Military Artillery Calculators in Poland
The works and research on the military artillery calculators in Poland date back to the 1980s. Up until then, in the Polish Army, all of the firing solutions for short and long range artillery were being calculated manually, with the use of manual tools. This was time-consuming and a risk of making errors in stressful conditions of a battlefield also went up. This state, besides being risky and time consuming, unacceptable.
In the first phase of the project, pursued together with the Military University of Technology, an artillery calculator has been developed that, for the 2S1 Gvozdika and Dana howitzers, and for the BM21 Grad launchers, allowed for execution of 23 artillery tasks of a variety of types, up to the squadron level. At the time, no option existed to add more than one computational table into the system, thus separate systems were designed for a variety of armament.
Thus, four different artillery calculators have been developed: UKART (Universal Artillery Calculator) without any firing solutions data tables, as well as dedicated SKART 2S1 calculator for the Gvozdika howitzer, SKART DANA calculator for the Dana howitzer, and SKART BM21 calculator for the Grad rocket system; all including proper calculation data tables, with around 1000 examples being introduced into use in the Armed Forces. A plan was also made at the time to develop a single calculator for all types of artillery armament, unfortunately in the end this problem has not been solved also due to technology deficiencies that were impossible to overcome at the time.
In parallel, works on the Topaz fire control system were fairly advanced, Topaz is now the primary equipment of the artillery and rocket artillery units of the Polish Armed Forces. The Topaz automated fire control system has been introduced into use in the military back in 2001, and it is being used, in a variety of versions, with the individual types of equipment. Meanwhile UKART/SKART systems, according to the concept created by the Polish Armed Forces’ rocket and artillery component to have two types of computational assets at its disposal, are still being used. The withdrawal of the said solutions would be possible once the UKART-2 system is introduced.
Brand new UKART
Due to the fact that UKART/SKART systems have been around 30 for years now, a need has emerged to develop a new, Universal Artillery Calculator [UKART] that would be an alternative to the Topaz system, when it comes to computation of firing solutions. The work has begun at the WB Group back in 2015, the new UKART project is being managed by Marcin Jedliński. The system is being manufactured by the WB Group company based in Ożarów Mazowiecki, on the basis of actual requirements defined by the Polish artillerymen. UKART is, at the same time, simple to use, featuring a QWERTY keyboard it is similar, size-wise, to a regular laptop.
Specialists working at the Artillery and Armament Training Centre, within the framework of the hand-off test procedures, have already examined the UKART system thoroughly, declaring that it meets all of the requirements and strict norms, allowing for accuracy being as tight as 10 metres of range and 1/6400th part of full angle. The system is GPS-independent and, contrary to Topaz, it does not provide the user with an ability to automatically modify his position. This, however, provides the device with a greater autonomy of operation.
UKART is an entirely new product based on the Topaz solution. Its name [Uniwersalny Kalkulator Artyleryjski - Universal Artillery Calculator] is tied to the abilities offered by the WB Group’s system that may be used to calculate firing solutions for any type of armament used by the Polish Armed Forces. Starting from 98 mm mortars, that have no targeting system associated with them at the moment, to the future Homar programme ballistic missiles to finish with. The system is to include range tables for any type of artillery shooting projectiles of calibre greater than 60 mm. This would include towed 98 and 120 mm mortars, Rak, Gvozdika, Dana, Krab, Kryl and Langusta systems. WB Group also does not exclude an option of integrating the system with the Homar solution, should such need emerge.
UKART-2 Included in the Inventory of the Polish Army’s Artillery Units
The fact that electronic range tables may be included within the UKART’s database may be seen as one of the prime advantages of the system. This is to facilitate the process in which a variety of armament and ammunition types are added to the system, including the basic HE rounds, illuminating, smoke or cluster rounds. This also allows for transition between the range tables for a variety of rocket or round types, should the artillery officer decide to utilize varied ammunition across a short timespan. One system is capable of being used with up to 24 units, however, it would be best to have one example of the UKART system assigned to each and every platform.
At the same time it is required to have two redundant systems, should Topaz be damaged or destroyed, this would make it possible for the artillery units to conduct operations without any interruption. For that reason, the Polish Army has already acquired more than 100 examples of the WB Group’s UKART system. Ultimately it could be used by any artillery unit of the Polish Armed Forces. Being in possession of two types of computational assets also allows for obtaining greater autonomy of both solutions and comparing the calculation results provided by both systems, as well as for adjustment of potential deviations.
According to the agreement signed with the Armament Inspectorate, concerning the delivery of more than 100 examples of the system until the end of this year, the WB Group is also going to carry out a two-weeks long training programme. The programme shall take place at four levels: commander, soldiers responsible for computing the firing solutions, administrators and maintainers. Ultimately, the Armed Forces may be inclined to acquire more systems. UKART may also be an interesting export proposal, since once proper range tables are embedded within the system, it may be used with any type of armament around the world, regardless of the country of origin.
UKART-2 system has been awarded with the Defender distinction during the MSPO 2017 event in Kielce.