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Naval Artillery, PLA Style

by John Reed on December 20, 2010

Check out this wild image posted on China Defense Blog of the PLA’s idea of … naval artillery? Pretty crazy, huh?

Can anyone make out what type of missile is being launched in the upper left portion of the picture? Heck, is the image even real?

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{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

crackedlenses December 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

That's what you call horde effect right there…….

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mat December 20, 2010 at 12:57 pm

If its not photoshoped , the firing is amazingly timed all shells are in virtualy same position

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Moose December 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Definitely Photoshopped.

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Jeep December 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Absolutely, unquestionably photoshopped.

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Brian December 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

dude, that comment is so shortsighted and naive, i'm ashamed we have the same name.

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brian December 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm

You look at that pic and see a bunch of short range artillery firing at the same time and think "OMG those chinese are so elite they fire at the same time!!", i look at the pic and see something designed to murder their own unarmed people. Why, because the only targets a vessel like that would be good against is unarmed targets on the land, and VERY slow moving civilian vessels. You couldn't deploy something like this against a nation state, not even that bastion of nuttiness NK.

Now looking again, and see that are they are doing is spending money to murder their own people. Take a few steps back and look at the big picture and you see the entire chinese military establishment is like this boat, it is designed to threaten its own people. How can such a nation turned against itself stand the test of time, when competing against nations that have militaries that are designed to protect its people?

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David December 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I don't believe that shooting can be timed so good. And projectile in the lower right of the picture is closer to the barrel, yet there's less fire and more smoke. That looks very much photoshoped.

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FormerDirtDart December 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I believe it is photoshopped too.
All three fire balls are the same, just sized town to give depth. And, the smoke is being ejected from both sides of the second gun, but, if you look close, the 3rd guns right side smoke is superimposed over the 2nd's left side discharge. And neither the 3rd or 4th gun has any smoke to the left

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boojum December 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Simultaneously firing five things is clearly impossible! Why, you'd need some sort of signalling device and people practised in doing a thing when the signal was made. I can't imagine where you'd find those in an Army. As for the "less fire and more smoke", that's the "less fire" which has flames visible from the muzzle brake and mouth, yes?
It actually quite closely resembles the split you'd get after the starter's gun in a race – a high speed camera and a well drilled crew would be able to manage it easy.
The synchronisation becomes even easier if they are electronically fired.

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MCQknight December 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

The real clue to the fact that this is photoshopped is not the synchronized artillery pieces, but the missile in the background. The missile is in almost precisely the same position as the artillery shells, yet missiles and rockets generally have much lower initial velocities than artillery shells. Therefore, in order for all of the artillery rounds to be in the same position as the missile, they would have had to fire a split second after the missile was launched. This level of sophistication would be impressive even in a computer controlled, modern warship. I find it highly doubtful the gunners would have been able to achieve this synchronization, especially considering the obvious "bolt-on" nature of this ship's weapons.

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Brian December 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Image Error Level Analysis shows signs of some heavy 'shopping.
http://errorlevelanalysis.com/permalink/935d909/

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Paul December 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm

it doesnt show any signs of anything, just accept that the chinese aren't cavemen and Amurka aren't better than everyone else in the world at everything

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Brian December 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm

except, not accept. We learned that in middle school. And, yes it does.

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FormerDirtDart December 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm

no, it's actually accept : to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable <the idea is widely accepted>
not except

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Brian December 20, 2010 at 2:23 pm

You're right, I read it wrong. I read it as "it doesn't show signs of any EXCEPT the Chinese aren't…" My bad.

Justin H December 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Jean Paul Francois, its America not Amurka.

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BigfootHunter December 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

'shopped!

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MCQknight December 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Someone commented on the china-defense blog that the synchorized-fire effect is almost certainly photoshoped, but the ship likely still did have this many artillery pieces on it . I think that probably hits the nail on the head.

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Brian December 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Yeah, I'd tend to agree. Either way, it says nothing about the true strength of their military (which is formidable).

