PARIS — Sweden has committed to buying more Archer 155mm mobile howitzers from BAE Systems, having signed a letter of intent at the Paris-based defense exhibition Eurosatory this week.
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration and BAE Systems Bofors took the first step to establish an additional artillery battalion in line with Sweden’s defense strategy, which runs through 2025.
Mikael Frisell, head of the Swedish administration, and Lena Gillström, managing director at the BAE organization, signed the letter in front of the Archer vehicle on display at the company’s stand.
Sweden is the first customer to buy the Archer, and BAE recently finished delivering the first 48 Archer vehicles to the Swedish Army. The system has been fielded for five years.
Meanwhile, the Archer was selected as one of two contenders in a competition for a new mobile howitzer in Switzerland last week. The other contender was not made public. The country is looking to replace its aging howitzer, which is based on the M109 platform.
The U.S. Army also evaluated the Archer a year ago at Yuma Proving Ground, New Mexico, in an effort to identify off-the-shelf 155mm mobile howitzers to address an urgent operational need out of Europe.
The service also looked Nexter’s six-wheel drive Caesar howitzer, Elbit Systems of America’s Autonomous Truck Mounted Ordnance System Iron Sabre and a system from Serbia’s Yugoimport.
Following the evaluation, the Army is said to have downselected to two systems from that pool, but hit pause on the effort as it continues to evaluate what mix of modernized artillery it would like as part of the future force. The service has no funding applied to a program to acquire 155mm mobile howitzers at this time and is focused on the development and fielding of an extended-range cannon artillery system as a priority.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, BAE Systems has seen an increase in inquiries of the Archer system over the past several months, according to Mark Signorelli, the company’s vice president of platforms and services.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.