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  • Denel GV5 Luiperd (G5 Leopard) Towed Heavy Field Howitzer

    The G5 howitzer appeared in 1983 and has seen combat action in the South African Border War and the Iran-Iraq War.

     Updated: 5/10/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    During much of the Cold War, apartheid reigned in South Africa. This official policy movement - with origins in colonial times - attempted to sequester the rights of non-white peoples in the country. Violence naturally broke out against the movement over time and the United Nations instituted a trade embargo that severely limited the defense procurement abilities of the African country. As such, a move was enacted to circumvent the arms embargo by developing military equipment through indigenous means. This gave rise to the South African defense industry that - despite the end of apartheid in 1994 - continues today in making excellent pieces of military hardware, from small arms to tanks, attack helicopters to strike aircraft.

    In 1966, the South African Border Wars erupted (also known as the Angolan Bush War) and this placed stress on the South African Army who were still utilizing aged stocks of World War 2-era military equipment. Since the established arms embargo restricted any new legal purchases of military equipment, internal development began. One initial requirement became the need for a new artillery field gun of 155mm - a rather standard battlefield offering anywhere in the world. South African combat actions shown this to be a real limitation when dealing with enemies utilizing the latest in Soviet-inspired weapons. Up to this point, primary South African Army experience came from the use of British and American-originated artillery gun systems. Design work (with assistance from Canadian engineer Gerald Bull) began in 1976 under the direction of the Lyttleton Engineering Works and this spanned into the early 1980s. The end-product - in effect a derivative of the GC-45 howitzer series developed by Gerald Bull's Space Research Corporation in the 1970s - became the "G5" 155mm gun which underwent a lengthy period of testing and evaluation before being adopted by the modern South African Army. Production was charged to Denel Land Systems (this formally Lyttleton Engineering Works) with the first units being delivered in 1983.

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    Denel GV5 Luiperd (G5 Leopard) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1983
    Type: Towed Heavy Field Howitzer
    National Origin: South Africa
    Manufacturer(s): Denel Land Systems - South Africa
    Production: 550

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 8
    Length: 31.17 feet (9.50 meters)
    Width: 10.83 feet (3.30 meters)
    Height: 6.89 feet (2.10 meters)

    Operating Weight: 15 tons (13,750 kg; 30,314 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None
    Nightvision Equipment: None

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): None. This is a towed artillery piece.

    Engagement Range: 19 miles (30 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    G5 Mk I, Mk II and Mk III:
    1 x 155mm 44-caliber gun barrel

    1 x 155mm 55-caliber gun barrel

    Dependent on ammunition carrier.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Iran; Iraq; Malaysia; Qatar; South Africa

    Model Variants

    G5 Mk I - Initial Production Model

    G5 Mk II - Second production model

    G5 Mk III - Third production model

    G5-2000 - Most recent production artillery model; 52-caliber.

    T5-2000 - G5 155mm main gun fitted to a 4x4 wheeled truck chassis.

    T6 - Tank turret fitting the 155mm main gun of the G5 howitzer.