The Polish Army is finalizing completion of the first Regina artillery battery composed of serial production 155mm Krab self-propelled howitzers (SPH) manufactured by the local Huta Stalowa Wola.
In the past months the 5th Artillery Regiment in Sulechow, western Poland, subordinate to the 12th Mechanised Division in Szczecin, received equipment, allowing for forming two out of three artillery batteries, which will compose the future Regina artillery battery. Until now the unit received 16 155mm Krab SPHs as well as auxiliary equipment, such as 2 command staff vehicles, 6 command post vehicles, 4 ammunition supply vehicles and one mobile armament and electronics workshop vehicle.
Delivery of the final batch of equipment for the Sulechow based Regina artillery battery is expected to take place this Autumn. The fully equipped battery consists of 24 155mm Krab SPHs, three command staff vehicles, eight command post vehicles, six ammunition supply vehicles and one mobile armament and electronics workshop vehicle.
These deliveries commence the finalization of the first stage of the contract signed between Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), represented by the Armaments Inspectorate, in late 2016, which calls for the delivery of four serial production Regina artillery batteries. Three of them should be handed over by 2022 and the last one in 2023-2024. The contract is valued at over 4.6 billion Polish Zloty ($1.2 billion).
Although the 155-mm Krab self-propelled howitzer is manufactured in Poland, the platform itself is based on several foreign designs, which includes the K9 Thunder chassis from South Korean Hanwha Techwin, the British BAE Systems AS90/52 Braveheart turret and German L52 155mm gun.
The first serial production Regina artillery battery, and the ones which will be subsequently delivered up to 2024, will supplement the original, initial production battery commissioned on September 31, 2017 and operated by the 11th Masurian Artillery Regiment in Wegorzewo, subordinate to the 16th Mechanised Division in Bialobrzegi.
According to original plans, the 155mm Krab SPHs were supposed to be based on the “Universal Tracked Chassis – New Generation” platform designed by the OBRUM company, a member of the Polish Armaments Group (Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, PGZ) holding, which is also a parent company for the HSW. However, after several years of development as well as numerous tests and trials of the initial batch of Krab SPHs delivered to the 11th Masurian Artillery Regiment at the end of 2012, it became clear that the locally designed chassis is full of technical defects and further works on it were pointless.
Therefore, the decision was made to procure a license for production of a new chassis based on a foreign design. After months long evaluation process the MoD and HSW decided to select the South Korean K9 Thunder platform as the desired chassis for all 120 Krab SPHs.
The agreement with Hanwha Techwin, signed at the end of 2014, called for the initial batch of 24 K9 chassis to be delivered to Poland directly from South Korea for integration with the AS90/52 Braveheart turret. These were to be followed by a dozen platforms sent to HSW in modules for final assembly. According to the agreement, the final batch of 84 K9 chassis will be manufactured directly by the Polish company based on the transfer of technology procedure.