China Central Television on June 28 published images of PCL-181 self-propelled artillery batteries in January rehearsing in the Tibet region, close to the disputed border with India.

Since India-China border tensions broke out in May, Beijing has deployed a series of modern weapons to Tibet, including weapons designed specifically for combat in high mountain terrain.

Modern features, along with the ability to be transported by air from Tibet to the Indian border, make the PCL-181 considered one of the weapons that China can prioritize for use if border tensions with China arise.

The PCL-181 self-propelled gun was launched during the military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of China’s National Day on October 1, 2019.

PCL-181 self-propelled artillery during the military parade on January 1, 2019.

The PCL-181 system is placed on a wheeled chassis, has a compartment for 30 155 mm bullets and has a total weight of 25 tons, located in the Y-9 mechanical transport compartment.

The cockpit is large enough to accommodate all 6 squad members, and is equipped with bulletproof glass to increase the survivability of soldiers.

`Weapons like the PCL-181 are very useful in mountainous areas, because the parabolic trajectory allows artillery shells to cross high mountain peaks to hit targets on the other side. This cannot be done with shots

American military expert Kris Osborn assessed that the deployment of PCL-181 self-propelled guns shows that China increasingly attaches importance to expeditionary operations, which emphasizes flexibility and the ability to quickly deploy.

The PCL-181 cannon has high mobility and quick deployment to support campaigns in mountainous areas.

The wheeled chassis has much less defense and mobility on bad terrain than the tracked chassis of many self-propelled artillery systems such as the Russian Msta-S or the American M109 Paladin.

China seems to be considering the option of using Y-20 transport aircraft to bring self-propelled guns into the battlefield.

Chinese self-propelled artillery model deployed near India

Type-15 tanks rehearsed in Tibet in mid-June. Photo:

In the US military modernization strategy, the M109 self-propelled gun is designed for expeditionary warfare, used to support armored brigades when on the move and need to be protected against intense enemy fire.

`The above factors show that American 155 mm caliber guns still have a certain advantage over the Chinese PCL-181. However, the semi-automatic loading mechanism, rapid firing technology, and technical fire control