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STemplar December 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Actually it says a great deal if fans of it need to publish photo edited lies.

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icedrake December 23, 2010 at 3:00 am

Random Chinese schoolkid: Hey guys, check out what I made!
Friends: Wow, nice 'shop! Put it on your website!
….some indeterminate number of unattributed repostings later
US Milbloggers: OMG, look how stupid the PLA is!

And that's how urban legends are born

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MoCo24u December 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Note the Blue flags on the antennas, how could the wind be exactly 180 degrees reversed on adjacent vehicles? — 100% Shopped.

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Brian December 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm

good eye. That's conclusive.

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MoCo24u December 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm

There's also the physics issue mentioned above. American 155mm rounds have approx. a 1850 fps muzzle velocity. The furthest three vehicles have rounds aligned within a foot or so. If these are roughly equivalent rounds, the response time needed to light these puppies off so precisely is virtually impossible. There's probably enough inconsistency in the propellant charges and gun bore to throw each gun off by more than a millisecond.
Then, there is the flag thing too …

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MoCo24u December 21, 2010 at 10:32 am

Hmmm … the aft two vehicles seem to have thinner barrels (105's?) than the forward pair (155's), yet the projectiles are exactly the same.

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gonoles74 December 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Look at the numbers on the turrets for the 2nd and 3rd guns and compare to the number of the 1st gun. It looks like there are “splotches” where the original number would have been and the new numbers are moved forward on the turrets.

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FormerDirtDart December 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm

the 2nd and 3rd vehicles are different types than the first

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Chris December 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

While it would be easy to sequence the trigger in order to fire all at the same time…this is a photo-chop job. Whomever created this probably spent more time editing it than said trigger job would take.

Cute, but PLAN is a little more advanced than this.

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A. Nonymous December 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Another vote for a photoshopped image. Both the front and rear tiedown chains on SPA #233 are slack. It seems like one of them should be taut if the gun had actually just been fired.

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Alberto December 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

one war fought to a draw, and one you retreated with your tail between your legs…

you might want to study a bit of history during your school holidays…

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praetorian December 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

A draw huh. I beg to differ. South Korea has one of the best economies in the world.
The North Koreans & China had far more casualties then the U.S. and strategically
SK is a great ally. militarily speaking, yes it was a stalemate, but history has shown
( so far ) it was a win in the long run.

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Justin H December 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Vietnam was a draw too, duh! A truce was signed after military commanders were allowed to fight the war the way they wanted to. Then America pulled its troops out, because it was a hugely unpopular war. But as soon as we did, those naked mole rats invaded South Vietnam, breaking the truce.

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Justin H December 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm
brian December 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Last time I checked there was a McDonalds in Hanoi. Guess we won after all.

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icedrake December 23, 2010 at 3:03 am

Last time I checked, China owned something to the tune of $1T of US government debt. Maybe it's time to cancel that victory parade.

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brian December 23, 2010 at 10:40 am

Wait you want to cancel the parade because we made the chinese give us $1 Trillion of merchandise in exchange for worthless Obama bonds. I think thats more reason to celebrate!

Stupid Commies never learn

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icedrake December 23, 2010 at 11:14 am

aaaand you're officially not worth talking to from this point on.

blight December 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

He does kind of have a point. Defaulting on debt is a legitimate form of economic warfare, but it cuts you off from the international banks. I find it surprising that China's number one role in our economic system is as outsourced labor, building iPhones for 10 bucks apiece with parts from our friends in South Korea, Japan et al.

John Edwards was right: there are Two Americas, one of which is suffering and the other of which is doing well. However there will be a day in which the interest payments cut so deeply into our national budget (combined with our tax-cutting, spend-increasing attitudes) that jeopardize America's long term economic stability. And as we've learned from empires from ages past: economic insecurity can bring down military security too.

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icedrake December 23, 2010 at 11:49 am

Let's be clear here: We're discussing the possible default of a reserve currency. The only action more devastating to the world at large that the US could take would be a full-scale nuclear launch. It's so much of an apocalyptic nightmare that don't think anyone's even seriously analyzed such a scenario.

