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AS90

155 mm self-propelled howitzer

AS90 howitzer

The AS90 self-propelled howitzers will serve with the British Army until 2023

 
 
Country of origin United Kingdom
Entered service 1993
Crew 5 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 45 t
Length (gun forward) 9.9 m
Hull length 7.2 m
Width 3.4 m
Height 3 m
Armament
Main gun 155 mm howitzer
Barrel length 39 calibers
Machine guns 1 x 7.62 mm
Projectile weight 43.5 kg
Maximum firing range 24.7 - 32 km
Maximum rate of fire 6 rpm
Elevation range - 5 to + 70 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 48 rounds
Machine guns 1 500 - 2 000 rounds
Mobility
Engine Cummins VTA903 diesel
Engine power 660 hp
Maximum road speed 55 km/h
Range 350 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.75 m
Trench 3 m
Fording 1.5 m

 

   The AS90 self-propelled howitzer (AS - Artillery System) evolved from the international SP70 programme, which was cancelled in late 1980s due to funding problems. The AS90 artillery system was developed by Vickers. It entered service with the British Army in 1993. Production completed in 1995. A total of 179 self-propelled howitzers were built for the British Army. It replaced the FV433 Abbot and the US M109 self-propelled howitzers.

   The AS90 is fitted with 155 mm/L39 howitzer, which was developed from the FH70 towed howitzer. It is fitted with an automated loading system. The AS90 is compatible with all standard NATO 155 mm ammunition. Maximum range of fire is 24.7 km with standard HE-FRAG projectile and 32 km with a rocket assisted projectile. A total of 48 rounds are carried. The AS90 is capable of firing 3 rounds in 10 seconds. Maximum rate of fire is 6 rounds per minute, sustained - 2 rounds per minute.

   Secondary armament consists of 7.62 mm machine gun. The AS90 is also fitted with smoke grenade dischargers.

   The AS90 has a welded hull and turret. Its armor provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. It is claimed that front armor can withstand 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. All-round protection is against 7.62 mm armor-piercing rounds. Vehicle is fitted with an NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems.

   Vehicle is powered by the Cummins VTA903 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 660 horsepower. Vehicle is mated with transmission and can be removed in field conditions during an hour. The AS90 is also fitted with auxiliary power unit. It powers all systems when the main engine is shut down. The AS90 has a number of automotive components from the Challenger 1 main battle tank.

   The AS90 is supported by an 8x8 high mobility logistic support vehicle, fitted with a load handling system. It is used to transport ammunition. Originally the AS90 was supported by Foden DROPS 8x8 military truck. This truck could also carry a replacement engine for the AS90 in its trailer. However the Foden was phased out of service and replaced by a new MAN HX77 8x8 truck.

 

Variants

 

   AS90D (Desert), variant of the AS90 modified for desert use. It is fitted with thermal protection for the crew and improved engine cooling;

   AS90 Braveheart, upgrade programme of the AS90. It is fitted with longer 155 mm/L52 gun. This self-propelled howitzer has improved range of fire. Its maximum range is 30 km with standard projectile and 40 km with rocket assisted projectile. This project was terminated;

   Krab, Polish self-propelled howitzer, fitted with the AS90 Braveheart turret on a modified PT-91 Twardy main battle tank chassis. It was adopted by the Polish Army and deliveries commenced in 2012. Polish requirement was for 80 howitzers of this type. However the whole programe was plagued with problems.

 

Video of the AS90 155 mm self-propelled howitzer

 
AS90 howitzer

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AS90 howitzer

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AS90 howitzer

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AS90 howitzer

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AS90 Braveheart

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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