The Norinco SP family of Truck Based self-propelled (SP) artillery system was first revealed during the 2007 Abu Dhabi International Defence Exhibition (IDEX 2007). It is once again on display at this year’s IDEX with more detailed sales brochures and technical diagrams. China’s debut of the L-15 advanced jet trainer marks a major push into the Middle East Arms market after the success of the PLZ-45 155mm SP artillery deals with Kuwait.
The SP project commenced in 2002 with two variants: 155mm/52 caliber SP1 and the 122mm (D-30) based SP3. The truck based artillery concept is gaining popularity in recently years as they are an inexpensive option to air transport and can utilize the highway routes that are becoming more available. It will face stiff competition as the Truck Based Self-Propelled Artillery market is already dominated by more established players such as BAE’s Lightweight Mobile Artillery System, the French (CAEASR) Nexter Systems and the ATMOS 2025 Autonomous Self Propelled 155mm Gun. The advantage of the SP family is that it can fire both the Russian or the NATO based laser-guided projectile as well as the standard HE rounds.
It has been confirmed that a small quantity of SPs are already in PLA service since October 2009.