Denel’s 155mm T5-52 Self-Propelled Howitzer has demonstrated an impressive range of over 60 kilometers during a successful capability demonstration held from August 15 to 17, 2023, at the Alkantpan Test Range in Copperton, Northern Cape. This showcase not only reaffirmed Denel’s resurgence but also emphasized its leading role in global technological advancements in artillery systems.
The demonstration aimed to rebuild and strengthen relationships with end users, the local defence industry, and international partners while exploring niche markets. Key highlights included Denel’s cutting-edge 52-caliber ballistic system, the 155mm Truck Mounted Gun System (T5), and the Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAVs).
The 155mm T5-52 Artillery system impressed with its advanced technology, boasting the capability to accurately and reliably fire beyond 60 kilometers. Notably, the event attracted ten international delegations, with eight in attendance. The South African delegation, led by Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Mr. Obed Bapela, participated in the demonstration, alongside representatives from various local defence entities.
The T5-52 truck mounted gun-howitzer was developed by Denel Land Systems. First prototype of this artillery system was revealed in 2002. It is a South African counterpart to the French CAESAR truck-mounted howitzer, developed to meet the potential requirements of India. Development of this artillery system is completed, however there were no confirmed sales.
The T5-52, designed for high mobility, increased firepower, and cost efficiency, showcased its prowess. Additionally, the Seeker 400 UAVs demonstrated their capabilities, offering direct line-of-sight ranges of up to 250 kilometers, endurance of over 10 hours, and a versatile sensor payload capacity of up to 100 kilograms.
Denel collaborated with its subsidiary Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), which supplied world-class artillery ammunition. The T5-52 155mm Artillery Howitzer, the focal point of the demonstration, was provided by Denel Land Systems. Notable exhibits included the 105mm Self-Propelled Howitzer (Altimate), mounted on Denel Vehicle Systems’ RG41 8*8 Armored Platform, the 105mm Light Experimental Ordnance (LEO/WEBBY), and the MST mounted on an RG32M mine-hardened armored patrol vehicle.
Denel Dynamics showcased the Seeker 400 with demonstration flights. The T5-52’s stability, accuracy, and consistency, including a 35-degree firing range to the left and right, were demonstrated on the first day. The second day featured the firing of Multi Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) rounds and a display of the maximum rate of fire. The “shoot and scoot” capability highlighted the system’s swift in-and-out action times.
The third day witnessed ultra-long-range firing, with three velocity-enhanced artillery projectiles (VLAP) fired at a distant target area. Despite challenging meteorological conditions, the system excelled, achieving a remarkable 60.4 kilometers with the first shot and 60.9 kilometers with the second. The final shot set a world record, reaching an astounding range of 6,129.3 kilometers, underscoring the synergy between Denel’s T5-52 and RDM’s Assegai family ammunition suite.
Deputy Minister Obed Bapela expressed his excitement about the successful event, emphasizing Denel’s resurgence with full government support. International delegates also expressed their enthusiasm for collaborating with Denel, while Armscor Board member Ms. Fundiswa Skweyiya-Gushu highlighted the positive path ahead for Denel and Armscor’s cooperation on local programs for the SANDF.
The capability demonstration received positive feedback, reinforcing Denel’s position as a global supplier of world-class aerospace, military, and defense equipment. Denel’s commitment to redefining its future and providing exceptional capabilities to its clients was unequivocally demonstrated at this event.
Denel said the T5-52 was developed to provide an ultra-long-range artillery capability, and is based on its proven track record that included the firing of a Velocity-Enhanced Long-range Artillery projectile (VLAP) out to more than 70 kilometres in the Northern Cape during the late 1990s. The company’s heritage includes delivering more than 400 155mm G5 and G6 systems around the world.
Denel Land Systems (DLS) officially launched its T5-52 truck-mounted self-propelled artillery system at the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2018 exhibition on 20 September. The mounted gun will soon enter service with the South African Army.