Flexible, Agile, Manoeuvrable and Survivable
The 155mm ARCHER howitzer, developed by BAE Systems, has successfully completed a US Army shoot-off evaluation and test series, as the service determines whether to add a wheeled artillery capability to its arsenal, the company announced at AUSA 2021.
ARCHER is a fully automated mobile weapon system that provides highly responsive and versatile fire support to troops in combat. During the test series, the system fired some 450 rounds, including 6-12 round bursts, at rates of fire up to 8rpm, under varying conditions at the Yuma, AZ, Proving Ground. The shoot-off included charge compatibility with Army rounds, soldier training and testing, mobility, performance of Army’s identified requirements, studying integrated digital fire control, and maintenance evaluation.
“We are confident ARCHER meets the need for new wheeled artillery system with unprecedented ‘shoot and scoot’ capability, so soldiers can avoid counterfire,” explained Mark Signorelli, VP of Business Development. ARCHER can initiate fire within 30 seconds of receiving an order and depart in the same amount of time, giving it superior survivability by minimising enemy ability to return fire.
ARCHER is already in service the Swedish Army with the highest technical and manufacturing readiness levels. The testing at temperatures reaching 50°C in Arizona demonstrated the system can operate effectively in high temperatures, as well as in the arctic conditions typically encountered in northern Sweden.
Soldiers can operate and fire ARCHER while remaining in the armoured cabin, by virtue of its fully-automated fire and ammunition loading system. Its magazine carries 21 rounds, all of which can be fired in under three minutes. ARCHER can fire the precision BONUS anti-armour munition at ranges up to 35km, conventional munitions up to 40km, and currently-fielded precision-guided munitions like EXCALIBUR to over 50km. BONUS and EXCALIBUR are both currently in the US Army’s inventory.