Initial model of Krab shown in 2010
|Place of origin||Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom|
|Used by||Polish Land Forces|
|Designer||OBRUM, CPW HSW|
|Weight||52,140 kg (114,950 lb)|
|Length||11.64 m (38 ft 2 in)|
|Width||3.40 m (11 ft 2 in)|
|Height||3.80 m (12 ft 6 in)|
|Shell||155 mm NATO|
|Rate of fire||6 rounds per minute (sustained)|
|Effective firing range||30 km (19 mi)|
|Maximum firing range||40 km (25 mi) with base bleed round|
|WKM-B .50 BMG|
850 HP (625 kW)
|360 km (220 mi)|
|Speed||Maximum: 60 km/h (37 mph)
Average: 30 km/h (19 mph)
The AHS Krab (Polish for Crab) is a 155 mm NATO-compatible self-propelled tracked howitzer (or more precisely a gun-howitzer) designed in Poland by Centrum Produkcji Wojskowej Huta Stalowa Wola, by combining the South Korean K9 Thunder chassis with a British AS-90M Braveheart turret with 52-calibre gun and WB Electronics' "Topaz" artillery fire control system. The 2011 version used a Nexter Systems barrel and UPG chassis. The future production batch is expected in 2016, and is to utilize the K9 chassis and a Rheinmetall barrel.
The cannon was developed within the research framework "Regina". The program's goal was to create a 155 mm (6 and 1/8 inches) 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. As of 2012 two prototypes and eight initial units have been build by Huta Stalowa Wola. In 2012-2013 those were used for tests conducted by the Polish Army as a part of the battery command module "Regina".
In 1997 there was announced a contest for an artillery part (complete turret with a gun). The British AS-90M was a winner (the other contestant was PzH-2000), and in 1999 its technology was transferred to Huta Stalowa Wola factory. The chassis UPG-NG was developed in Poland by OBRUM in Gliwice, from a chassis SPG-1M (developed itself from a Soviet MT-S tractor), utilizing parts unified with PT-91 Twardy tank. The first prototype was completed in 2001, the second - next year. The first two examples of the howitzer (prototypes) 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 only in 2008 Polish Army ordered the first introduction batch of the squadron module, compleded in 2012. It covers eight guns (six new-built and two upgraded prototype vehicles), command vehicles (on a much modernized MTLB chassis), plus ammunition vehicles and repair vehicles for the armament and electronics, as well as the fire control system etc.
In the introductory and series products original British guns are replaced by those supplied by Nexter. Trial firing of another gun supplied by the maker is realized every month until the end of the year (the third gun was tested on 10 August in presence of representatives of the Armament Inspectorate and the Head Office of the Missile and Artillery Force of the Air Forces). These are realized at the Dynamic Trial Center of the WITU (Military Technical Institute of Armament) in Stalowa Wola. The first firing of the third complete Krab (which has also received new elements of on-board electronics, developed by WB Electronics) was carried out on 29 July 2011. Concentration of fire was tested, among others.
Eventually, on 17 December 2014 Polish Ministry of Defense announced the deal worth US $320M with Korean Samsung Techwin to purchase 120 K9 Thunder chassis, with first 24 to be delivered in 2017 and 96 to be build under license in Poland in 2018-2022. Poland evaluated also Turkish built T-155 Firtina chassis of the same origin. The original Polish OBRUM's[Note 1] UPG-NG chassis build 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 cracks in its structure and ceased production of S-12U engines.
Each of the planned five squadrons of Krabs is going to be equipped with 24 howitzers. The development program of advanced, smart 155 mm ammunition is started.
- Msta-S 2S19
- Panzerhaubitze 2000
- Type 99 155 mm Self-propelled howitzer
- K-9 Thunder
- T-155 Fırtına
- OBRUM stands for Ośrodek Badawczo-Rozwojowy Urządzeń Mechanicznych (Polish: "Research and Development Centre for Mechanical Appliances")
- Kwasek, Tomasz. Nowe szaty Kraba in: "Nowa Technika Wojskowa" Nr. 9/2015. P.16-24 (Polish)
- Samsung Techwin signs deal for delivering 120 K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers to Poland. armyrecognition.com, December 17, 2014.
- e-RAPORT MSPO 3/2013 3 September 2013.
- Pierwsze koreańskie podwozie dla Kraba. altair.com.pl (Polish)
- „Krab” na nowej drodze życia?. defence24.pl (Polish)
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