Argentina is still having issues with international trade over its default, almost ten years ago now. But at least they had the option of decoupling their currency from the USD, much as the Brazilians had done in 1999. Needless to say, you can't devalue the USD in relation to the USD.

Worse yet, there isn't a definitive fallback option, not with the Euro already struggling and its continued existence (or at the very least component membership) being seriously debated.

So what happens when you — essentially overnight — eliminate the reference point on which the vast majority of international trade is based? brian sounds eager to find out. brian is an idiot.

mpower6428 December 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm

12.2 cm artillery rocket…? i think. i keep hearing about china's transendent naval dominance…. but, looking at this photo… " we got some time".

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Mastro December 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Photoshop aside- what would simultaneous firing do to the ship with all that recoil in one pulse? I'd hate to be on that deck.

Is this photo a threat to Taiwan?

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crackedlenses December 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

If this is China's definition of shock and awe, the Taiwanese may not have as much to fear as previously thought. It looks kind of like something a little kid would do with his army toys……

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FormerDirtDart December 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm

The US Army used a similar technique during the Normandy invasion with artillery and multiple barrel rocket launchers firing from landing ships & craft, and even barges.
GPS aided fire control would likely provide accurate fires. This may appear low-tech, but is a rather inexpensive answer to rarely need application of naval bombardment.

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Belesari December 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

While the rockets would be alright i think the 155 arty may prove to much unless the decks are heavily reinforced.

Pretty sure accually

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blight December 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

If you don't expect your hulls to stay afloat for long, they should last for a little bit, but reinforcing would be a swell idea.

I don't imagine that these things could be mounted on a LST and then disembarked upon grounding?

Chris April 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I don't know. Seing ship fire a full broadside is pretty awesome. Thats alot of firepower. I can't imagine it being much less than those artillery vehicles.

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Marcase December 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Looks like a Type-90 SPRL (40x 122mm), a Chinese version/copy of the old BM-21.

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mark December 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

it may be shopped but the point is this is a very cheap way to add naval bombardment capability to hundreds of this type of ship very cheaply .not bad !!

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Greg Smith December 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Couldn't a moderately financed terror group put some old artillery on the deck of a rusty freighter, sail into the harbor of any city, say Los Angeles or Mumbai, and start raining shells on downtown? A couple ma deuces could keep the harbor patrol away until a military response could be mounted. If the attackers weren't suicidal, they could slip away in a Columbian style semi submersible. A frightening low tech, high impact attack.

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@Joe_Schmoe12 December 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

And that would be easier than just placing a few bombs downtown how?

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crackedlenses December 20, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Getting shelled might be more traumatic to the victims, perhaps….

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Ing3nium December 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Obviously Photo shopped. Also how effective would this actually be? The fire control on those artillery pieces would have a hard time accounting for the motions on a ship. I would assume modern naval weapons are plugged into the ship with gryos / heading / speeds etc.

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NotPC1 April 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Good point.

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Roland December 20, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I think they are real. This could be one of their weakest warship although it looks like powerful , I would say two anti ship missiles and 8 tanks over oil tanker. Their bad ass weapon is the Ballistic missile carrier killer.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/03/china-tes

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praetorian December 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

Ballistic missile carrier killer still a long ways off, and questions if they can even make it work.

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blight December 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

If we're suggesting this image is photoshopped, how would you do it? Build a mock ship-platform somewhere, do some test firing and then photoshop the ocean in? Or…?

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mat December 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

You got it all wrong ,this is a new and novel method of shipping tanks and artillery pieces to Sudan(remember the ship full of tanks and ammo,that was taken over by pirates) at the same time you can blast any would be pirate that comes your way. Ha,ha,ha

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crackedlenses December 21, 2010 at 11:44 am

LOL!

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Schabaz Jenkins December 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

Not to mention all the projectiles are the same size… the last one should be about half the size due to the distance. Regardless, I'd put one of our battleships against a fleet of these any day.

