Type 83 152mm Self-Propelled Gun-Howitzer
The Type 83 is the tracked self-propelled 152mm gun-howitzer developed by 674 Factory (now Harbin First Machinery Building Group Ltd.) in the early 1980s. Based on the Type 66 152mm towed gun-howitzer and a Type 321 utility tracked chassis, the Type 83 is the first modern self-propelled artillery system in service with the PLA. The weapon is assumed to be capable of firing the Chinese-made 152mm laser-guided projectile based on Russian Instrument Design Bureau (KBP) Krasnopol technology.
To modernise its ground forces, the PLA demanded a 152mm self-propelled gun-howitzer in 1979. 674 Factory in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province was chosen as the primary contractor with the responsibility of general design and the development of the tracked chassis. 127 Factory in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province was responsible for the development of the artillery and the semi-automatic loader, and 5318 Factory (now Huadong Optic-Electronic Instrument Ltd.) in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was responsible for the development of the gun sight. Other sub-contractors included 298 Factory (aiming sight), 754 Factory (intercom), and 843 Factory (ammunition case).
674 Factory carefully studied the foreign self-propelled artillery system designs and a mockup was made for initial theoretical evaluation. The programme definition was completed in June 1979, and the first prototype was completed in February 1980 for initial tests. Based on the previous test results, a modified second prototype was built in July 1981 for design finalisation trails with the PLA. The vehicle underwent a wide range of road and firing tests under strict conditions in 1981~1982. The howitzer design was finalised in 1983 and officially designated Type 83. The initial batch production began in May 1983, and the weapon system was first revealed to the public during the National Day parade on 1 October 1984. A total of 78 examples were built between 1984 and 1990.
The Type 83 was designed to provide continuous firepower to support the operations of motorised infantry and armoured troops; to suppress and defeat enemy personnel and weapons; to destroy enemy defence fortifications; to engage enemy artillery, tank, and armoured combat vehicles. It is normally found in the artillery regiment organic to an armoured division. Each artillery regiment has a Type 83 battalion, which operates 18 guns.
The layout of the Type 83 follows the general pattern of most modern self-propelled artillery systems, with six pairs of road wheels, the engine and drive sprocket at the front, and the large square turret at the rear. There are extensive storage points around the hull and turret to carry 30 rounds. There are two periscopes, on of which is fitted with night vision channel. The crew communicates with each other using the Type 803 intercom system. The turret elevation is from +62 to 0 degrees with 360 degree traverse.
The main gun of the Type 83 is developed from the Type 66 152mm towed gun-howitzer, added with a fume extractor and autoloader. The maximum rate of fire is 5 rounds/minute. It is capable of firing all standard types of 152mm rounds, including high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), HE-FRAG with base gas bleed, cluster projectiles with fragmentation submunitions and base gas bleed, and indigenous laser-guided 152mm projectile.
China obtained the Russian Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology in the 1990s, and has successfully developed its own 152/155mm 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 3~20km, and can hit a target by the first shot without registration.
Secondary weapons include a roof-mounted 12.7-mm/50-calibre antiaircraft machine gun with a maximum fire-range of 2,000m. Additionally inside the turret there is also a Type 69 40mm rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher.
The artillery system is powered by a front-mounted 520hp (382kW) WR4B-12V150LB four-stroke, liquid-cooled diesel engine. The max road speed is 55km/h, and the max range is 450km.
Last update: 20 February 2009