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AS90 155mm
Self Propelled Gun


by Paul D. Handel



The AS 90 155mm Self Propelled Gun system originated as a private venture by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering and the first prototype was shown at the British Army Equipment Exhibition in 1986. 



Following the demise of the joint Anglo-German SP70 155mm project, the AS90 was selected by the British Army in 1989 to meets its self-propelled artillery requirements. The first equipment entered service in 1993. 179 units were completed under the initial contract.



The AS90 uses a specially developed chassis and turret. The vehicle has a welded steel hull and turret. The power pack, comprising a Cummins V8 diesel engine developing 660 bhp and a ZF automatic transmission, is mounted at the right front of the vehicle. The driver sits at the left front.  A door at the rear of the hull allows access and loading of ammunition. The suspension is hydropneumatic allows long roadwheel travel and enables the vehicle to maintain a high cross-country speed.  



The all steel turret with a turret ring diameter of 2700mm mounts the main armament of a Royal Ordnance 155mm gun, 39 calibres long. The vehicle commander sits on the right of the turret and has a cupola to allow vision when closed down. The gun layer sits in front of him. The shell and charge loaders stand on the left of the gun. A hatch is located above these personnel permitting the use of a pintle mounted machine gun for air defence purposes. A large hatch is also located in the left side of the turret. The turret can traverse a full 360 degrees using electric power. 



The turret incorporates a Shell Transfer Arm and flick rammer for the projectiles, of which 48 are carried, 31 being housed in the turret bustle. The gun has a range of 24700 metres using standard ammunition. Three rouns can be fired in 10 seconds, with a sustained firing rate of 2 rounds per minute.



The photos accompanying this article were taken by the author at the British Army display at Larkhill in July 2002.  My thanks to Mr Max Richards for organizing and facilitating my attendance at the event, and to the British Army and in particular the staff of the Royal School of  Artillery at Larkhill for their assistance and professionalism.

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Article Text and Photographs Copyright 2004 by Paul D. Handel
Page Created 27 April, 2004
Last Updated 27 April, 2004

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