Territorial Defence Forces

Krab Howitzers for the Polish Army

  • Ilustracja: Airbus Defence and Space Gmbh /
    Ilustracja: Airbus Defence and Space Gmbh /

During his visit at the Huta Stalowa Wola S.A. facility, Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz confirmed the fact that Polish Ministry of Defence and HSW S.A. finally agreed upon the content of the agreement which is going to constitute the most significant armament procurement contract concluded by the new government. As we have found out, the latest arrangements were made on the eve of the Ministerial visit at the Stalowa Wola facility. The contract shall include four squadron sized elements of the “Regina” system, equipped with, among other units, 96 Krab self-propelled howitzers.

The agreement is to be concluded immediately after all of the legally required formal procedures are finalized at the Armament Inspectorate and at the Polish Ministry of Defence. This should not last longer than several days, which makes it possible to create a hypothesis that the ceremony, during which the “artillery contract of the century” is going to be signed, may be organized during this year’s Day of the Artillery, at the Artillery and Armament Training Centre in Toruń.

Minister Macierewicz disclosed the fact that the value of the arranged and initiated, in a form of a protocol, agreement, regarding the procurement of equipment for another four units, also referred to as “Regina”, clearly “exceeds PLN 4 billion”. The delivery deadline for the individual units has not been officially disclosed, however, was able to determine that the final artillery squadron is to equipped with “Krabs” and the accompanying vehicles, by the year 2024.

Kraby w HSW
Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

In Stalowa Wola, on the day of the visit (besides the two cannons handed off to the army at the end of April), 16 assembled “Krab” platforms were present, 9 of which already went through the final acceptance tests process, and which remain at the disposal of the army. Subsequent howitzers are undergoing a test programme, or have already went through the tests, and are awaiting for the final paint works. Besides that, complete turret systems for the remaining cannons have already been gathered at HSW, along with “Krab” SPHs of the 2012 delivery, waiting for their chassis to be replaced. Beyond the scope of chassis replacement, the aforesaid howitzers will also undergo a complete turret overhaul, before the said turrets are placed onto the new carriers. All of the examples of the chassis for the first squadron “fire module” will be delivered by the Koreans by the end of this year.

Krab Reszczyński
Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

As we can see, HSW is in progress of accelerated manufacturing of the equipment for the first squadron “module”. 11th “Masurian” Artillery Regiment is going to become the first user of this SPH. So far, it has not been disclosed which units would receive the equipment prepared and ordered for another four “Regina” elements, or whether any preparation steps are going to be taken, in order to receive the aforesaid weaponry. Such newly established infrastructure is already present at the base of the Węgorzewo regiment which impatiently waits for the new equipment to be delivered.

Once again, I would like to thank you for handing off these 9 Krab self-propelled howitzers, 6 months before the deadline. Here, it is not about a race, it is not about breaking records. Here, we should be focused on facing the growing threat in front of us (...) On behalf of the Army, on behalf of the Polish Army, I am taking on delivery of these first 9 Krabs which are going to initiate a great contract, which is to be allocated here.

Antoni Macierewicz, Minister of Defence, during his speech at Huta Stalowa Wola

Polish Defence Minister, during his visit to the HSW S.A. plant, assured that the issue of ammunition for the new artillery systems manufactured by the facility, is also going to be solved soon. Responding to’s question, during the press conference, referring to the “Kryl” system, Macierewicz stated that the “army has already regained interest in that project” and that implementation is to follow. Minister assured that for him, the selection problem, related to the manufacturer of the license-built “Krab” chassis is non-existent. He stated that HSW is going to be the contractor burdened with responsibility for the aforesaid task.

During his short visit at the Stalowa-Wola based company, not only did the Defence Minister get acquainted with the final products - “Krab” and “Rak” tracked and wheel-based systems, as he also got acquainted with the new barrel manufacturing department and the stations which are used to manufacture the turret systems for the Krabs of the second squadron-sized module. That unit has not yet been formally contracted by the Army though.

The Minister also took a tour through the stations at which electronic systems are being embedded and tested in case of the “Rak” self propelled mortar system turrets, and got acquainted with the status of the works, regarding a prototype of the “Borsuk” programme infantry fighting vehicle. The said programme is being worked on at the HSW facility, and it is a subject of work performed by a consortium led by Huta Stalowa Wola.

During his short speech, in front of the employees of the second shift, the Minister praised their work, the diligence of the company, within the process of fulfilling its commitments, also frequently referring to the Polish Central Industrial Region traditions of the area. Stalowa Wola is yet again becoming the most important facility of the region, regaining its name of a “pearl of the Central Industrial Region”. 

Jerzy Reszczyński