WARSAW, Poland — The Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a contract worth more than 4.6 billion zloty (US $1.1 billion) to acquire 96 Krab self-propelled howitzers from local manufacturer Huta Stalowa Wola.

"This shows how significant is the emphasis that we place on the development of operational armed forces. From this point of view, the decision to sign this deal has major importance for strengthening the operational armed forces, enabling them to oppose any aggression," said Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz in a Dec. 14 statement from the ministry.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo took part in the official signing ceremony.

"I'm glad that we are signing this major contract," Szydlo said. "This is an important step for the military."

The howitzers are to be fitted with 155mm cannons, and they will be built on a chassis designed by South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin under a license.  The Krab weighs 48 tons, it is enabled with a maximum speed of 60 kph (37 mph), and it can carry a crew of five.

The ministry will acquire the howitzers with related infrastructure and accompanying logistics and command vehicles, which together form the Regina artillery unit. One unit comprises 24 howitzers, three head command vehicles, eight command vehicles, six ammunition vehicles and one repair vehicle, according to data from the Defence Ministry.

HSW is a subsidiary of PGZ, the country’s leading state-run defense group with its headquarters in Radom, Poland.