US: 155mm Krab SPHs play important role in Ukraine, shells are problem

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WASHINGTON — Polish Krab self-propelled howitzers play a significant role in the war in Ukraine, the American television CNN reported in a report from Donbass. In the material, Ukrainian soldiers praise the accuracy and modernity of these guns.

Photo: 21st Podhale Rifle Brigade

The report shows Krab shelling Russian positions from a distance of 30 km, as the entire operation, ie. “They are much better than what we had before. The mobile [equipment] gets us out of harm’s way quickly,” Krab Battery Commander said, a former math teacher Vasil, who underwent two weeks of training on how to operate a gun, told CNN after the shot.

The soldier also praised the advanced and “comfortable” Polish Topaz fire control system and the precision thanks to navigation, including GPS. These elements provide the Ukrainian gunners with very good situational awareness. This included having to make the “Crabs” “popular” with Ukrainians, while Kyiv ordered another 54 howitzer guns in addition to those donated by Poland [in the first batch – 18 guns]. The value of the order to be executed by Huta Stalowa Wola is PLN 2.7 billion.

However, CNN’s report suggests that the problem may be the availability of ammunition, as well as the integration of equipment from different NATO countries. A television reporter also noted that despite modern weapons supplied by the West, some Ukrainian soldiers lacked proper footwear and communication equipment.

About 155mm Krab SPH

AHS Krab is a Polish self-propelled tracked gun-howitzer, which is a NATO standard 155mm caliber. AHS Krab is a product that is a mix of the South Korean self-propelled howitzer K9 Thunder and British AS-90M Braveheart turret with a 52-caliber gun and WB Electronics’ “Topaz” artillery fire control system. Officially, it is currently in service only in the Polish army. The only battle in which there is documented participation in the Ukrainian-Russian war in 2022.

The howitzer was designed nearly 20 years ago, but serial production began only in 2015 [modified version]. According to official data, 80 units of this howitzer were produced in a total of three variants.

The AHS Krab is manned by a five-member crew, weighs nearly 48 tons, and has the following dimensions: length: 12.05 m (39 ft 6 in), width: 3.60 m [11 ft 10 in), and height: 3.00 m]. AHS Krab can fire a maximum of six projectiles in a minute, and the range is 3d or 40 km [40 km if using a base bleed round]. In addition to the 155mm cannon, the field howitzer also has a 12.7mm WKM-B .50 BMG heavy machine gun.

Photo credit: Global Defense Corp

An STX Engine STX-MTU MT881Ka-500 8-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine powers the AHS Krab delivering 735 kW [1,000 hp] at 2,700 rpm. The transmission is SNT Dynamics X1100-5A3 4 forward, 2 reverse, while the suspension is hydropneumatic. 400 km is the maximum distance that AHS Krab can cover by refueling a tank, and the maximum speed reaches 67 km / h.

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