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Algeria displays new Chinese artillery

New Chinese artillery in AlgeriaThe Algerian military has for the first time publically confirmed that it is operating PLZ45 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, which were delivered in 2014 from China.

On 22 May the Algerian military released imagery showing the howitzers being used in an exercise, with six PLZ45s seen firing during a visit by chief-of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaid Salah to the Fourth Military Region. The Ministry of National Defence (MDN) said that Lt Gen Salah oversaw a tactical exercise that included units from the 41st Armoured Brigade in the In Amenas area close to the Libyan border.

Video released showed the event was a massive live fire exercise, involving tanks, armoured vehicles, missiles, anti-aircraft guns, helicopters and artillery.

In January 2014 photos appeared online showing the howitzers on a road outside the capital Algiers.

The PLZ45 was developed for the export market in the 1990s and sold to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The weapon has a rate of five of two rounds per minute (sustained) or five rounds per minute (maximum) and a range of 24 to 39 km depending on ammunition. The gun is supported by a dedicated armoured ammunition carrier/support vehicle.

The PLZ45 is crewed by five (commander, layer, two loaders and a driver). It is powered by a 525 horsepower diesel engine. Gun eleven is hydraulically driven and the turret is electrically driven with manual emergency backup. The fire control system comprises an automatic laying system, optical sighting system, gun orientation and navigation system and GPS receiver. Protection measures include a fire extinguishers and an NBC system.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Algeria received 50 PLZ45s in 2014, after ordering them the year before. Over the last five years Algeria has acquired three C-28A frigates, 50 C-802/CSS-N-8 anti-ship missiles and 50 FM90 surface-to-air missile systems from China. The missiles are for the Navy’s three C-28A vessels.

Recent deliveries, according to SIPRI, include T-90 main battle tanks, Umkhonto-IR surface-to-air missiles, Su-30MKA fighter aircraft, Tigr armoured vehicles, Mokopa and 9M120/AT-9 anti-tank missiles, 9M311/SA-19 surface-to-air missiles, Fuchs armoured personnel carriers and Meko frigates.