What’s In Poland’s New $650 Million Ukraine Deal? The AHS Krab, a Big 155mm Howitzer, for Starters – Amid worsening fighting in Ukraine, Poland this week announced a new defense contract with Kyiv worth roughly $650 million.
During a joint press conference with Deputy Polish Prime Minister and Minister for State Assets Jacek Sasin, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that the deal would see Krab self-propelled howitzers sent to Ukraine.
“Right now, we are signing one of the largest, if not the largest, export defense contract in the last 30 years,” Morawiecki said on Tuesday. “This is the sale of weapons to Ukrainians, to Ukraine.”
The press conference was hosted by defense contractor company Huta Stalowa Wola and was used by the Polish politicians to reaffirm the country’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
The Polish Prime Minister also confirmed that some money would be supplied by the European Union to assist with the purchase of new weapons, with the rest coming directly from Poland’s budget. The money will be used to deliver dozens of new howitzer units, with the first 18 having already been delivered to Ukraine, and an additional 56 now expected to arrive on Monday.
What is the Krab Howitzer?
The AHS Krab is a 155mm NATO-compatible self-propelled howitzer designed by Polish weapons manufacturer Centrum Produkcji Wojskowej Huta Stalowa Wola.
The Krab is fitted with night vision, allowing for easy use in the dark, as well as a direct fire sight, automatic fire suppression system, and a laser range-finder. The howitzer uses an integrated navigation system and also features an auxiliary power unit – meaning that all electronic equipment may be used on the vehicle even when the diesel engine is switched off or not functional.
Krab howitzers can fire six rounds per minute, travel at a maximum speed of 67km/h, and can fire standard HE-FRAG shells a distance of 30km. Rocket-assisted shells can be fired as far as 40km.
The delivery comes after Ukraine pleaded with the United States, United Kingdom, and other NATO countries to deliver long-range weapons systems that would allow the Ukrainian military to strike back onto Russian territory. No NATO country has complied with the request, however, opting instead to deliver weaponry like the Krab howitzer that offers medium-range firing capacity.
By delivering new howitzers from Europe, Ukraine is gradually receiving NATO-standard weapons in place of Soviet-era weaponry used in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As Soviet-era weapons, tanks, and howitzers become increasingly difficult to procure, Ukrainian fighters are now receiving training to use NATO-standard equipment – something that may potentially set Ukraine back in the short term, but prove beneficial should the conflict continue for several more months.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.