Denel G6 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
Type: Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin: South Africa
Used by South Africa, Oman, United Arab Emirates
Wars: South African Border War
-Manufacturer: Denel Land systems
-Produced: 1987 –
-Weight: 46,500 kg
-Length: 10.4 m
-Width : 3.5 m
-Height: 3.4 m
-Crew: 6 (3–5 for the G6-52 Extended Range)
Main gun: 155 mm howitzer
Caliber lengh: 45 (G6-52 is 52 caliber)
Projectiles: 45 on board
Charges: 50 on board
Elevation range: – 5 to + 75 degrees
Traverse range: 80 degrees
Semi-automatic projectile loading is carried out using an electronically controlled hydraulic flick-rammer. Two loading chutes are installed at the rear of gun for direct loading from a ground ammunition pile.
Fitted with a fully-automatic ammunition loading and handling system.
Rate of fire:
-G6-52: 6 rpm
-G6 Rhino: 4 rpm
-Sustained: 2 rpm
Effective firing range:
-30,000 m with standard HE rounds,
-39,000 m with HE base bleed rounds, and
-42,000 m with HE base bleed rounds (BB—fired from G6-52)
-50,000 m with HE base bleed rounds (BB—fired from G6-52 Extended Range)
-52,500 m with a special velocity-enhanced Long Range Projectile (V-LAP—fired from G6).
-58,000 m with a special velocity-enhanced Long Range Projectile (V-LAP—fired from G6-52).
-67,450 m M9703A1 V-LAP round (tested successfully to 73,000 m by Denel in G6-52 Extended Range platform)
0.1% of range in azimuth, 0.48% of range in range. In 2012 four rounds of M982 Excalibur precision guided munitions were fired to a range of 38 km, all landing within 5 m of the target.
-1 x 155mm T6 L/52
– G6: 1× 12.7-mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. There are also a number of smoke grenade dischargers.
-G6-52: 1× 7.62 mm machine gun plus smoke grenade dischargers.
-Main gun: 47 rounds
-Machine gun: 2000 rounds
-Smoke grenade dischargers: 8
-525 hp (391.49 kW)
-Road: 700 km
-Off-road: 350 km
-Road: 85 km/h
-G6: 30 km/h
-G6-52: 70 km/h
-Gradient : 60%
-Side slope : 30%
-Vertical step : 0.45 m
-Trench: 1 m
-Fording: 1 m
Fire control systems:
Target data is transmitted from a command and control centre to the commander’s station in the crew compartment via a VHF/UHF communications link. The crew activates the gun by pressing an autolay button and the bearing, elevation and engagement data are downloaded to the automatic gun laying system.
The gun laying and navigation equipment comprises a ring laser gyroscope system equipped with a touchscreen control developed by the Kentron division of Denel. The gun has fully autonomous laying and navigation capability with no need for survey and alignment at the gun position. The system can be interfaced to an optional global positioning system (GPS). The system also has a back-up laying system. The gun is fitted with a trunnion mounted telescopic sight for direct firing up to 3,000m.
The G6-52 has automatic gun laying and navigating systems. It can stop and fire it’s first round in 60 seconds from traveling. It also takes 30 seconds to leave firing position after firing, making it less vulnerable to counter-battery fire.
The G6 is fitted with eight launchers that fire 81mm smoke grenades. The high strength armour-plate hull protects the crew against small arms fire and shell splinters. The crew are protected against TM46 (or equivalent) landmine blast, 20mm gunfire from the front, and all around counter bombardment fragment and impact by 7.62mm ammunition.
The driving compartment is fitted with large bullet proof windows with an armoured shutter for the front window. When the armoured shutter is in place the driver uses a periscopic sight.
The G6-52 provides protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) attacks apart from small and medium-calibre weapons.
-G6 M1A3: Exported UAE version
-G6-52 (23 litre chamber)
-G6-52 Extended Range (25 litre chamber)
Reduced crew to 3–5;
can fire projectile up to 67 km at a rate of fire of six rounds/minute;
increased off-road speeds to nearly 70 km/h;
implemented Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) technology and can land six (G6-52L variant) or six (G6-52) rounds simultaneously at targets up to 25 km away; and is currently undergoing extensive trials.
-G6 Marksman: a British SPAAG version, combining the G6’s base vehicle with the Marksman turret.
-Al-Fao: Modified Iraqi variant.
-South Africa: 43 systems; only 2 in active service. Also known as the GV6 Rhino within the South African National Defence Force.
