Ukraine is using Indian 155mm shells for the Polish Krab SPH

Recent reports circulating amongst Russian and Ukrainian sources suggest that Ukraine has, in all likelihood, has received Indian 155mm artillery shells. According to the information found on this TG account, these shells are compatible with the AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers supplied to Ukraine by Poland. 

The Ukrainian Front in X, a renowned source previously known for its Twitter presence, posted a video that showcases these Indian shells being loaded into the Polish howitzer. The caption of the video reads, “Ukrainian military personnel operate within the Polish 155-mm self-propelled howitzer AHS Krab.” It interestingly points out, for the first time, the sighting of such 155-mm artillery shells. 

From the visual evidence provided by photos and videos, the artillery seems to be the HE ERFB BB model. The process and timeline of Ukraine acquiring these Indian shells remain a mystery. Direct shipment from New Delhi to Kyiv or indirect acquisition through intermediaries are both possibilities. This strategy would enable India to preserve its amicable relations with Russia, and at the same time, Ukraine would be in possession of ammunition from a Russian affiliate. 

Ukraine is using Indian 155mm shells for the Polish Krab SPH
Photo credit: Telegram

In light of the present state of affairs, indirect procurement through a third-party could be a viable option. The US, in all probability, is the country that procured the 155mm ammunition and has since transported it to Ukraine. This reasoning is backed by an October announcement from the US, highlighting its intent to boost global 155mm artillery ammunition production. 

In this initiative, an investment of 1.5 billion US dollars was proposed, with the benefit being extended to the U.S., Canada, India, and Poland. 

The HE ERFB BB model is a high-explosive, 155mm artillery shell, boasting an operational range just over 38 km. The shell’s user-friendly design allows it to function effectively in a temperature range of -20 degrees Celsius to +60 degrees Celsius, according to its technical specifications. 

The “BB” model’s technical specifications indicate that Ukraine is in possession of the long-range type of shell. Munitions India Limited [MIL], under India’s Ministry of Defense, manufactures this model. Another version, the “BT,” also manufactured by MIL, has a shorter range of between 24 and 30 km. 

MIL, a subsidy of India’s Ministry of Defense, is a leading producer of varied ammunition types, including but not limited to 105mm and 125mm in addition to the 155mm. In addition to artillery, the manufacturing giant supplies ammunition for a host of other military applications. 

Ukraine couldn’t have asked for a better time to receive these Indian shells. While we’re yet to determine the extent of ammunition received by Kyiv, their deployment within the Ukrainian military suggests its usage in upcoming weeks or months. 

It’s worth noting that Ukraine’s artillery arsenal was initially boosted by the addition of 18 AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers that were gifted by Poland. Eventually, Kyiv commissioned the production of an additional 54 units to meet the Ukrainian army’s requirements. By the end of December 2023, Poland had completed over half the order, delivering 36 out of the 54 units to Ukraine.

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