The AS-90 (Artillery System for the 1990s) is a lightly-armored self-propelled artillery piece used by the British Army and first delivered in 1993. The AS-90 is used by five regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery: 1 RHA, 3 RHA, 4 RRA, 19 RRA and 26 RRA, replacing the 105 mm FV433 Abbot SPG, the M109 155 mm SPG or the FH-70 155 mm towed gun. AS-90 was designed and built by the Armaments Division of Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering (VSEL, owned by BAE Systems since 1999), who provided 179 vehicles from 1992 to 1995 at roughly a cost of $445 million (£300 million) at today's rates. In 2002 BAE systems were contracted to upgrade 96 British Army AS90s to a 52 caliber (calibre) gun to push the unassisted range to 30 km and with long-range ERA ammunition to 60 to 80km. However, due to the inability of the selected bi-modular charge system from Somchem of South Africa to meet the requirement for insensitive munitions, this project was terminated.
Josef Spurnı, the author, presents the reader with 72 pages packed full with over 230 full-color pictures. The book measures approximately 9.5 by 8.75 inches (24.1 by 22.2 cm) and is printed on a high quality paper. The pictures are a combination of full vehicle views showing the grit and grime from maneuvers to detailed close-ups of just about every aspect of this vehicle. Each "section" of the book gives you descriptive text about the area being covered along with "detailed" text as necessary. It should be noted that all of the photographs were taken in active service in Bosnia during the Implementation Forces (IFOR) deployment (however, there is one SFOR MAOV Warrior shown).
The first section, more of an index of the books contents, gives the reader the history of the AS-90; from VSELs private initiative to create a new turret for the SP-70 to their ultimate delivery of 179 AS-90s.
The next section is the AS-90 walk-around; general views of the artillery piece from varying angles and in various settings.
That section is then followed by the AS-90 hull exterior details; running gear, air-conditioning and ventilation system, engine deck, hatches, and the like. Following this are the turret details; again, close-up shots of the turret's various parts including the gun's recoil system (clearly showing, as all of the pictures do, the sag in the bellows covering the recoiling section of the gun).
Next up is a quite comprehensive display of the driver's compartment and the hull's rear door. This section clearly shows the various rounds the AS-90 carried; illumination (flare), high-explosive, and the HC-Smoke rounds. Within the interior turret detail photographs, the author has included multiple shots of the breech and loading system. Of interest also are the pictures of the layer's position and Commander's position.
Following the aforementioned positions are multiple pictures of the ammunition magazines and the locations for the crew's personal weapons. Then there are photographs of the turret's interior roof followed up by four pages of the crew. These pictures show crew members manning the external machine gun, using the "cooker" attached to the rear hull door, and nice shots of their uniforms and gear.
The last section is what I would consider a bonus; photographs of the vehicles used in support of the AS-90. These vehicles include the DROP Foden 8x8 pallet loader, the Medium Wheeled Tractor (fork lift) (excellent pictures of ammunition loading and details!), the Saxon armored personnel carrier, the MAOV Warrior (Mechanized Artillery Observation Vehicle), the FV432 armored personnel carrier, FV434 command vehicle and FV434 ARV (Armored Repair Vehicle), FV439 communications vehicle, and finally the Challenger ARRV (Armored Repair and Recovery Vehicle).
I will admit, after having gone through this entire book and immensely enjoying the photographs, I purchased myself Trumpter's 1/35th scale AS-90, kit number 324, and some additional after-market items. This book will be an enormous aid in building that kit.
With the enormity of useful photographs and descriptive text, this book will be a fantastic reference for the British AS-90; a must-have while building the Trumpeter kit. The extra photos of the support vehicles and ammunition would certainly aid an AS-90-based diorama.
Highs: Exceptional variety of walk-around and detailed photographs of the AS-90. Bonus pictures of the vehicles used to support the AS-90 during the IFOR mission.Lows: None noted.Verdict: Recommended for those that are interested in the AS-90 and it's support vehicles. Especially relevant to someone building the AS-90.
About Mike High (TacFireGuru) FROM: COLORADO, UNITED STATES
Like most, I started out in my young years; building Monogram armor and aircraft. Joining the Army at 17 in 1981 put a stop to my building for many years, I retired in 2001 and ran across Armorama....I've been re-hooked since.
I'm a notoriously slow builder and seem to have more than one buil...