AHS Krab

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
AHS Krab, a self-propelled tracked howitzer
TypeSelf-propelled artillery
Place of originPoland
Service history
Used by
WarsRusso-Ukrainian War
Production history
ManufacturerHuta Stalowa Wola
Unit costUS$11.45M (est)
Mass48 t (47 long tons; 53 short tons)
Length12.1 m (39 ft 8 in)
Barrel length8.06 m (26 ft 5 in) L/52
Width3.63 m (11 ft 11 in)
Height3 m (9 ft 10 in) to turret roof

Caliber155 mm (6.1 in)
BreechInterrupted screw
Elevation+70° (1244 mils)/-3.5° (-62 mils)
Traverse360° (6400 mils)
Rate of fire
  • 2 rds/min sustained
  • 18 rds/3 mins rapid
Maximum firing range
SightsWB Electronics Topaz FCS

ArmorMax 16 mm (0.63 in) steel armour
155 mm/52-calibre howitzer
40 rounds (29 turret, 11 hull)
EngineSTX Engine/MTU Friedrichshafen MT881Ka-500 8-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine
750 kW (1,000 hp)
TransmissionSNT Dynamics/Allison Transmission X1100-5A3
4 forward, 2 reverse
SuspensionMottrol/Horstman Hydropneumatic Suspension Unit (HSU)
travel distance: ≤ 275 mm
dead weight: 40 ~ 45 kN
400 km (250 mi)
Maximum speed
  • 60 km/h (37 mph) on road
  • 30 km/h (19 mph) off road

The AHS Krab (Polish for crab) is a 155 mm NATO-compatible self-propelled tracked gun-howitzer designed in Poland by Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW), by combining the South Korean K9 Thunder chassis with a British BAE Systems AS-90M Braveheart turret with French Nexter Systems 52-calibre long gun and Polish WB Electronics' Topaz artillery fire control system. "AHS" is not a part of the name, but Polish abbreviation of armatohaubica samobieżna - gun-howitzer, self-propelled.[2]

The 2011 version used a Nexter Systems barrel and Polish UPG-NG chassis. The 2016 production batch utilized the Hanwha Defense K9 chassis with KMW+Nexter Defense Systems long gun, Rheinmetall barrel and STX Engine-MTU Friedrichshafen engine. As of 2016 full-rate production of 120 Krabs for the Polish Army has started with deliveries to be completed by 2024. As of 2019, Huta Stalowa Wola started using barrels of their own manufacture in successive production batches.[3]


The cannon was developed within the "Regina" research framework. The program's goal was to create a 155 mm (6.1 in) calibre long-range artillery piece for the Polish Army that would serve as a division-level asset. It was decided, that instead of buying a licence for a complete vehicle, only a licence for a modern L/52 gun and turret would be bought, and they would be mounted on domestically developed chassis.

In 1997 a competition for an artillery component, a complete turret with a gun, was announced. The British AS-90M won the competition, the other contestant was the PzH-2000. In 1999 its technology was transferred to Huta Stalowa Wola factory.[4] The UPG-NG chassis was developed in Poland by OBRUM in Gliwice, from an SPG-1M chassis, itself developed from a Soviet MT-S tractor, using parts combined with the PT-91 Twardy tank.[4] The first prototype was completed in 2001, the second the following year.[4]

The first two prototypes of the howitzer are fitted with turret systems supplied by BAE Systems. It was planned to complete the first squadron in 2008, but the program was delayed due to financial reasons, and not until 2008 did the Polish Army order the introductory batch of the squadron module, completed in 2012.[4] It covers eight guns (six new-built and two upgraded prototype vehicles), command vehicles (on a much modernized MTLB chassis), as well as ammunition and repair vehicles for the ordnance and electronics.

