To fill the gap left after supplying weapons to Ukraine, the British government chose the Swedish Archer 155mm self-propelled howitzer.

Fourteen self-propelled artillery systems have been ordered as an emergency operational requirement for the Army, but there could be more weapons on the way.

The Swedish self-propelled guns will provide the British artillery force with more options, allowing them to transfer some of the existing AS90 self-propelled howitzers in service to Ukraine. The Archer self-propelled howitzer, also known as the FH77, was developed from the FH77 155 mm towed howitzer integrated on the Volvo A30D truck chassis. However, the British will receive howitzers on a different chassis, most likely the Rheinmetall MAN HX-series 8×8 special vehicle.

The heart of the system is a fully automated 155 mm howitzer and a M151 Protector remote controlled weapon station mounted on a 6×6 chassis. 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 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.

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.


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