In Severodonetsk, the Krab self-propelled howitzer from Poland proves to be a “game-changing weapon.”

The Polish Krab self-propelled artillery performs an important role in Severodonetsk, assisting the Ukrainian Army in responding to the Russians.

The deployment of Poland’s Krab self-propelled artillery has assisted the Ukrainian Army in “changing the situation” and stabilising its defence capability in the Severodonetsk battlefield against Russia’s overwhelming force. The Ukrainian Army in Severodonetsk has put the Krab self-propelled howitzers created by the country into service, according to Mr. Roscislav Smirnov, adviser to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs.

In the context of Russia concentrating all of its efforts on the attack, the participation of the aforesaid weapon in the battle site defence could shift the military situation. The city’s inner city is currently the scene of the most violent clashes.

Control of Severodonetsk and the neighbouring city of Lysychansk might allow the Russians to claim entire control of the Lugansk region, as well as encircling a far greater area of Ukraine to the east.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have a lot of information about targets, but they only have a few weapons with the necessary range to launch an accurate and powerful attack, according to a representative from the Interior Ministry of Ukraine. However, things were much easier with Krab self-propelled artillery. Like the French CAESAR, this weapon has a barrel 52 times its diameter (L/52), allowing it to engage targets up to 40 kilometres away.

These are the most powerful Western-made weaponry systems currently in the hands of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. Other guns with only L/39 barrels and a range of around 30 kilometres include the American M777 and M109, as well as the Italian FH-70.

The Ukrainian Army will soon receive a variety of self-propelled howitzers with L/52 barrels, including the Zuzana 2 (8 guns) from Slovakia and the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (12 guns) from Germany and the Netherlands, although the Krab will continue to be the country’s main artillery weapon for the time being.

Authorities in Kyiv are looking for long-range artillery supply to counter Russia’s advantage in this sector, where they previously trailed the enemy in both quantity and quality.

While Kyiv does have several Soviet-era long-range artillery systems (such as the 203 mm 257 Pion self-propelled gun, 152 mm 255 Giacint-S, or BM-27 Uragan 220 mm self-propelled howitzer), their ammunition is depleted.

As a result, the deployment of Western partners with sophisticated artillery systems capable of firing 155 mm NATO rounds has aided the Ukrainian Army in drastically changing the tactical situation. Furthermore, new NATO artillery systems such as the Krab have significant benefits, such as increased precision and difficulties in eliciting a response from the enemy (this self-propelled howitzer can begin to depart position less than 30 seconds after firing).

So far, 18 Krab self-propelled howitzers have been sent to Ukraine as part of military assistance, and Kyiv has agreed to buy another 54 systems at a unit price that is even lower than that of the product delivered to the Polish Army.

Krab is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed by Huta Stalowa Wola and equipped with WB Group’s Polish Topaz fire control system. Since the 1990s, the project has been in the works.

The purchase of a licence to produce a Korean K9 howitzer chassis in 2014 by Huta Stalowa Wola, which integrated the turret from the British AS90, was critical to mass manufacturing. The Polish Army has received a total of 122 complexes to date.

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