Home Europe Switzerland downselects BAE Systems’ Archer for self-propelled howitzer program

Switzerland downselects BAE Systems’ Archer for self-propelled howitzer program

Archer howitzer
Photo: BAE Systems

The Swiss government has shortlisted BAE Systems’ Archer 155mm mobile howitzer as one of the systems going into the final round of competition for its future artillery system.

It is unclear how many other companies/proposals have been downselected as BAE Systems is the first company to announce the milestone. The Swiss Federal Office for Defense Procurement, known as armasuisse, is yet to comment on the program.

BAE Systems noted that its Archer howitzer was one of multiple proposals submitted by several companies for the competition.

The fully automated Archer is already in service with the Swedish Army and has also been evaluated by the US Army. The weapon system is typically operated by a crew of three to four soldiers but can be operated by only one.

Operators control the entire gun system from the safety of the vehicle’s armored cabin. BAE says the Archer can fire six rounds, displace, and move 500 meters, in less than two minutes, all while the crew remains in the armored cabin.

“Archer is the most advanced wheeled 155mm howitzer in operation today and meets the requirements of the Swiss Armed Forces,” said Stefan Löfström, director of marketing and sales at BAE Systems Bofors in Karlskoga, Sweden. “Consistent with our long history of implementing industrial cooperation projects around the world, we are working with Swiss industry to establish a project plan to successfully fulfill all Swiss requirements.”

The howitzer can also fire the Bonus anti-armor munition up to 35km, conventional munitions up to 40km, and the precision-guided munition Excalibur in excess of 50km.

It should be noted that the Swiss defense ministry will take its time when it comes to choosing the successor for the M109L47 KAWEST system, a variant of the US-developed M109A1 155mm SPH.

Switzerland is expected to make the decision on the new artillery system during the first part of 2025, with a possible agreement being signed later in the year.

BAE Systems also said it would build the howitzer in both Switzerland and Sweden, at the BAE Systems Bofors Karlskoga site, should it be chosen as the prime contractor.