Most Ukrainian media outlets reported that the United Kingdom was providing Ukraine with 20 155-mm AS-90 self-propelled artillery units and 45,000 shells. Even the Ukrainian Wikipedia article about this ACS contains the same information. But there is a small problem… All these materials refer to an article in the British tabloid The Daily Express… which does not exist. As there is no information about the transfer of AS-90 and other sources.
Well, let’s pretend that this is not a mistake, as was the case with MiG-29 aircraft, American MLRS, or Polish tanks, but a deliberate concealment of the fact of arms supplies and let’s see what the AS-90 ACS is.
The self-propelled artillery system AS-90 (Artillery System for the 1990s) was created by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering on the wreckage of a joint German-Italian-British project SP70 and with some features of the Paladin M109A6. That is, it is a fairly typical NATO ACS of the end of the previous century. Most importantly, the AS-90 is on the list of systems compatible with high-precision guided projectile M982 Excalibur, which we recently wrote about.
A total of 179 AS-90 ACS were manufactured from 1992 to 1995. Today, the United Kingdom has only 89 howitzers. There are no other operators in the AS-90, i.e. a certain amount of ACS is in storage, so theoretically it can be delivered to Ukraine.
With a barrel length of 39 calibers AS-90 launches a conventional projectile at a range of 25 km, “Excalibur” a little further. Unfortunately, the modification of the 52-caliber howitzer, which was planned in the late 90’s, did not happen, with such a gun AS-90 would have fired for 30 km.
But in the end, the AS-90 received a 52-caliber gun, but only as part of the Polish project AHS Krab, which combines the AS-90 turret with a 155-mm Rheinmetall 155-caliber gun and Samsung Aerospace Industries’ Korean K9 Thunder chassis. The monster was quite successful and the Polish Armed Forces ordered 120 Krab howitzers.
Returning to the AS-90. The howitzer can fire 3 shells per round in 10 seconds, but in continuous firing mode keeps the rate of 6 shots per minute for 3 minutes, because the gun needs cooling.
In any case, if the information about the transfer of the AS-90 anti-aircraft gun to the Ukrainian Armed Forces turns out to be true, and now everything is possible, we are sure that Ukrainian artillerymen will quickly master new weapons and use them for their intended purpose at the front.
AS-90 AC specifications
Crew – 5 people
Length – 9.07 m
Width – 3.3 m
Height – 3.0 m
Armor – 17 mm (steel)
Mass – 45 tons
Caliber – 155 mm
Barrel length – 39 calibers
Firing range – 25 km (standard projectile)
Rate of fire – 3 shots in 10 seconds (burst), 6 shots per minute for 3 minutes (intense), 2 shots per minute for 60 minutes (sustained)
Additional armament – machine gun 7.62 mm L7 GPMG
Ammunition carried – 48 projectiles and charges (31 turret and 17 hull), 1000 rounds of machine gun ammunition
Engine – Cummins VTA903T turbodiesel
Power – 660 hp
Maximum speed – 55 km/h (highway)
Range – 370 km (highway)
Road clearance – 0.41 m
Gradient – 60 °
Vertical obstacle – 0.75 m
Trench crossing – 2.8 m
Fordal depth – 1.5 m