G5 kept in repair


The South African Army has awarded Contracts Logistics Equipment (Pty) Ltd of Silverton work worth R2 613 126.33 for the maintenance and repair of GV5 containers. The order takes the total worth of contracts for the towed artillery system since May 2007 to R15 607 916.01. This excludes a R16 530 091.10 upgrade of the GV5 Mk 3 to GV 5 MK 3A status in 2006.

The 2010 edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance publication lists the South African Artillery as currently employing six (one battery) of the weapon and having an additional 66 in store.

Author Clive Wilsworth in his excellent “First in, First Out, The South African Artillery in Action 1975-1988 (30 Degrees South Publishers, Johannesburg, 2010; reviewed elsewhere on these pages) notes the GV5 and self-propelled (SP) GV6 was developed from a need identified in 1968 and formalised in 1973 “when the gunners set the requirements to modernise their equipment in line with the Army’s upgrading programme”. Work began in 1974 under the rubric Project Boas.

At the time, the Artillery employed a towed 88mm quick-firing gun, later renamed the GV1 (Geskut, Veld 1; Gun, Field 1), a SP version of the same weapon, named the Sexton (later the GV7) and a breech-loading towed 140mm howitzer, later the GV2. As a first step, six captured Soviet M46 130mm guns were acquired from Israel (and later returned). Next some 32 M71 155mm towed guns were acquired from Soltam and placed into service as the GV4 (Project Burrow). Six surplus US M2 155mm towed “Long Tom” howitzers were then acquired (Project Sherbet I) from the Canadian Space Research Corporation, headed by Dr Gerald Bull, as the GV3, along with a new type of extended range full bore (ERFB) ammunition and propellent charges (Projects Sherbet II and Ghost).

Wilsworth says the GV5, itself, was conceived in July 1976 (Projects Sherbet III and Starlight) and later named the Luiperd (Leopard), a nomenclature never used. Input from Iraq, who purchased some 200 of the type, under the designation FF51, led to revisions of the design. The first three GV5 were delivered to the Artillery on May 21, 1982. The first battery was commissioned in October 1985 and deployed the next year during Operation Alpha Centauri. The GV6 “Renoster” followed under Projects Buzzard and Zenula.

From the Armscor Bulletin System:

Maintenance and repair of GV5 containers

EAES/2010/166 4 Nov 2010 R2 613 126,33

GV5 MK3 service packages

EAES/2009/111 17 Sep 2009 R477 196,77

Maintenance and repair of GV5 MK 3 launchers

EAES/2009/89 20 Aug 2009 R7 072 444,00

Gun 155 mm GV5 MK 3 spares

EAES/2009/119 10 Sep 2009 R2 870 948,78

Upgrade of GV5 MK3 guns to GV5 MK 3A status – extension of EATL/2006/47

AES/S2008/0922 14 Aug 2008 R283 082,13

ATL/S2007/0782 6 Sep 2007 R536 888,90

GV5 System Engineering Suppport

EAES/2008/2 17 Jul 2008 R657 893,00

Maintenance and repair of GV5 launchers – extension of EATL/2006/83

AES/S2007/0778 30 Aug 2007 R526 315,00

AES/S2007/0735 31 May 2007 R131 578,00

Service packages for the GV5 launcher

EAES/2007/26 21 Jun 2007 R438 443,10