In the introductory and series products, Nexter guns replaced the original British pieces. The trial firing of another gun supplied by the manufacturer continued every month through the end of the year, the third gun was tested on 10 August under the supervision of representatives of the Armament Inspectorate and the Head Office of the Missile and Artillery Force of the Air Forces, at the Dynamic Trial Center of the WITU, the Military Technical Institute of Armament, in Stalowa Wola.[5]

The first firing of the third complete Krab, which also received new elements of onboard electronics developed by WB Electronics, occurred in July 2011. The concentration of fire was among the requirements tested.[6] As of 2012, two prototypes and eight initial units, two artillery batteries each with four guns, had been built by Huta Stalowa Wola. In 2012–2013 eight new examples were used for tests conducted by the Polish Army as a part of a "Regina" battery command module.[7]

In December 2014, the Polish Ministry of Defence announced the deal worth US$320M with Korean Samsung Techwin (now Hanwha Techwin) to purchase 120 K9 Thunder chassis, with the first 24 to be delivered in 2017 and 96 to be built under licence in Poland in 2018–2022.[8] Poland also evaluated the Turkish-built T-155 Firtina chassis of the same origin.[9] The original Polish OBRUM's[Note 1] UPG-NG chassis built by BUMAR equipped with an S-12U engine and other elements (like road wheels) from the PT-91 Twardy used in eight initial production howitzers was abandoned due to structural cracks and ceased production of S-12U engines.

The first K9 chassis was shipped to Poland for testing and integration in June 2015.[10] The prototype was rolled out in August 2015.[11] It went through type acceptance testing in October 2015.[12] The test ended successfully in April 2016, allowing series production.[13] In April 2016, the Ministry of National Defence and the manufacturer concluded the research and development phase.[14] In April 2016, during the Polish prime minister's visit to Stalowa Wola, the first two serial examples were handed over to the Polish Army.[15]

They joined eight initial production examples at the Artillery Training Center in Toruń, and were used to develop operational standards for combat units. During the handover ceremony in November 2016, nine Krabs were accepted in the presence of the Polish Minister of National Defence, while seven more were in the acceptance testing phase.[16] Eight original turrets on UPG chassis are scheduled to be upgraded to the K9 chassis after the first batch of 16 guns is delivered by the end of 2016.[17] The deal for the next 96 units was signed in December 2016, raising total order to 120 Krabs for five regiments.[18]

Each of the planned five regiments of Krabs will be equipped with 24 howitzers.[19] The first unit to receive 24 Krabs by 2017 will be 11th Masurian Artillery Regiment in Węgorzewo. The development program of advanced, smart 155 mm ammunition was expected to conclude in 2017.[20]

In late May 2022, the Polish government donated 18 Krabs to Ukraine to help the Ukrainian military defend the nation against the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[21] The two governments signed a contract under which Poland will sell Ukraine an additional 60 Krabs, in a deal worth 3 billion złotys (US$700 million).[22] With the deal, Ukraine became the first export customer for Polish Krabs.[22] The agreement was the largest defence contract that Poland had made in the previous 20 years.[22] In October 2022, Ukraine's Ministry of Defence Oleksii Reznikov revealed, that Poland had already donated three battalions of Krabs (i.e. 54 pieces with support vehicles), and another three were ordered.[23]

Heavy IFV[edit]

In August 2023, the consortium of Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) and HSW signed a framework contract with Poland's MND Armament Agency to deliver several hundred Ciężki Bojowy Wóz Piechoty (CBWP, Heavy Infantry Combat Vehicles) beginning in 2025. The vehicle's chassis will be made using elements of the Krab SPH fitted with the ZSSW-30 remote turret system to carry three crew and eight troops and engage various targets in direct contact while having a high level of ballistic and anti-mine protection.[24]


An AHS Krab during a parade in Poland.
  • Poland Polish Land Forces – 8 in stock. 80 delivered of a total of 122 ordered,[25] however 72 were donated to Ukraine leaving Poland with 8 for training. On 2022-09-05 another 48 were ordered.[26]
  • Ukraine Ukrainian Ground Forces – At least 72 units were given by Poland from Polish Army stock;[27] another 54 are on order.[28] As of 20 September 2023, Oryx recorded at least 21 losses, with 18 units destroyed and 3 damaged (Oryx's list only includes destroyed equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available, therefore the amount of equipment destroyed is presumably higher than Oryx's recorded).[29]

Operational history[edit]

Ukraine reports that it has used the weapon during fighting near Sievierodonetsk.[30]

The AHS Krab was used during the 2022 Ukrainian eastern counteroffensive in the Kharkiv Oblast.[31]

