G5 howitzer

The G5 is a South African towed howitzer of 155 mm calibre designed and developed in South Africa by Denel Land Systems. The G5 design was based on the Canadian GC-45 155mm gun which was highly modified to suit southern African conditions.

G5 howitzer
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Denel Land Systems
Origin South Africa
Country Name Origin Year
South Africa 1983
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Iran (Persia) View
Iraq View
Malaysia View
Qatar View
South Africa 1983 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Denel Land Systems 1982 View

During the Angolan Bush War, the South African Defence Force found itself at a disadvantage when facing opponents equipped with long-range Soviet rocket artillery, which outranged South Africa's older 5.5-inch howitzers by a considerable margin. This led to the issue of a staff requirement for a new artillery system as well as ammunition systems, gun tractor, fire control equipment and a fire control computer system.

From 1963, South Africa had been placed under an United Nations sponsored anti-apartheid arms embargo that led to the creation of the indigenous Armscor military-industrial company to circumvent the arms embargo and to produce weapons systems uniquely tailored to South Africa's needs. Armscor responded to the staff requirement and commenced development in 1976. A number of existing designs were evaluated and examples procured in contravention of the arms embargo. As an interim weapon system to act as a stop-gap during the indigenous production process, a number of Soltam 155mm M-71 gun-howitzers were procured from Israel and entered service as the G4 howitzer.

The Canadian GC-45 was selected as the baseline howitzer from which to commence indigenous development. One of the GC-45 test pieces was mounted on a U.S. 155mm M59 carriage - and a further six GC-45s had changes made to internal ballistics, barrel construction and carriage and cradle fixtures, to become the prototype models eventually leading to the G5. These GC-45s had been developed by SRC International of Belgium, a joint venture between Space Research Corporation of Canada and PRB of Belgium. Further changes included the addition of a small APU to allow the gun to dig itself in and move short distances at up to 16 km/h, as well as the addition of an advance muzzle brake. The G5 became operational in 1983.

Using the normal Extended Range, Full Bore (ERFB) ammunition the normal range is 30 km, which can be extended to about 39.6 km using base bleed shells, or 50km using rocket assisted V-LAP rounds. In 2002 Denel produced the G5-2000 version, with much greater range and accuracy than the earlier 45-calibre version.

The G5 gun has been placed on an OMC 6×6 chassis to produce the fully self-propelled G6 howitzer, and won major export sales in this form from the United Arab Emirates and Oman. In response to a request from India it has also been tested on the back of a TATRA 8×8 wheeled truck, a combination known as the T5-2000. It has also been fitted into a turret, named the T6, that can be placed on any suitable vehicle; it has been fitted on the T-72 tank.

Type Howitzer
Place of origin South Africa
Service history
In service 1983 – present
Used by Operators
Wars South African Border War
Iran–Iraq War
Gulf War
Production history
Designer Lyttelton Engineering Works
Designed 1976 – 1983
Manufacturer Denel Land Systems
Produced 1982 – present
Weight 13,750 kg (30,313 lbs)
Length 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in)
Barrel length 6.975 m (22 ft 11 in) L/45
Width 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
Height 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in)
Crew 8 soldiers
Shell high explosive
Caliber 155 mm (6.10 in)
Breech Semi-automatic interrupted screw
Carriage split trail
Elevation -3° to +75°
Traverse Up to 15°: 82°
Above 15°: 65°
Rate of fire 3 rounds/minute
Muzzle velocity 897 m/s (2,943 ft/s)
Maximum firing range Standard: 30 km (19 mi)
Base bleed: 39 km (24 mi)
VLAP: 50 km (31 mi)
Feed system Breech-loaded

End notes