The G6 is a 155mm long-range gun developed and produced by the LIW division of Denel, mounted on a chassis made by Alvis OMC (now part of BAE Systems Land Systems).
The howitzer is in service with the South African Army (43 systems – GV6 Rhino) and has also been exported to the United Arab Emirates (78 systems – G6 M1A3) and Oman (24 systems). The G6 155mm self-propelled howitzer is a highly autonomous system with 700km vehicle fuel range, 50km weapon range using velocity enhanced long range projectiles and the ability to fire the first round within 60 seconds of the vehicle stopping.
In September 2001, the G6 achieved a range of 53.6km using the new velocity-enhanced long-range projectile (V-LAP) and the new M64 bi-modular charge system. V-LAP combines base bleed and rocket motor technology, while the M64 charge system increases muzzle velocity to 910m/s VLAP is part of Denel’s new Assegai range of 155mm ammunition.
In November 2019, the howitzer demonstrated its ability to reach targets at 76km using ammunition produced by Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) a firing demonstration at Alkantpan proving ground in South Africa.
Design and features of G6 155mm howitzer
G6 155mm self-propelled howitzer has a length of 10.4m, width of 3.5m and height of 3.4m. It has a combat mass of 46.5t.
The howitzer is operated by a crew of six – driver, commander, gun layer, breech operator, ammunition loader and ammunition handler.
G6 155mm howitzer armament
The 155mm main gun is equipped with a 45-calibre auto-frettaged barrel, a semi-automatic screw-type breech and an electrical trigger mechanism. The gun is fitted with a single-baffle open-type muzzle brake and a reinforced epoxy resin fume extractor.
The howitzer has on-board storage for 45 projectiles and 50 charges. 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. Firing ports are provided for the crews’ personal weapons and a machine gun mounting is fitted on the left turret cupola with an optional machine-gun.
Extended-range full-bore ammunition (ERFB)
The gun is compatible with all Nato 155mm ammunition, including extended-range full-bore (ERFB) projectiles of explosive, cargo and practice types, which are all ballistically matched and with field-fittable base bleed units.
The ERFB projectiles provide the G6 with increased range and terminal effectiveness. Using base-bleed projectiles, the G6 has a nominal range of 39km at sea level. As an example of the gun’s accuracy, at 75% of the maximum range the probable error specification is 0.48% of the range value and 1mil in deflection.
A five-zone combustible case modular propelling charge system is based on cool-burning propellants which ensure a barrel life of more than 6,000 standard charges. The system is compatible with direct action, electronic timing or proximity type fuses.
G6 howitzer 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.
G6 self-protection systems
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.
G6-52 artillery system Denel completed development of a new artillery system, the G6-52 in March 2003. The system is offered with the Somchem modular charge system (MCS) which can fire the Naschem M2000 Assegai system which includes the V-LAP projectile.
With the V-LAP projectile, the system has a range of 67km and a rate of fire of eight rounds a minute. Multiple rounds (up to six) can be fired to simultaneously hit the same target using the ADS (Thales) AS2000 artillery target engagement system.
Automated ammunition handling, fuse handling and ammunition inventory reduce crew workload. The G6-52 provides protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) attacks apart from small and medium-calibre weapons.
The G6-52 turret is mounted on a Land Systems OMC 6×6 wheeled vehicle which has an off-road speed of nearly 70km/h and a range of 700km.
G6 propulsion system
The air-cooled diesel engine provides a 386kW power output. The six-speed automatic / manual gearbox is fitted with a torque converter.
The permanent six-wheel drive has longitudinal and transverse differential locks. The suspension system consists of fully independent torsion bars with shock absorbers and hydro-pneumatic bump stops.
The wheeled mine-protected chassis supplied by BAE Systems Land Systems is capable of a road speed of 85km/h and a cross country / desert speed of 30km/h.
The maximum gradient is 40%, trench crossing 1m and the fording depth is 1m. The cruising range on one full tank is 700km.