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Trex December 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

It might be heavily edited and it might look goofy as hell, but wait until some rogue gang of muslims/liberals/jihadists see it and decide to try it as a terror tactic on a civilian population.

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crackedlenses December 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

The military just might get a job blowing up conventional targets for once…..

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praetorian December 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Lol, you said liberals, lol

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DennisBuller December 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

One of these is stupid.
Fifty of them is a real problem.
Especially since the first days of conflict will not allow for us to have command of the sky.
It is an clever way to take second rate equipment and fit it to a new role….

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Justin H December 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I bet this ship has 0 defensive systems…

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tom December 21, 2010 at 7:55 pm

like what dudes with guns, or anti-air, you can load them on trucks on the deck too. You thinking of boarding them?

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Justin H December 22, 2010 at 12:12 am

yes lol

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David December 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I think that it would be way better to put some field guns/howitzers on the deck. They take less space, are cheaper, and lack of mobility is not a concern :D

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Justin H December 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Really poor mans DDG-1000

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Belesari December 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

The bad part it has more firepower and can probably take more hits :(

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crackedlenses December 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm

But it would be like uparmoring a B-17 and sending out against stealth fighters. Our ships would simply snipe this hull to bits…..

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Belesari December 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm

The Zumwalts are designed to operate in the litorals Close to shore within arty range. And its around 700 feet long and has a huge height.

A ddg-1000 would get torn to peices if you fitted anti ship missile on cargo ships and launched in mass. It has crappy AA defenses.

They can afford 5-10 outfitted freighters if it takes out a carrier BG or even a single DDG1K.
Not to mention such ships would need very little people to operate.

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Justin H December 22, 2010 at 12:15 am

DDG-1000 shows up the size of a navy corvette on radar. And it has good defensive capabilities. The only thing its lacking in is BMD.

Justin H December 22, 2010 at 12:14 am

I dunno about that. The AGS on the Zumwalt class are supposed to be pretty fast (auto-loading) and have a futher range.

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Byron Skinner December 21, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Good Evening Folks,

I agree that this is a blatant Photoshop. What you have shown here is a commerce raider. One of the most famous be the German Wolf in WW I that roamed the Pacific. Under international law they are classified as Pyrates and when found can be sunk and any surviving crew can be executed.

I doubt is that the message that the PRC intends to show to the world. Pictures like this are a kick and fun to look at but really are counter productive with fostering good relations with the PRC. I’m sure the people of China took offensive at this pejorative image of there military.

I’m not quite sure why a site like DT who wants to have a reputation as a good honest source of information to policy makers would put up such an insult.

ALLONS,
Byron Skinner

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ray December 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

Fake for sure. They love to show off their photoshoping skills. They should teach BP a thing or two.

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Brian Black December 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

This is a crazy idea. They’ll probably be mounting 105mm howitzers on cargo planes next!

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Justin H December 23, 2010 at 4:08 am

cough*AC130*cough

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crackedlenses December 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

Why not airships? What would be better than a large, slow, poorly armored airship bristling with howitzers?…….

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blight December 23, 2010 at 11:39 am

I don't think the Chinese are as fad-o-centric as Americans are. Tried and true, which deserves at least some props.

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Justin H December 23, 2010 at 4:08 am

I doubt they could fire accurately in a moderate sea state, or moving for that matter.

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FellowVet December 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Parts of the image may be photo-shopped but consider that each tank has a separate camouflage pattern, some top and rear access hatches are open, others closed, spent shell casings indicate they each had fired a different number of rounds (trying to get the shots just right?).

As to the shells being the same size across distance, the images are blurred and not the same length. Also, any artilleryman or gunners mate will tell you that the type and size of round and the type and amount of propellant used will affect muzzle velocity and how it would register on film.

As to the flags flapping in different directions, having sailed on a number of ships I can attest to wind patterns of ships being very fickle especially where it flows around superstructures, gun mounts or other objects projecting from a deck or hull.

