Sweden, Norway Cooperating on Archer Artillery ProjectMar 28, 2010 18:19 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
BAE Systems Bofors’ Archer is a light, air-portable, and highly automated 155/52 light mobile artillery system. Archer began as a Swedish project, administered by their FMV procurement agency. Funding was provided for system development and some initial production, but the project’s future had been shadowed by anemic Swedish defense budgets.
In May 2007, however, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Norway’s FLO procurement agency, which evolved into a joint production venture. Now, initial production orders have moved the Archer system from concept to imminent reality.
The Archer System
The Archer system mounts BAE Systems’ FH77-B05 155mm/ 52 caliber cannon on a modified Volvo commercial A30E 6×6 rugged articulated vehicle. This combination can hit targets with great accuracy at ranges up to 50km/ 30 miles with rocket-boosted ammunition. Automation ensures that the crew can fire the gun within 30 seconds of arriving in position, and without leaving the cabin. Under the Swedish-Norwegian co-development agreement, Archer will use Kongsberg’s popular M151 Protector remote-controlled weapon/ surveillance turret for close-in self defense.
Archer is designed to fire the Excalibur GPS-guided shell, Bofors and Nexter’s BONUS anti-tank submunitions, and other specialty 155mm rounds.
System Design and Development was scheduled to continue until 2009-2010, at which point the Swedish and Norwegian governments will have an option to buy up to 24 Archers each at a pre-set price. That option was exercised in March 2010, with delivery taking place from October 2011 – 2013.
Contracts and Key Events
Dec 21/11: RWS. Norwegian and Swedish sign an NOK 960 million (about $162 million) umbrella contract for Protector “Nordic” Remote Weapon Stations, as an extension of the Jan 31/11 agreement. The initial order is NOK 380 million (about $64.2 million), and includes systems for both the Norwegian and Swedish Defence Forces. They will equip Archer vehicles, as well as other vehicle types chosen by each military.
RWS umbrella contract
Jan 31/11: Sweden RWS. Kongsberg announces an NOK 80 million Swedish order for Protector remote weapon stations. It’s part of the PROTECTOR Nordic program, where Sweden and Norway in cooperation will procure the same RWS configuration for use throughout their platforms.
March 26/10: +48. BAE Systems announces a GBP 135 million ($200 million) contract to commence series production of 48 Archer systems and their associated ammunition handling systems for the Swedish and Norwegian armed forces. This contract represents the initial production option at the end of the System Design & Development phase.
Aug 24/09: Sweden OK. The Swedish government gives the green light to an initial order for 24 Archer artillery pieces. They will join Norway’s planned purchase of 24 Archer systems, which was approved by the Norwegian Stortinget shortly before mid-summer 2009. This is not yet a contract. defpro.
June 7-15/09: Prototypes. Sweden’s FMV procurement agency confirms that the first Archer prototype rolled out from Bofors this week, adding:
“Project Archer has previously had two experimental pieces which, for an untrained eye, might look like prototypes. The experimental pieces aim was to test and develop the idea of a wheeled autonomous artillery system and test the new technology in different environments and contexts and in particular to develop methods for the use of artillery. The result of testing and development is now in a final phase… Then there are still some developments, there will be some differences on the prototype one and two. The cab of the prototype which has not, for example, the same protection as the cab at the prototype two and on the next series of products.”
Archer P1 has the Swedish configuration and Archer P2 will be the Norwegian configuration. The 2 prototypes will be verified and completed in spring 2010, with the first production delivery to Sweden and Norway scheduled to begin in 2011.
Jan 15/09: BAE Systems announces a $70 million contract to finalize the development of the Archer artillery system for the Swedish and Norwegian armed forces. This order consists of final development of the self propelled gun, development of ammunition handling system and modular charges.
Construction of a final prototype gun is expected to be complete by September 2009. As part of the contract, both governments hold an option to purchase 24 Archer systems each (total: 48), that can be exercised by September 2009.
Final Archer development
Nov 4/08: The Swedish FMV defense procurement agency announces that intensified cooperation agreements were signed at the end of October 2008 by FMV’s Hakan Espmark and the FLO’s Asle Kjelsberg. Additional joint agreements are in the pipeline for 2009: one for Archer procurement, one regarding a joint control and management system for indirect fire, one for joint maintenance approaches, and one in the field of artillery ammunition.
FMV and FLO will begin joint negotiations with BAE Systems Bofors on the assignment to complete development and delivery.
Swedish – Norwegian agreement