China tested its new vehicle-mounted howitzer during a live-fire exercise in the Gobi Desert on July 5. Given the renewed importance of artillery in the wake of the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has prompted even the US military to prioritize long-range firing capability, the most recent howitzer test is crucial.
In order to test the effectiveness of targets at large distances, the new howitzer fired long-range shells at targets over 30 kilometers away during the exercise.
According to the CGTN report, the new howitzer has a new control system that allows one-click firing and a high level of digitization. The howitzer used was not mentioned in the report.
The new howitzer would also have auto-tuning and semi-automatic loading, which significantly shorten response times.
The PLA’s latest howitzer test comes as China’s closest ally, Russia, battles in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where the Russian military continues to advance thanks to a massive deployment of its artillery guns which continue to pound the Ukrainian positions.
Artillery duel in eastern Ukraine
The current theater of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, where both armies have deployed their long-range artillery arsenals, which include Soviet-era systems and some locally produced as well as, in the case of Ukrainian forces, Western-made howitzers. Nevertheless, the Russian army appears to be winning the artillery duel based on recent steady progress.
This could be due to the particular strategy used by the Russian army when it comes to using artillery as the main combat weapon on the battlefield. The traditional use of artillery as a combat support force for ground forces engaged in “maneuver warfare” or “fluid” warfare is incompatible with this strategy.
According to a recent EurAsian Times article, this involves Russian ground forces assisting artillery by pushing opposing forces into areas of destruction before ordering artillery strikes against them.
The ability to fire long range shots has become more crucial in modern warfare due to the Russian military’s success in using artillery to secure a resounding victory.
Most armies, especially those of Western countries, prioritized “air” dominance before the Ukrainian War. Similarly, Russia planned to secure Ukrainian airspace first before occupying its territory.
Lessons from the Ukrainian War
General Patrick Sanders, Chief of the British Army, said of the conflict in Ukraine: “It takes an army to hold and regain territory and defend the people. Deterrence requires an army. We would probably be outnumbered and we would fight valiantly if this battle broke out.
In June, he was a speaker at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Land Warfare Conference. He explained that land will continue to be the dominant domain as air, sea or cyber fires are unlikely to dominate on their own.
Similar statements were made by senior US military officials at a hearing held by the US House Armed Services Committee (HASC) in May.
When asked by the HASC Chairman to name the systems that will help the military win a battle like the one unfolding in Ukraine, US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and the service’s Chief of Staff, the General James McConville, both responded immediately that Long Range Precision Fire Fighting Systems (LRPF) are essential.
Thus, the Western bloc’s overconfidence is erased that air war alone is not a good way to prove the dominance of an army and a country on the battlefield. they also need to refurbish the 100+ year old artillery warfare