China is continuing to modernise the equipment and enhance the combat capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Xinjiang Military Command.
Only a few days after announcing that the China North Industries (Group) Corporation (Norinco) Type 15 (also known as ZTQ-15) lightweight tank had entered service with the command, state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said in a 6 February news report that PLAGF units in the region have also been supplied with several other land platforms. These platforms included 155 mm PCL-181 wheeled self-propelled howitzers (SPHs), CSK181 wheeled armoured vehicles, and wheeled bridging systems.
Footage published in CCTV’s ‘Military Report’ programme showed a commissioning ceremony for at least 18 PCL-181s. It is unclear when exactly the ceremony took place but the broadcaster said the vehicles recently entered service with an artillery brigade near Tianshan.
The 22-tonne SPH, which is manufactured by Norinco and has the export designation SH-15, features an automatic gun-laying system, a semi-automatic ammunition loading system, a digitised control board, and also has room for six personnel in the cabin area (including the driver). According to Norinco, the SH-15, which is based on a truck chassis and is capable of travelling at a top speed of 90 km/h on roads, is fitted with a 155 mm L52 howitzer capable of firing between four and six rounds per minute.