According to a statement published by the British Government on January 14, 2023, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that the United Kingdom will send 30 AS90 Braveheart 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers to aid the Ukrainian offensive.
At the same, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the sending of 14 Challenger 2 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks) to Ukraine. Around 30 AS90s 155mm self-propelled howitzers are expected to follow.
The United Kingdom was the first country in Europe to send military aid to Ukraine, sending thousands of NLAW anti-tank missiles early in 2022. Since then, the British RAF (Royal air Force) has flown over 240 flights to move thousands of tonnes of military aid from the UK and international partners, ranging from sophisticated missiles to clothing to support troops through the harsh winter.
In addition to direct deliveries of military aid, the UK has established the International Fund for Ukraine, which uses contributions from international partners to rapidly procure priority military materiel.
In total, the UK provided £2.3bn of military aid to Ukraine in 2022 – more than any other nation except the United States – and the government has committed to sustaining the same level of funding in 2023.
The AS90 is a British self-propelled 155 mm artillery piece based on a tracked chassis vehicle. It was first produced in the late 1980s and is still in service with the British Army today. The AS90 is fitted with a 155 mm 39 caliber barrel able to fire a variety of different types of shells, including high explosive, smoke, and illuminating rounds. Most importantly, the AS-90 is on the list of systems compatible with high-precision guided projectile M982 Excalibur.
The AS90 has 48 projectiles and charges carried in the turret. Of the 48 projectiles carried, 31 are stowed in the turret bustle in four magazine modules, each of which has a motor that moves the required projectile to the correct position. Using standard ammunition and charges, the 39 caliber barrel enables a range of 24,700 m to be achieved. Using an assisted projectile, a range of over 30,000 m can be achieved. AS90’s area coverage is enhanced even more when the 52 caliber barrel is fitted, with a maximum range of 30,000 m with conventional projectiles and 40,000 m with assisted projectiles.
The M982 Excalibur is a guided artillery projectile developed by the United States Army. It is a precision-guided extended-range projectile that uses GPS guidance to accurately hit targets at ranges up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away. The Excalibur is used in conjunction with the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer and the M777 lightweight towed howitzer.
The AS90 is operated by a crew of six and can reach a maximum range of around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) with standard ammunition. It is designed to be highly mobile and able to keep up with armored units on the battlefield.
The AS90 is motorized with a Cummins VTA-903T-660 V-8 diesel developing 660 hp at 2,800 rpm coupled to a Renk LSG 2000 fully automatic transmission with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can run at a maximum speed of 55 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 370 km at 45 km/h.
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