Land vehicles

Ukraine: What can UK's self-propelled AS90 howitzers offer?

What can the AS-90 155mm self-propelled gun offer to Ukraine?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced about 30 AS-90 self-propelled artillery guns will be sent to Ukraine to help the country in its fight against Russia's invasion.

The UK is stepping up its support to Ukraine, with 14 Challenger 2 tanks also set to be delivered to Ukraine's armed forces.

The AS-90 howitzers are operated by five gunners and reportedly, Ukrainian troops will be given UK-based training on how to operate them and the tanks.

Former Commander of the US Army in Europe, Lieutenant General (Retired) Ben Hodges, said the AS-90s will be important for Ukraine.

He tweeted: "Just as important as tanks... self-propelled artillery that can support maneuver by tanks and infantry fighting vehicles as well as destroy Russian artillery in a counter-fire fight.

"UK continues to impress," he added.

There has been speculation that the UK could send AS90s to Ukraine for some time.

Defence industry analyst and former Army officer Nicholas Drummond said in March last year that the system "in its day" was "superb".

"Though past its best, it's still capable of serving Ukrainian forces well," he wrote on Twitter. 

 

What is the AS90?

The AS90 entered service with the British Army in the 1990s.

It is a 155mm self-propelled gun that equips three field regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery.

It is fitted with a 155mm, 39-calibre gun barrel.

According to the Army, in trials, two AS-90 guns were able to deliver a total payload of 261kg onto a single target in less than 10 seconds.

With an automated loading system, the gun is able 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.

The gun is equipped with a recoil and hydrogas suspension system, which allows the turret to traverse and fire through a full 360°.

AS90 Self-Propelled Artillery artillery gun, seen here in the winter snow of Estonia 07022018 CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright
Image of a AS90 Self-Propelled Artillery artillery gun, seen here in the winter snow of Estonia in 2018 (Picture: MOD Crown Copyright).

AS90 Specifications:

Technical characteristics/specifications

AS-90

Crew:

5, on board when moving (driver plus 4 gun detachment)

Length:

 9.07 m

Width:

3.5 m

Height:

2.4 m

Weight:

45 tons

Calibre:

155 mm

Vehicle Range:

420 km

Effective Range:

24.7 km

Max speed:

53 km/h

Vehicle range:

370 km or 231 mi (Road)

Main Arment:

1 x L31 36-Calibre Ordnance

Ammunition Carried:

48 x 155 mm rounds

Second Armament:

1 x 7.62 GPMG on turret

Rate of fire:

Burst (3 rounds/ 10 sec), Intense (6 rounds/ minute for 3 minutes), Sustained (2 rounds/ minutes for 60 minutes)