I have seen numerous photos and films of US forces in amphibious landings of World War II conducting similar firings (tanks, artillery pieces, rocket launchers, mortars) from the decks of medium and large size landing craft and landing ships as they approached beach heads.

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Byron Skinner December 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Good Morning Folks,

To Brian Black. Are you trying to say or suggest that the Chinese are trying to build AC-130′s “Gunships” ?

I know the AC-130 doesn’t sport a 105mm Howitzer, but the (US M-60 tank) 105mm Cannon is close enough for me. Rumor has it that the next version may have the (M1A2 Abrams tank) 120mm Cannon on it, to compliment the GAU-12 25mm Gatling Gun, and the Bushmaster III 35mm Cannon, that is conditional on if some recoil problems can be solved.

ALLONS,

Byron Skinner

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Byron Skinner December 23, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Good Evening Folks,

Hi Fellow Vet. Gun number 121 seems to get around a lot and be very popular. It appears to be in another picture story today about another country.

My son brought up another point. How heavy are those SP Howitzers. and how strong is that deck plate that appears to be a tanker or other bulk carrier?

If the ship is an oil tanker how smart is it to fire a missile off the deck?

ALLONS,
Byron Skinner

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blight December 24, 2010 at 12:31 am

I wonder if this is the kind of thing you put on a Q-ship. On paper it might have utility on opening day when nobody's on the lookout for this kind of thing, but after that…?

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John Johnson December 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm

China is at least 60 YEARS behind US Marines. Such use of artillery pieces on ships was used during WW2 in the Pacific area.

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TLAM Strike December 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm

The Chinese LCS? :D

…… still better than ours! :(

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tperk1 January 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm

As soon as I looked at it I thought of the movie Red-Dawn. could you imagine a bunch of cargo ships off shore of San Francisco bombarding the beachhead for the assault troops in fishing boats, or even worse a surprise attack on Taiwan

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howard January 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

i like the idea of adding easily repairable-replaceable and highly mobile
tracked heavy guns to otherwise low level naval ships.
sort of solves the what do we fight a close in conflict with doesn't it?
especially before the air cover or surface protection arrives.

i'd suggest this concept is more appropriate for a shore defense
or convoy defense strategy. (also defense of supply ships making
a move on Taiwan) and makes EVERY ship a dangerous ship.
if i was the Cpt. i'd rather have the big guns on my side than weenie
small stuff if a fast boat came over the horizon at my area.
you always want greater range in which to confront and fight.

the images DO look faked.
that doesn't deduct from what is an ingenious arming plan.

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howard January 26, 2011 at 9:15 am

another comment…
suppose the ship was part of a supply and assault convoy?
with the proper off loading system or ramps, these
mobile tracked guns would be really a help on land
once the vessel arrived at a dock.
they could amphib to shore if they are water tight rated.
again, i like the concept of getting more firepower on
the ships and again on the shore.

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Rosa April 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Totally photo shopped if the guns were going to have a blast it would be closer to the barrel.

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pastor andal November 9, 2011 at 4:33 am

saving money by putting artillery piece on ships.harpoon missile mounted fast craft is expensive..

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LordZ January 6, 2014 at 9:58 am

Uhmmmm…. all the smoke looks exactly the same and has a telltale 3D rendered look. FAKE

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Belesari December 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm

It would probably depend on the Desgin. But then wont matter anyways sense we will have the mighty LCS and stealthy DDG-1000 (stealthy and the size of a ww2 pocket battleship) to protect us LOL

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S O December 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

You're a bit quick with your accusation against North Korea since "PLA" refers to the army of the People's Republic of CHINA.

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FOX RANGER December 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Did your liberal parents drop you on your head as a baby? It would explain at least two of your most prominent traits in one fell swoop…

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Mystick December 21, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I concur.

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crackedlenses December 22, 2010 at 10:44 am

What have I said that would pin me as a lib? I was making fun of the fact that libs want the government to do everything……

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