Poland increases production of Krab self-propelled howitzers

According to Ukrinform on April 26, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on April 26 that Krab 155mm self-propelled howitzers will be produced at the Bumar-Labedy plant in Gliwice, in the Silesia region (southern Poland).
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Polish army Krab self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister, head of the Ministry of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak visited the Bumar-Labedy Machine-Building Plant Inc. on Wednesday, April 26. "We bring good news," said Morawiecki. "The Krab will be produced by Bumar in Gliwice (…). First of all, there will be the production of Krabs (…) but there will also be a service center, a repair center for Leopard tanks", the PM said. Indeed, let us recall that, last week at the Ramstein air base in Germany, Defense ministers of Poland, Ukraine and Germany signed a letter of intent on the establishment of a servicing center for the Leopard 2 tanks in Gliwice too.

Mariusz Blaszczak said that in addition to the Huta Stalowa Wola defense plant in Stalowa Wola (southeastern Poland), Krab self-propelled howitzers will now also be produced at Bumar-Labedy: "As the Ministry of Defense, we have ordered another batch of Krabs. They were also ordered by Ukrainians, as this weapon proves itself in the hands of brave Ukrainian soldiers and effectively protects Ukraine from Russian aggression".

Concerning the Polish army, 62 Krabs were in stock. 80 have been delivered of a total of 122 ordered, however, 18 were donated to Ukraine after Russia started to invade this country, leaving Poland with 62. On September 5, 2022, another 48 Krabs were ordered. Poland donated 18 Krabs from its own stock to Ukraine. In June 2022, Ukraine and Poland signed an agreement on Kyiv's purchase of 54 more Krabs, a deal worth over $650 million. Ukraine was the first export customer of this type of weapon. As of 18 April 2023, 10 Ukrainian Krabs were reported as destroyed and 2 were damaged.

The AHS ("AHS" is the Polish abbreviation of armatohaubica samobieżna - gun-howitzer, self-propelled) Krab is a 155mm NATO-compatible self-propelled tracked howitzer designed in Poland by Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW), by combining the South Korean K9 Thunder chassis with a British BAE Systems AS-90M Braveheart turret with French Nexter Systems 52-caliber gun and Polish WB Electronics' Topaz artillery fire control system.

The 2011 version used a Nexter Systems barrel and Polish UPG-NG chassis. The 2016 production batch utilized the Hanwha Defense K9 chassis with KMW+Nexter Defense Systems long gun, Rheinmetall barrel and STX Engine-MTU Friedrichshafen engine. In 2016, full-rate production of 120 Krabs for the Polish Army started with deliveries to be completed by 2024. In 2019, Huta Stalowa Wola started using barrels of their own manufacture in successive production batches.

Defense News April 2023