Artillery: Mix And Match


June 12, 2018: While Algeria has been buying billions of dollars’ worth of Russia weapons recently it has also been buying Chinese weapons as well. Algeria has noted that China often manufactures “Russian” type weapons that are cheaper, more reliable and delivered more quickly. A recent example of this is the W86 120mm mortar carried on the back of a Mercedes Benz 4x4 G Class military vehicle. Normally China offers the W86 carried on the back of a similar Chinese EQ2050 vehicle. EQ2050 is actually a copy of the American hummer (M998 HMMWV). But the W86 and its hydraulic system for getting the 206 kg (453 pound) W86 off and back onto the rear of the vehicle can be mounted on any similar 4x4 vehicle, including the hummer.

The G Class qualifies and is preferred because Algeria has been assembling G Class military vehicles in Algeria since 2015. Most of the production of the new plant is for civilian customers but up to 2,000 of the Class G vehicles are for Algerian military and para-military (including police) units. By adopting the G Class Algeria joined more than sixty other nations that have used the Class G for their armed forces. First developed in the 1970s as a military vehicle, civilian versions appeared as well and were soon outselling the military models. Production of G Class military model is to continue at least until 2025.

Most Model Gs are used to carry personnel and supplies. Able to haul up to 1.5 tons, some Model Gs are also used as ambulances and there is an armored version (with a payload of only half a ton). The standard Model Gs weigh about 3.5 tons while the armored models come in at 4.5 tons. In many respects, the hummer was inspired by the G Class but optimized for military use from the beginning. The hummer and G class have similar capabilities.

The W86 mortar was developed in the 1990s to replace the Type 55 (a copy of the Russian World War II M1943). There was an upgrade in 2003 and the version carried in the back of an EQ2050 appeared in 2014. The W86 has a more efficient recoil system and can handle more powerful new 120mm shells that have a range of up to 7.7 kilometers (and weigh about 14 kg/31 pounds each). The W86 is also sold in a towed version that uses large road wheels like artillery and can be towed by vehicles like the hummer. The version carried in the back of a hummer type vehicle is more popular and better able to move off-road. The W86 usually has a crew of six and these, as well as a few dozen rounds of ammo are carried on the vehicle along with navigation and fire control equipment (which often includes a laser range finder).


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