BAE Systems’ 155mm ARCHER wheeled howitzer system cleared tests during the U.S. Army’s “shoot off” evaluation, as the service evaluates whether to add a wheeled capability to its arsenal.
The ARCHER automated mobile weapon system fired about 450 rounds, including six to 12 round bursts, and up to as many as eight rounds per minute, during various testing in different conditions at the Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz. over the summer evaluation. 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.
The system can initiate fire within 30 seconds of receiving an order and depart in the same amount of time, giving it superior survivability by minimizing the enemy’s 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 120 degrees (50 degrees Celsius) in Arizona demonstrated ARCHER can operate effectively in high temperatures as well as in arctic conditions typically experienced in northern Sweden.
Soldiers can operate and fire ARCHER while remaining in the armored cabin through its fully automated fire and ammunition loading system. Its magazine carries 21 rounds and can fire all of them in less than three minutes. ARCHER can fire the precision BONUS anti-armor munition up to 35 km, conventional munitions up to 40 km, and currently fielded precision-guided munitions like Excalibur in excess of 50 km. BONUS and Excalibur are currently in the U.S. Army’s inventory.