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The first BAE Systems Bofors 155 mm Archer 6×6 wheeled self-propelled howitzer (SPH) has been delivered to the British Army, the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation announced on 6 October 2023.

It is the first of 14 Archer systems that the UK MoD agreed to buy from Sweden in March 2023 as an interim capability in advance of fulfilment of the British Army’s longer-term Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) programme, which is designed to replace its fleet of tracked AS90 155 mm SPHs. The Archers are replacing 32 AS90s that the United Kingdom has donated to Ukraine.

The 14 ex-Swedish Archers, which use a Volvo 6×6 all-terrain chassis, were bought under a government-to-government agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) and have been upgraded to a UK specification by BAE Systems Bofors.

The first Archer system will be fielded by 1 Deep Recce Strike Brigade and initially held by 19 Regiment Royal Artillery (The Scottish Gunners), based at Larkhill, Wiltshire, where capability integration activity and safety trials will be carried out in order to meet an initial operating capability with the Archer system in 2024.

The British Army has received the first of 14 Archer SPHs procured to provide an interim capability in advance of the MFP programme. (Photo: BAE Systems Bofors)

Colonel Rob Hollinrake, DE&S team leader responsible for the Interim 155 mm project, was quoted as saying in a DE&S press release, “The delivery of the first Archer gun system to the British Army so quickly after the initial contract agreement is testament to the hard work and diligence of all those involved in the project. We are totally committed to equipping the UK armed forces and soon as possible and supporting them whilst meeting our obligations to operational commitments.”