BAE Systems is offering its ARCHER howitzer – manufactured in Karlskoga, Sweden – as a candidate for the US Army’s 155mm wheeled gun system, for which the service issued an RfP at the end of July, the company stated on 19 October.
The Army seeks to evaluate mobile howitzers in support of future requirements and is proposing a ‘shoot-off’ between competing candidates at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona early next year. ARCHER is a fully automated weapon system, already serving in the Swedish forces, providing highly responsive and versatile fire support.
“ARCHER is a mature, proven system that can quickly get into the fight and strike enemy targets at long ranges, with a high rate of fire and very fast displacement times, and is made for combat against large power adversaries,” offered Chris King, Director of Business Development at BAE Systems. “With a fully automated system, soldiers can execute their mission with minimal physical exertion and time, while remaining under cover in the armoured cabin. The cab protection, fast ‘shoot and scoot’ times and its extended range all enhance survivability and sustain fire support in harsh combat conditions.”
ARCHER brings a single, fielded package of capabilities that would provide US soldiers with responsiveness and flexibility far exceeding current capabilities. Typically operated by a crew of three to four soldiers – but by only one if required – ARCHER can open fire within 30sec of receiving an order. It can then depart its firing position within 30sec, minimising enemy ability to effectively return fire. Its magazine carries 21 rounds and can unload all of them in less than three minutes. The system can fire the BONUS anti-armour munition up to 35km, conventional munitions up to 40km, and currently fielded precision-guided munitions like EXCALIBUR in excess of 50km: BONUS and EXCALIBUR are both currently in the US Army’s inventory.