Thursday, October 7, 2010

People’s Liberation Army Makes Big Investments In Artillery

The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance 2010 report places China third in the number of artillery systems it fields, after Russia and North Korea. But China doubtless exceeds both in resource commitment and breadth of artillery investments. Credited with an estimated 17,700-plus towed, self-propelled and rocket systems, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has at least 56 artillery systems in use, development or available for export. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps, by contrast, have 8,137-plus artillery pieces of roughly 10 types.In July, a unit based in the Nanjing military region fired missiles from 300-mm. PHL-03 multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) into the Yellow Sea to show China’s anger at U.S. naval exercises with South Korea. PLA artillery units increasingly include fire-finding counter-battery radar such as the 50-km.-range (31-mi.) SLC-2 and Type 704, and use sophisticated electronic warfare systems such as the Russian SPR-2 radio fuse jammer, a possible Chinese facsimile and possibly a recently revealed artillery radar jammer.

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