The Ukrainian army will have a ruthless self-propelled tank to deal with the invading Russian forces. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that his country would send at least 50 AHS Krabsalso known as the “Polish Crab” under an agreement of the largest arms export agreement signed by Poland in the last 30 years and by which Ukraine will pay PLN 3 billion (about 655 million euros).
The AHS Krab is a self-propelled diesel tank, 45.5 tons of weight, which entered service in 2015, measures 9 meters long by 3.5 wide, has a maximum speed of 63 kilometers per hour and a range for 395 kilometers. With capacity for five people, it is an armored car with structured and welded sheet steel. Its main weapon is an AS-90 turret. brave heart equipped with a cannon for a 155-millimeter L31 39 howitzer and 48 projectiles that are used to “incapacitate and destroy”. In addition, it has a machine gun as a secondary weapon, a 7.62-millimeter UKM and 3,500 bullets.
The “Polish crab” is equipped with the ES S12U engine and other elements (such as undercarriages and suspension) from the earlier PT-91 Twardy main battle tank. The 2011 model is equipped with the Franco-Polish manufactured barrel Nexter Systems for the ballistic systems of the cannon and its production is being supervised by French engineers.
The gun was developed with the aim of creating a long-range 155mm artillery piece for the Polish Army, capable of hitting a target located 40 kilometers away and firing six shots per minute. It was decided that instead of purchasing a license for a complete vehicle, it would only be purchased for a modern L/52 gun and turret, and these would be mounted on a domestically developed chassis. In 1997 the call for a contest for the manufacture of an artillery piece (complete turret with cannon) was announced. The winner turned out to be the British AS-90M. The UPG-NG chassis was developed in Poland by OBRUM in Gliwice, from the Soviet MT-S chassis.
The first prototype was completed in 2001, but financial problems delayed the program until 2012, when six new-build and two upgraded prototypes were completed. The first K9 chassis was shipped to Poland for testing and integration in June 2015. The prototype was launched on August 24 and successfully passed all tests in April 2016, at which time serial production was authorized.
On April 28, during the visit of the Polish Prime Minister to Stalowa Wola, the first two copies were handed over to the army, which were used to develop operational standards for combat units.. On November 18, nine more “crabs” were handed over to the Minister of National Defense from Poland, while seven more were in the testing phase.
The agreement for the production of 96 more units was signed on December 14, 2016, bringing the total order to 120 Crabs for five regiments, which would be equipped with 24 howitzers.
In this way, Poland continues to be one of the countries that collaborates most militarily with Ukraine, after the Russian invasion that began on February 24. In addition to the numerous tanks, infantry vehicles, artillery systems and different military equipment, there are 18 self-propelled 155mm howitzers delivered earlier this month.