New Chinese army PHZ-11 122mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System on tracked chassis
Pictures released on April 23, 2020, to a Chinese Defense Blog, has shown new 122mm caliber MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) based on tracked armored chassis called PHZ-11 which is now in service with the Chinese army, 62nd Heavy Combined-Arms Brigade, LX14, 76th Group Army, Western Theater Command.
New PHZ-11 122mm MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System during a live firing exercise. (Picture source China Defense Blog)
The PHZ-11 seems to be a tracked version of the SR4 122mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) mounted on truck chassis, also called PZL11 in the Chinese Army. According to Chinese military sources, it uses the same tracked chassis as the PLZ-05 155mm self-propelled howitzer and the PGZ-09 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. It uses a torsion bar suspension with six dual rubber-tired road wheels on each side, with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and three return rollers
The design of the PHZ-11 looks like the American-made M-270 with an armored cabin at the front of the vehicle and the launcher station located at the rear of chassis. The vehicle uses new modern technologies offering improved accuracy due to better tube-laying and precision-guidance of individual rockets.
The PHZ-11 could be operated by a crew of three including a driver, gunner, and commander, all of whom are seated in the fully enclosed cab at the front of the vehicle. This is protected against the firing of small arms and artillery shell fragments by aluminum armor. All the firing operations can be performed from inside of the crew cabin. The vehicle could be equipped with a land navigation system (LNS) and a computerized Fire-Control System (FCS), which allows for autonomous operation with target information being transmitted to the launcher from the battery command post.
The PHZ-11 is fitted with two pods of 20 launchers for 122mm rockets arranged in four rows of five tubes each mounted on a power operated turntable. After the rockets are fired, a dedicated reloading vehicle with a crane unloads the empty modules and places new ones directly on the mount. It can fire different types of unguided solid propellant 122 mm rockets including mine laying, fuel-air explosive, HE High Explosive, steel ball HE, and steel ball HE incendiary with a range from 15 km to 30 km.
The PHZ-11 needs only a few minutes to be ready to fire and carry out a fire mission and rapidly to come out of action. Once the 122 mm rockets have been fired the vehicle can rapidly move to another position to avoid counter-battery fire. The PZH-11 was developed based on a modular design offering the possibility to fire rockets of different calibers as the mounting points are common to rocket modules of different calibers including 220 mm and 300 mm.
The reloader vehicle can be seen between the PHZ-11 MLRS launcher vehicles in this picture. (Picture source Chinese Internet)