Type 86 122mm Towed Howitzer
The Type 86 (also known as W86) is a Chinese copy of the famous Russian D-30 122mm towed howitzer, which is in use with at least 50 different countries. It is fielded by the airborne corps, marine corps and light/mountain infantry units in the PLA as a division-level general-purpose artillery weapon. It is capable of firing a wide range of Russian/indigenous ammunitions. NORINCO has also developed a self-propelled version of the howitzer known as Type 89 (PLZ89).
NORINCO developed the W86 122mm towed howitzer in the mid-1980s, possibly by reverse-engineering examples of the Soviet/Russian D-30 howitzer obtained from a third-party country. The howitzer was initially promoted to the international market but was soon adopted by the PLA who urgently needed a replacement for its obsolete Type 54 122mm towed howitzer. The PLA designation for the weapon is Type 86. The Type 86 is found in the howitzer battalion (18~24 howitzers) of artillery regiments organic at airborne division level. The artillery battalion of the marine corps brigade also has a Type 86 howitzer company (6~8 howitzers).
Compared to the PLA’s existing Type 54 and Type 83 122mm howitzer, the Type 86 is much more capable in terms of performance and capabilities. The howitzer has a higher rate of fire and longer range, and is lighter in weight. Most notably, the howitzer has an azimuth range of 360 degree, enabling it to fire at any direction quickly without needing to adjust the howitzer’s position.
The Type 86 can be recognised by its unique three-trail carriage and the box-shape shield for the recoil-recuperator mechanism mounted above the tube. The howitzer also features a multi-baffle muzzle brake, and a small protective shield fitted between the wheels. The gun has a semiautomatic, vertically-sliding, wedge-type breechblock. It is mounted on the two-wheel carriage and is towed by 6X6 truck.
In firing position, the crew of eight unhitches the gun, lowers the central firing jack, raising the wheels high enough to clear the trail legs, and spreads the two outer trails 120° on each side. The revolving mount permits 360° traverse and is equipped for high and low angles of fire, making it fully suitable for antitank defence. The Type 86 can also be equipped with a IR or passive night vision sights for direct fire.
The Type 86 fires 18km-range FRAG-HE, fin-stabilised high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT-FS), 21km-range extended-range, full bore, hollow base (ERFB-HB), 15km-range submunition, illuminating, and smoke projectiles.
The non-rotating, fin-stabilized HEAT projectile allows it to effectively engage armoured vehicles with direct fire. The HEAT round is said to be able to penetrate up to 460mm of armour at any range.
Barrel Length: 30 calibre (approximately)
Max firing range: (High Explosive): 18km; (Extended
Range Full Bore, Hollow Base, or ERFB-HB) 21km
Rate of Fire: intense 6~8 rounds/min; sustained N/A
Fire Control: Direct or indirect firing with optical sighting
Battle Weight: 3,200kg
Towing vehicle: 6x6, 8t
Last update: 20 February 2009