In Autumn 2022 it was revealed, that Ukraine used the Krab with Excalibur precision ammunition, obtaining range above 50 km.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ OBRUM stands for Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Urządzeń Mechanicznych (Polish: "Research and Development Centre for Mechanical Appliances")


  1. ^ Janes (8 June 2022), "Krab 155 mm", Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 30 January 2023
  2. ^ "From 30 to 155 mm. Expanded Barrel Manufacturing Facility at HSW". Huta Stalowa Wola S.A. Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  3. ^ "From 30 to 155 mm. Expanded Barrel Manufacturing Facility at HSW". Huta Stalowa Wola S.A. Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  4. ^ a b c d Kwasek, Tomasz. Nowe szaty Kraba in: "Nowa Technika Wojskowa" Nr. 9/2015. P.16-24 (in Polish)
  5. ^ Pozytywne Wyniki Badań Działa Dla Kraba. (in Polish)
  6. ^ Pozytywne Wyniki Badań Działa Dla Kraba. (in Polish)
  7. ^ Kraby Kla 11. MPA. (in Polish)
  8. ^ Samsung Techwin signed a deal to deliver 120 K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers to Poland. armyrecognition.com, December 17, 2014.
  9. ^ e-RAPORT MSPO 3/2013 Archived December 18, 2014, at the Wayback Machine 3 September 2013.
  10. ^ Pierwsze koreańskie podwozie dla Kraba. altair.com.pl (in Polish)
  11. ^ „Krab” na nowej drodze życia?. Archived 2015-09-26 at the Wayback Machine defence24.pl (in Polish)
  12. ^ Testy poligonowe Kraba. "Ostatni etap przygotowań do produkcji seryjnej". Archived 2016-11-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
  13. ^ Krab gotowy do produkcji, huta czeka na zamówienia wojska. (in Polish)
  14. ^ Wojsko zgadza się na produkcję seryjną Kraba. Czas na eksport?. Archived 2016-11-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
  15. ^ "Kraby meldują się do służby". Archived from the original on 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  16. ^ “Artillery Deal of the Century” – Is it Maturing?. defence24.com, 21 November 2016.
  17. ^ „Krab” na ostatniej prostej. Archived 2016-11-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
  18. ^ Artyleryjski kontrakt stulecia podpisany. "Regina" za 4,6 mld zł. Archived 2016-12-16 at the Wayback Machine defence24.pl, 2016-12-14 (in Polish)
  19. ^ Krab Howitzers for the Polish Army. defence24.com, 21 November 2016.
  20. ^ Amunicyjno-artyleryjska karuzela w Sejmie. Prace nad pociskami dla Raka, Kraba, Leopardów. Archived 2016-11-22 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish)
  21. ^ Charlish, Alan; Hunder, Max (May 29, 2022). "Poland gives 18 howitzers to Ukraine - public radio". Reuters. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  22. ^ a b c "Poland to sell 60 Krab self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine". Ukrinform. June 2, 2022. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  23. ^ "3 dywizjony Krabów na Ukrainie". altair.pl (in Polish). 2022-10-18.
  24. ^ Poland signs deals for light recon vehicles, heavy infantry combat vehicles and APCs. Breaking Defense. 14 August 2023.
  25. ^ "Polish Armed Forces have received self-propelled howitzers KRAB". Huta Stalowa Wola S.A. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  26. ^ "Kraby zamówione w Kielcach". defence24.pl (in Polish). 5 September 2022. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  27. ^ "3 dywizjony Krabów na Ukrainie". www.altair.com.pl. Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  28. ^ "Poland to sell howitzers to Ukraine: report". polskieradio.pl. June 2, 2022. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  29. ^ Oryx. "Attack On Europe: Documenting Ukrainian Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine". Oryx. Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  30. ^ "155mm Krab SPH is game-changer in Severodonetsk, says Ukraine". 18 June 2022. Retrieved 4 July 2022.
  31. ^ Сафронов, Тарас (13 September 2022). "Західна бронетехніка в наступі на Харківщині". mil.in.ua (in Ukrainian).
  32. ^ "Kraby walczą Excaliburem". defence24.pl (in Polish). 2022-11-14. Retrieved 2023-06-07.