in order to ford inland rivers and lakes. Chinese marine corps uses a similar PLZ-07B self-propelled howitzer which is fully amphibious.
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