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Ukrainian Artillerymen Arrive in UK for AS-90 Tracked Self-propelled Howitzer Training

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Ukrainian Artillerymen Arrive in UK for AS-90 Tracked Self-propelled Howitzer Training

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British Army AS-90 155 mm Self-propelled Howitzer
British Army AS-90 155 mm Self-propelled Howitzer

On Februay 6, Ukrainian artillerymen have now arrived in the UK to undergo training on the AS-90 tracked self-propelled howitzers. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is providing tanks to Ukraine to help them retake territory and repel enemy forces. The UK government confirmed reports on 14 January 2023 that in light of the developing situation in Ukraine, it had reversed its position on the supply of AS90 tracked self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. An initial commitment of 30 vehicles was announced.

The AS-90 (“Artillery System for the 1990s”), known officially as Gun Equipment 155 mm L131, is an armoured self-propelled artillery weapon used by the British Army. It can fire standard charges up to 24.9 km (15.5 mi) using 39-calibre long barrel and 30 km (19 mi) with 52-caliber long barrel. The maximum rate of fire is 3 rounds in 10 seconds (burst); 6 per minute for 3 minutes (intense); and 2 per minute for 60 minutes (sustained). The AS-90 uses a conforming 39 calibre barrel which fires the L15 unassisted projectile out to a range of 24.7 km.

Ukrainian artillerymen arrive in UK for AS-90 tracked self-propelled howitzers.
Ukrainian artillerymen arrive in UK for AS-90 tracked self-propelled howitzers. (Photo UK MoD)

This was a new design of ordnance using a split sliding block breech with Crossley obturation, instead of the more usual screw breech, to permit bagged charges (no metal cartridge cases). The breech mechanism has a primer magazine holding 18 primers. The standard ammunition is that designed for FH-70 (L15 HE and associated propelling charges) although in training the less effective but cheaper M107 with Green and White propelling charges is used. The gun can be brought into action fully closed down; the barrel can be clamped and unclamped from within the vehicle.

The AS-90 is fitted with an auxiliary power unit to eliminate the need to run the main engine to keep the batteries charged while stationary; electrical servos drive the automated elevation, traverse, magazine, shell transfer arm and loader as well as power for electronics and communications. The gun can be brought into action fully closed down; the barrel can be clamped and unclamped from within the vehicle. In-to and out-of action times are less than 1 minute.

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