Britain is sending 20 mobile artillery pieces and tens of thousands of shells to Ukraine for what some military analysts expect to become the most extensive artillery campaign since World War II. The self-propelled Howitzers will be sent to Poland this week, where the Ukrainian forces will be taught to use and maintain them before they are deployed to the front.
This comes at a time when all three of Britain’s regular tank regiments and its reserve regiment find themselves deployed on NATO’s flanks in a robust show of force against Russia.
Today, we’ll be looking at the British AS-90 Self-Propelled Howitzer. The naming on this one is pretty straightforward. “AS” stands for “Artillery System.” The “90” refers to the fact that this particular piece of hardware was developed in the 1990s. I doubt they employed a marketing company to come up with that name. In reality, the official name of the machine is the drab-sounding but descriptive Gun Equipment 155 mm L131. The nickname for this thing is “Braveheart.” Pretty cool. I’ll stick with calling it the AS-90 for the sake of simplicity.
There is no denying that the British could build a great howitzer. In fact, the towed artillery pieces the United States Military uses, the M119 105mm howitzer and the M777 155mm howitzer, are both British designs. The original design of the M1 Abrams tank was going to use a British Royal Ordinance 105mm M68 cannon that was later switched to a German Reinmetal gun in 120mm, So the Brits known make good guns.