-United Arab Emirates: 78 systems
-Oman: 24 systems
Development of the G6 Rhino self-propelled gun-howitzer began in late 1970s. First prototype was built in 1981. The G6 Rhino saw action in Angola, even before it was mass produced. It entered service with the SANDF in 1988. A number of these self-propelled howitzers were exported to United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The G6 Rhino is fitted with a 155-mm gun-howitzer, developed from the G5 towed gun-howitzer and additionally fitted with semi-automatic loading system and fume extractor. The G6 Rhino fires HE-FRAG, smoke, illumination and incendiary rounds. It is compatible with all NATO 155-mm ammunition. A total of 47 rounds are carried. Maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 39 km with rocket-assisted. It also fires newly developed velocity enhanced long range projectiles with a maximum range of 50 km.
The G6 Rhino can fire the first round within 60 seconds. Out of action time is 30 seconds, which allows to avoid counter-battery fire and gives shoot-and-scoot capability.
Secondary armament consists of 12.7-mm machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. There are also a number of smoke grenade dischargers.
The G6 Rhino has a welded hull and turret. It’s front arc provides protection against 20-mm rounds. All-round protection is against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. This vehicle is well protected against landmines. This artillery system is fitted with an automatic fire suppression system. An NBC protection system can also be fitted, if required. Some firing ports are provided for the crew.
Vehicle has a crew of five, including commander, gunner, two loaders and driver.
Unlike many other self-propelled artillery systems the G6 Rhino is based on wheeled 6×6 chassis. It is powered by a diesel engine, developing 525 hp. It is also fitted with auxiliary power unit, which powers all system when the engine is turned off.
The G6-52 self-propelled gun-howitzer is a new artillery system developed by Denel. It is a further development of the combat proven G6 Rhino to meet demands of modern warfare. This new artillery system has increased firing range and increased rate of fire. The G6-52 was first revealed in 2003, however since then it is further improved. All existing G6 Rhino systems can be upgraded to the G6-52 standard. Currently this artillery is actively marketed for the export customers, however no orders were received by 2012.
The G6-52 is fitted with a longer 155-mm /L52 howitzer comparing with it’s predecessor. It is also fitted with a fully-automatic ammunition loading and handling system. The G6-52 was originally developed with 23 and 25 liter chambers, however marketing is now concentrated on the 23 liter chamber, which meets the NATO Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding. This artillery system comes with the Somchem modular charge system (MCS) and is compatible with a Denel developed V-LAP rocket assisted projectiles, as well as standard NATO 155-mm ammunition. The G6-52 has a range of 58 km with V-LAP projectile. When firing a high-explosive extended-range full bore projectile maximum range is 33 km. The G6-52 is capable of multiple round simultaneous impact firing. It can fire 6 rounds at 25 km range to hit target simultaneously using the ADS (Thales) AS2000 artillery target engagement system. Automated ammunition handling, fuse handling and ammunition inventory reduce crew workload.
Vehicle is fitted with modern fire control system. The G6-52 has automatic gun laying and navigating systems. It can stop and fire it’s first round in 60 seconds from traveling. It also takes 30 seconds to leave firing position after firing, making it less vulnerable to counter-battery fire.
Welded steel armor of the G6-52 protects against 14.5-mm armor-piercing rounds at the front arc. All-round protection is against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle can withstand a detonation of anti-tank mine under any wheel and still remain operational. NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems are fitted as standard.
Vehicle has a crew of five, including commander, driver, gun layer, loader and breech operator. In case of emergency a crew of three can operate the system just as well. Ammunition reloading is semi-automatic from ground pile or ammunition resupply vehicle. Ammunition is reloaded in about 10 minutes.
The G6-52 is based on a Land Systems OMC 6×6 wheeled chassis. It is one of the heaviest wheeled armored vehicles in existence. This artillery system is powered by unspecified diesel engine, developing 525 hp. Vehicle has an automatic tyre inflation system and is fitted with run flat inserts.
The G6 was deployed by expeditionary units of the South African Defence Force during the Angolan Civil War, making its combat debut during Operation Moduler in December 1987. South African artillery observers, sometimes working behind enemy lines, did not hesitate in making full use of the howitzer’s pinpoint accuracy. On one occasion reconnaissance elements observed Angolan interceptors attempting to take off from an airfield near Cuito Cuanavale and immediately requested artillery support; in a single bombardment G6s succeeded in eliminating four Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s on the ground.
Photo: 🇿🇦South African National Defence Force (SANDF)
Info by Ryno Joubert
🇦🇪United Arab Emirates (UAE)