Denel Strikes Again

The latest issue of Jane’s Defence Weekly has a brief article on yet another notable success by Denel Land Systems Lyttleton (formerly LIW), the division responsible for the company’s artillery products.

This time, the latest variant of the company’s G6 howitzer, the G6-52L, has set a new range record for tubed artillery systems, propelling a shell to a phenomenal distance of 75km, easily beating the previous record (also set by Denel) of 67km. This was achieved using Denel’s V-LAP rocket-assisted artillery shell, which fires its rocket motor just prior to reaching apogee, increasing the range significantly.

Yet this impressive achievement is not due only to the ammunition. During the same round of tests, Germany’s high-tech PzH-2000 howitzer fired the exact same ammunition, but was only able to achieve a range of 56km, well short of the G6. Clearly Denel Land Systems has managed to do something special with the G6’s barrel, and it’s encouraging to know that highly-skilled and innovative engineers and scientists are evidently still working on the project. What’s more, Denel is currently working on improving the range and accuracy of the G6 even further.

At the same time, this makes the Indian decision to ban Denel from competing for its 155mm artillery contract look increasingly short-sighted. The ban was instituted following alleged corruption by Denel in another deal, though this has never conclusively been proven, and I’ve always believed the controversy to be more about domestic Indian politics (and a desire to implicate the previous government in wrong-doing) than any real crime. That’s politics, I guess.