The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk, FMV) has received the delivery of its 48th and final Archer 155mm self-propelled howitzer from BAE Systems Bofors. The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration is a Swedish government agency that reports to the Ministry of Defence. The agency is responsible for the supply of materiel to the Swedish defence organisation. The latest delivery marks the beginning of a new phase that involves the procurement of the Archer C prototype. FMV and BAE Systems have already signed a contract for the development of the new prototype that is expected to feature a fully accredited IT system, as well as the new LSS Mark tactical management support system.
The Archer Artillery System, or Archer – FH77BW L52, or Artillerisystem 08 is a self-propelled howitzer system for Sweden and Norway. The vehicle platform is a modification of the Volvo A30D 6×6 articulated all-terrain hauler vehicle. Operators control the entire gun system in any weather from the safety of the armored vehicle cabin which is fitted with bullet and fragmentation-proof windows. The cabin seats up to four personnel. The howitzer is operated by three or four crew but can be run by a single operator. The system also includes a munition carrier consisting of a removable, modified standard container mounted on a ballistic-proofed all-terrain lorry. The unit cost is approximately $4,500,000.
The vehicle carries 21 155mm projectiles in the fully automatic magazine. Reloading the magazine from the accompanying munitions carrier takes about 10 minutes. The modular charge system allows several increments of charge to be available and increases the gun system’s multiple rounds simultaneous impact (MRSI) capability and good range overlap between the increments. With BAE Bofors/Nexter Bonus rounds the range is 35 kilometres (22 mi). Due to the glide wings of the precision-guided Raytheon/Bofors M982 Excalibur rounds, the range of the gun is extended- in excess of 50 kilometres (31 mi). The Excalibur shell is corrected in flight towards a pre-programmed trajectory by a GPS guidance system. For armoured vehicles, the Bofors 155 Bonus is used.
In 2019, a new configuration of the Archer, with the howitzer mounted on a RMMV HX2 8×8 tactical truck, was revealed. Interestingly, Sweden ordered a number of HX2 trucks in 2014, with deliveries commencing in 2017. BAE Systems Bofors had begun trials for the HX2 variant. Earlier this month, the Indirect Fire unit carried out a series of firing tests with the new artillery system at the Test and Evaluation (T&E) site in Karlsborg. The tests were performed to check whether the new system meets the requirements of the Swedish forces. The new Archer system was also tested and validated by the Indirect Fire unit at the T&E site in Karlsborg, Sweden. Indirect Fire systems engineer fire between 21 and 65 shots per piece, depending on the configuration at these controls.