The Bofors ARCHER is one of the most capable and well know self-propelled guns fielded by modern armies. Sweden has already fielded it, a number of them has been donated to Ukraine while the UK will likely also acquire a number of systems too.
Development and integration into service
In 1995 the Swedish military began development of the ARCHER following a study to build a self-propelled gun based on the FH-77, which was already in service in large numbers.
The prototype was built by BAE Systems Bofors 8 years later, which began test firing in 2005.
Sweden and Norway signed a contract to acquire 48 (24+24) ARCHER in 2008 while in the same year they signed a cooperation agreement to further improve the system. Due to financial problems, in 2013 Norway canceled its order.
Finally, the ARCHER joined the force of the Swedish military in 2013 after some technical problems were solved. Three years later, Sweden also bought the ARCHERS that were originally meant for Norway’s order.
Technical features and capabilities
The ARCHER is a modern 155mm self-propelled gun and is the spearhead of Swedish artillery, harmoniously combining high mobility, firepower and easy deployment on the battlefield.
It is 13 meters long, 3 meters high and weighs 33 tons. It is mounted on a truck (10×10 OSHKOSH/6×6 VOLVO/8×8 RMMV) which can operate in a radius of 500km and uses a 440hp engine, allowing it to reach a speed of 90km/h.
The truck has an armored cabin which protects the crew of three from mines, shrapnel, bullets as well as adverse weather conditions. It is worth noting that the crew fights inside the vehicle away from the ammunition, so the chances of injury from an explosion are greatly reduced.
In terms of armament, using the already successful and fully automated FH-77 type gun, it can engage ground targets with various types of projectiles. While also being able to use “smart” artillery shells like the BONUS and EXCALIBUR rounds, it can target threats, with accuracy, at a range of 35 and 50 km respectively.
All of this works in conjunction with state-of-the-art navigation and ballistic calculation systems, making it capable of hitting targets with high precision.
However, the feature that makes ARCHER unique is its increased speed. According to the manufacturer, it can fire 9 rounds per minute and “empty” its magazine (21 rounds) in 3.5 minutes.
Along with the ARCHER it tends to operate a support vehicle, which carries up to 100 shells. This way it can be reloaded with ammo within 5 minutes.
The vehicle’s self-defense is based on a 12.7 mm remote-controlled weapon station (RWS) or a 40 mm grenade launcher.
ARCHER is a modern artillery platform that gives the operator unprecedented target engagement capabilities.
It is worth considering as a possible replacement for the older M-109s in service with many armies around the world that are in immediate need of acquiring modern guns.
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