United Kingdom to provide AS90 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine

According to information published by the website "Express" on April 24, 2022, the United Kingdom will send AS90 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers and 45,000 artillery ammunition to Ukraine. The howitzers will come from artillery units of the British army.
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British army AS90 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Citing information from the "Express" website, the British AS90 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers will be sent next week to Poland. The Ukrainian soldiers will be trained in Poland for the use and maintenance before being deployed to Ukraine for combat operations.

Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom will deliver more artillery weapons to Ukraine as the conflict with Russia moves into a new phase. The United Kingdom is one of the countries in Europe which has provided great military assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. On April 8, 2022, the UK approved a new military air to Ukraine of around $120 million including anti-tank missiles, loitering munitions, air defense missiles, and additional non-lethal military equipment including ballistic helmets, body armor, and night vision goggles.

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense has launched a program called Mobile Fires Platform with the goal to acquire a new mobile artillery system that will replace the old AS90 that entered in service with the British army in the early 1990s.

Initially, the British Army operated 179 AS90 artillery systems, and currently, according to the Military Balance 2021, only 89 AS90 howitzers are used by the British army. The artillery howitzer is currently scheduled to be retired in 2030. The donation of AS 90s to Ukraine could accelerate the acquisition of a new artillery system by the British army.

The AS90 nicknamed Braveheart is a 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer manufactured by the British company BAE Systems. The AS90 project was completed in March 1985, and the first prototype was shown at the British Army Equipment Exhibition in June 1986.

The design of AS90 is based on a tracked armored chassis with the driver seated at the front left part of the hull with the power pack to his right, and the turret at the rear. The howitzer has a crew of five including a driver, commander, gunner, and two loaders. The chassis of AS90 is of all-welded steel armor construction with a maximum thickness of 17 mm. The armor of the hull and turret provide protection against the firing of small arms and artillery shell splinters.

The AS90 is armed with a 155mm, 39 or 52-caliber gun barrel and is equipped with an automatic loading system enabling the gun to fire with a burst rate of three rounds in fewer than ten seconds, an intense rate of six rounds a minute for three minutes and a sustained rate of two rounds a minute. A total of 48 rounds are carried inside the vehicle. It can fire all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition with a maximum firing range of 24.7 km with standard HE-FRAG (High Explosive Fragmentation) projectiles and 32 km with a rocket-assisted projectiles.

The AS90 is powered by a Cummins VTA-903T-660 V-8 diesel engine developing 660 hp. at 2,800 rpm coupled to a Renk LSG 2000 fully automatic transmission with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can run at a maximum road speed of 55 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 370 km at 45 km/h.