China's Laser-Guided Grenade Launchers Are Deadly from Half a Mile

Illustration for article titled Chinas Laser-Guided Grenade Launchers Are Deadly from Half a Mile

Not to be outdone by their their American counterparts' M203 grenade launchers with fancy new SAGM rounds, China's People's Liberation Army has been hard at work ripping off the design developing an under-barrel grenade launcher with similar laser-guided capabilities. There's nowhere to run (or hide) once you're in these sights.

Advertisement

The launcher is an integral component of China's futuristic ZH-05 Objective Individual Combat Weapon (OICW), which was introduced at the turn of the century to as an update to the PLA's existing 1950s-era rifle arsenal. Carried primarily by the Chinese Marines and special forces, the ZH-05 weighs less than 11 pounds fully loaded with 5.8mm rounds (probably because it still uses a manual bolt action for the launcher). And rather than a traditional iron sight, the ZH-05 utilizes a digital camera integrated into the soldier's head-mounted optics.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Chinas Laser-Guided Grenade Launchers Are Deadly from Half a Mile

Image: Hongjian - China Defense Forum

The most impressive feature of the ZH-05 though is its 20mm laser-guided grenade launcher. Designed to perform the same duties as the American M203, the launcher offers a range of a half mile with a blast radius of 25 feet. Plus it offers three kinds of rounds: An anti-personnel airburst, a pellet canister (think long-range shotgun), and a conventional impact grenade.

Per Military Informant:

The measured range-finder range to the target displayed on sight and entered automatically into the fire control system to calculate corrections for the shooting conditions and determine the number of revolutions grenades on the trajectory. Programming grenades carried in the arms, at the stage of loading, and provides an introduction to the original data and amendments issued by the ballistic computer, to solve the problem of combining non-contact point with the contour of a grenade explosion goal.

Advertisement

That means the grenade can be programmed to explode at a set distance, whether or not it actually impacts anything. With proper aim, a soldier would be able to program the grenade's electronic fuse to detonate and air-burst above an enemy position. In fact, field tests found the launcher 60 percent more efficient than conventional mortars during urban combat. What's more, the ZH-05 is reportedly far less expensive to produce than its American "smart rifle" counterpart, the $34,000 XM-29. Looks like laser-guided grenades are here to stay. [Firearms Blog - PopSci - Medium - Military - Wikipedia]

lead image: www.top81.cn

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

ApexPredat0r
ApexPredat0r

The bolt action looks like it is for the grenade launcher only - there is charging handle just below the rifle breech, and the actual rifle component is likely select fire. It's also interesting to note that the breech and the chamber for the grenade launcher are in the back of the upper receiver, giving it a much longer barrel and much better range than our current under-barrel offerings. This is much more like the XM-25 than the current M320, and overall, this more closely resembles our (the US) previous OICW project (which was scrapped).