Archer is an international project to develop next-generation self-propelled artillery systems for Sweden and Norway.
At present, modern militaries tend to modernize standard 155mm towed howitzers into mobile self-propelled artillery systems, which are fully digitized and automated, with long range and high accuracy. A prominent example is the Swedish Archer artillery complex. Most recently, the Swiss Government has selected the ARCHER 155mm mobile howitzer as one of the systems going into the final round of competition for its future artillery system.
Archer is an international project to develop next-generation self-propelled artillery systems for Sweden and Norway. The heart of the system is a fully automated 155 mm howitzer and a M151 Protector remote controlled weapon station mounted on a modified 6×6 chassis of the Volvo A30D, all-terrain articulated hauler. The crew and engine compartment is armoured and the cab is fitted with bullet and fragmentation- resistant windows. Cab is fitted with NBC protection system. It also withstands mine blasts equivalent to 6 kg of TNT.
The howitzer was developed based on the FH 77B 155 mm field howitzer. It has a longer 52 caliber gun for longer ranges. The Archer is fitted with a rapid automatic ammunition loading system. Maximum range of fire is 30 km with ordinary High Explosive projectile and 40 km with rocket-assisted HE projectile. The Archer also fires Excalibur extended range precision guided projectiles with a maximum range of 60 km. It is also compatible with Bonus precision guided projectiles. The Bonus has a range of 34 km and carries two smart anti-tank submunitions.
Maximum rate of fire is 8-9 rounds per minute. The Archer is capable of Multiple-Round Simultaneous Impact firing. It launches up to 6 shells in 30 seconds, each in different trajectories, so that all of the shells arrive on target at the same time. This self-propelled howitzer has onboard ammunition supply of 20 rounds. It takes only 30 seconds to stop and prepare for firing. Brief redeployment time allows to avoid counter-battery fire.
The vehicle is fitted with a 340 horsepower Diesel engine, for a maximum speed of 65 km/h, a range of 500 km. The Archer is reloaded by an associated ammunition resupply vehicle. Each self-propelled artillery system is assigned with one resupply vehicle. Reloading takes up to 8 minutes.
Development of this artillery system began in 2003. Prototypes of the Archer were trialed in 2005 and 2006. Sweden and Norway ordered a total of 48 of these artillery systems, 24 units each. A number of other countries expressed interest in obtaining this artillery system. First Archer howitzers were delivered to the Swedish Army in 2013. However during the same year Norway left the project due to funding problems. Currently Sweden is the only operator of this artillery system.