Chuch'e 107 155mm SPG

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Chuch’e 107 155mm SPG

Flag-North-Korea

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Brief History
North Korea has a surprisingly long history of tank and AFV production, with some of their most recent developments being very interesting. During the Korean War, and for a couple decades after, North Korea relied on Soviet hand-me-downs, namely T-34s and their derivatives, T-55s, etc. However, in the 70s, the DPRK started development of their first MBTs based on their copy of the T-62 (Ch’ŏnma), which have continually been upgraded to this day. They haven’t just built MBTs, however. They have a number of other AFVs, such as SPGs and tank destroyers (conventional and ATGMs).The Chuch’e-Po chassis was developed sometime in the 90s to replace the older Tŏkch’ŏn SPG series. This has formed the basis for a number of SPGs, but in 2018, the DPRK revealed a completely new design mounting a modern 155mm cannon.

The vehicle was confirmed (in 2022) to be called the 주체107년식 155mm 자행형곡사포 or Chuch’e Year 107 155mm self-propelled howitzer. Chuch’e Year 107 is the same as the Gregorian year 2018, which is why the vehicle is also referred to outside North Korea as M2018.

Name plaque:
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Characteristics
The first thing you might think of when looking at this is the South Korean K9 thunder, or even the German Panzerhaubitze 2000. And yes, this SPG looks surprisingly modern and a lot like some other SPGs. However, upon closer inspection, the vehicle looks strikingly similar to a relatively unknown vehicle – the Iranian Raad-2 (image below), which itself takes inspiration from the American M109A1.

Raad-2

iranian-raad-2-155mm-self-propelled-howitzer-e1540467705649

Although the two vehicles are not identical, it is clear North Korea has received detailed technical assistance from Iran in the development of this SPG. And from that, we can assume a number of the vehicle’s specifications that otherwise remain unknown.

The chassiss appears very similar to that of the Raad-2, but may also be a modified chassis from the Ch’ŏnma-215 (and onwards) or even the Seon’gun MBTs.

The tank is armed with a strange 155mm that doesn’t resemble any Chinese or Russian design (or even calibre, these nations tend to prefer 152mm), and instead looks very western. One credible source claims it has been determined to be an L/52 155mm, the same length and calibre as most NATO 155mm SPGs (and the same calibre as the Raad-2’s copied M109 L/39 gun). Ammunition specifics are unknown, but it likely uses similar ammunition to the Raad-2, but with greater firepower due to the lengthened barrel.

No specifics about the M2018’s FCS have been revealed but we do know the following:

  • The vehicle is capable of direct fire (gunner sight is visible above the driver)
  • The Raad-2 has a LRF and semi-automatic loader, so we can assume the M2018 does too

The first version spotted in 2018 has the typical North Korean 2018 parade secondary weaponry of:

  • 2x Igla
  • Smoke launchers
  • 2x 30mm grenade launchers (copy of Soviet AGS-17)
  • 2x Laser Warning Receivers on either side of the turret

A version first seen in 2020 has all these features, as well as a radar-based ballistic sensor (square directly above the barrel), which feeds gun data into the ballistic computer. We can therefore assume the FCS is relatively advanced, which further corroborates the idea that it has a LRF.

Conclusion
This vehicle would be a great indigenous SPG for a North Korean sub-tree. It would be the most advanced SPG available to North Korea, and would likely play very similarly to the South Korean/Norwegian K9 VIDAR. It likely doesn’t have thermals though, so I think a BR of roughly 8.0-8.3 would be great for it at either the same BR as the VIDAR (which could still go up to 8.3) as a sidegrade (Igla + smoke + LWR vs thermals) or one BR step below it.

Specifications
Armament

  • 155mm L/52
    • HE
  • Laser rangefinder and semi-autoloader
    • Likely, not confirmed

Armour

  • Hull
    • Front
      • Unknown
    • Sides
      • Unknown
    • Rear
      • Unknown
  • Turret
    • Front
      • Unknown
    • Sides
      • Unknown
    • Rear
      • Unknown

Mobility

  • Speed
    • Unknown, probably ~70km/h (same as Raad-2)
  • Weight
    • Unknown, probably ~36t (same as Raad-2)
  • Engine power
    • Unknown, probably 700hp or 840hp (same as Raad-2/Raad-2M) OR possibly same T-72-derived engine as Seon’gun (claimed 1200hp)

Other

  • 2x 30mm grenade launcher (AGS-17)
  • 2x Igla
  • Smoke launchers
  • 2x LWRs
  • Radar based ballistics sensor (2020 model only)

Images

Spoiler

152mm2
152mm4
152mm3
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vlcsnap-00146
152mm2
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Sources

Spoiler

The Mysterious Origins Of A New North Korean Howitzer | 21st Century Asian Arms Race
https://www.reddit.com/r/TankPorn/comments/10htl6i/juche_107_year_155mm_self_propelled_howitzer_of/
https://namu.wiki/w/주체107년식%20155mm%20자행형곡사포
(스압) 북괴 신형자주포 분석 > 인기 게시물_old2 | 시보드
朝鲜的轻中型防空武器汇总 自行火炮、自行火箭炮、自行反坦克导弹发射车底盘篇 - 知乎 – claims a 152mm but this is incorrect. Confirmed by North Korea to be 155mm

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Even on their SPGs they find ways to mount twin Iglas and grenade launchers! +1

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That’s a lot of unknown values…

Sure, but a lot are guessable. Armour I didn’t put down estimated values but it’s very likely to be the same/similar to the Raad-2. Either way, it will have thin armour and slightly incorrect values shouldn’t change how it performs at all, because it’s bad either way.

Actually, Iran did release a bunch of specifications for some of their vehicles intended to attract export offers. One of them is, strangly enough, the Raad 2.

Untitled144

image

Given how relatively obscure the Raad 2 (and Iranian military vehicles in general) is, the Raad 2 actually has some decent information available. It is essentially an M109-esque SPG based on the T-72 hull (that Iran locally produced under the license) and is confirmed to have laser rangefinder and semi-automatic reload.

Superficially, the Chuch’e’s gun has a somewhat similar muzzle brake, albeit in a triple instead of dual configuration. The hull also has similar “bulge” and towing port placement as the Raad 2. So, a link could be made about these two sharing certain design elements.

Though, in my opinion, I think it feels more like a convergent evolution rather than a technology transfer, especially since the Raad 2 was produced in 1997, 21 before the Chuch’e was unveiled.

Here’s the archive of the old specification page, as I was unable to view the MIndex website at the moment. I would probably have to create a suggestion for the Raad 2 at some point.

https://archive.ph/20120717104511/http://modlex.ir/cgi-bin/store.pl/page=product.html/pid=MXF04-000080

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Amazing information, thank you! I’ll have a look and see what can be added to this suggestion.

That’s quite possible, but I think given Iranian-North Korean ties, it could also very easily be something inspired by or aided by Iran. Especially given the switch from 152mm (Soviet/Chinese calibre) to 155mm (‘Western’ calibre).

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+1, though if it does indeed have a LRF (and if the VIDAR is anything to go by) it would fit nicely at 8.7!

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