China has released a new video from the Hong Kong garrison of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unit, showing the soldiers handling a new rapid-fire mortar that appears suited for an urban environment.
The footage shows two soldiers operating PCP-001 self-propelled mortars during a training exercise, reported South China Morning Post.
Posted on the official website of the Hubei provincial committee of the Communist Youth League Monday, the video is one in the series made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China.
Shots from the weapon were seen hitting the target precisely, though the vehicle appeared to be shaking due to their recoil force. The new mortar also provides the troops with a fire cover.
The existence of the weapon was first acknowledged by China last year when the state-owned media released a video showing the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force’s (PLAGF’s) Xinjiang Military Command with the PCP001 fire-support vehicle. The footage featured six PCP-001s mounted on a 4×4 Dongfeng EQ2050 (the Chinese version of a Humvee).
According to the Janes, the weapon was being used in live-fire drills at an undisclosed location, presumably in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Chinese state-backed media houses too reported about the self-propelled mortar, calling it “accurate and fast.” The artillery, reportedly homegrown, was delivered to the troops in April 2021.
“These weapons are very accurate and fast, enabling the fire support units that could previously only operate in the rear to transform into mobile, hit-and-run firing positions,” Global Times said in an earlier report.
The significance of the PCP-001 lies in the fact that it is suitable for specific environments, such as landing battles and urban warfare where the entire battlefield is limited. Soldiers were then quoted calling the weapon “very fast and saving stamina.”
Self-propelled mortars can also replace the much heavier howitzers as they provide similar power and can bypass high-rise buildings and other potential blockades in a city setting when fired from a high angle, according to South China Morning Post.
China also claims that the PCP-001s have significant tactical advantages, especially on oxygen-lacking plateau regions with challenging terrains. Weighing over 4.8 tonnes, this artillery can be strapped into an airlift, or even a helicopter.
Its design is inspired by the Soviet Vasilek model and upgraded with a fire-control computer, a laser rangefinder and better steering.