AS 90 Self Propelled Artillery

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The Self Propelled Artillery on display
On display
The AS90 Self Propelled Artillery being loaded
AS90 being loaded
The Self Propelled Artillery being fired
Self Propelled Artillery

AS 90 Self Propelled Artillery

The British Army uses the AS 90, which stands for Artillery System for the 1990s. This is a lightly-armored self-propelled artillery unit. As a substitute for the FH-70 155 mm towed gun, 105 mm FV433 Abbot SPG or the M109 155 mm SPG, it is in operation by no less than five regiments of the Royal Artillery (RA) and of the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA), namely 1 RHA, 3 RHA, 4 Regt RA, 19 Regt RA and 26 Regt RA.

The department on Armaments of Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering designed and manufactured the AS 90. In a time interval of three years (from 1992 up to 1995) the department made available 179 vehicles. This happened at costs reaching £300 million. In 2002, BAE systems (they have been holding Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering since 1999) were dealt with to improve approximately 100 British Army AS 90s (more precisely, 96 such artillery pieces) to a 52 caliber gun to drive the unaided range to 30 km and with long-range ERA ammo to 60 to 80km. Nevertheless, caused by the incapability of the chosen bi-modular charge device delivered by Somchem (a division of Denel (Pty) Ltd, which is a South African government controlled armed-manufacturing and engineering corporation) to satisfy the condition for insensitive weapons, this development was ended.

AS 90 Artillery Development

The AS90 started development midway through the 1980's. It was a classified project on the probability that in the future the tri-national SP70 will no longer meet the requirements needed for the modern battlefield. The Ministry of Defense made available a key point requirement on a single leaf for another 155 mm SPG. The Ministry of Defense selected the Artillery System - '90' from a number of four plans that were submitted.

In addition, the Ministry of Defense is in work with analyzing a plan from BAE Systems to improve the Royal Navy's chief shipboard gun defender, which is the 113 mm Mark 8 naval gun, to allow the 155 mm gun barrel and breech from the Artillery System-90. This would set up a regular gun caliber for the British Army and Royal Navy, being of support with ammo logistics, and promoting combined Army-Fleet improvement of extensive range and precision shells with guidance.

Battlefield Deployment

The Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding that was decided on in 1963 by several members of NATO stipulated a 155mm 39 caliber weaponry and a baseline projectile with the profile applied to the US M549 rocket supported shell. For the AS-90, a compliant 39 caliber barrel is in operation, shooting the L15 unassisted shell out to a range of 24,700 m. This represented one of the latest drawings of weaponry and brings into play a split sliding block breech with Crossley obturation, as opposed to the more customary rotate breech, to allow bagged charge. The breech device includes a primer magazine that contains eighteen primers. The vehicle is equipped with an independent course-plotting and gun setting installation (AGLS). In addition, a Turret Control Computer (a TCC) directs every main tower role. For optimal AS-90 battlefield deployment, all guns are equipped with a radar Muzzle Velocity Measuring mechanism.

An additional power device is also installed on the AS-90, for the purpose of removing the requirement to have the core engine active to maintain the batteries charged during periods of stagnation; electrical servos drive the mechanized, preset distance from the ground, traverse, magazine and loader, in addition to power for electronics and transportation.

Ammunition Types

Equipped with a typical barrel, AS 90 can operate with the NATO L15 unassisted 155 mm projectile (96lbs), 24.7 kilometers. With a long (52 Caliber) barrel, the gun can put out to 30 km using typical ammunition, and 60-80 km with Extended Range (ERA).

Variants

AS 90D has been adapted for operation in the desert. This variant includes thermal shield for the team in the device and additional cooling for tank engine and equipment. Even more, the tracks have been adjusted for decreased deterioration or erosion in a sandy environment

Another variant is the AS90 Braveheart, which mainly has the same features as the AS 90, but it includes a 52 caliber length gun. However, such a variant has been removed, as the propelling charges have been proved as uncharacteristic and not in conformity with the requirements.

Haubicoarmata Krab includes approved Braveheart turret on a Polish seriously adapted carcass of a T-72 tank, with modern Azalia BMS. It has been planned and included in Poland, by Huta Stalowa Wola and WB Electronics. Beginning with early 2007, two Krab prototypes have been manufactured and effectively fulfilled all obligatory assessments and state receipt testing processes. The year of 2008 anticipates an order for 48 out of 80 expected items for Polish Armed Forces. Because of the use of an adapted T-72 frame, interest in this particular project has been shown by the Indian Army.

AS 90 Self Propelled Artillery
Specifications
Crew 5 (Driver plus a troop of 4)
Length 9.07m
Width 3.3m
Height 3.0m
Shield 17mm (highest, steel)
Weight 45 Tons
Caliber 15.5cm
Range of Fire 24.7km (39 cal), 30 km (52 cal) normal charges
Rate of Fire 3 rounds in 10 seconds (burst), 6 rounds per minute for 3 minutes (intense), 2 rounds per minute for 60 minutes (sustained)
Secondary Armament 7.62 mm L7 GPMG
Ammunition Held 48 projectiles and charges (31 turret and 17 hull), 1000 MG rounds
Main Engine Cummins VTA903T 660bhp 90 degree, v8, 4 stroke, liquid cooled, turbo diesel,
Maximum Speed 55 km/h (Road)
Vehicle Range 370 km or 231 miles (Road)
Ground clearance 0.41 m; gradient: 60°; perpendicular obstruction: 0.75 m; trench traversing: 110 inches; fording depth: 1.5 m
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