Switzerland selects BAE Systems Archer and KMW RCH 155 as candidates for its new artillery system

According to information published by the "Defense Brief" website on August 11, 2002, the Swiss defense procurement agency ArmaSuisse has selected the two last contenders for the next-generation self-propelled howitzer program of the Swiss army including the German company Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) with the RCH 155 and BAE Systems with the Archer.
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The two candidates for the new artillery systems of the Swiss army are the Archer from BAE Systems and the RCH 155 from Krauss Maffei Wegmann.

Citing information from the Defense Brief website the two artillery systems will conduct trial tests in Germany between 2023 and 2024 and the final decision for the acquisition will be announced in 2026.

Currently, the Swiss armed forces have a total of M109 KAWEST which is an upgraded version of the American M109 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. The main part of the upgrade is the replacement of the existing 155 mm 39 caliber barrel with a new Swiss-designed and built chrome-plated 155 mm 47 caliber barrel fitted with a new double-baffle muzzle brake and fume extractor as used in the Swiss Army Pz Hb 88/95 upgrade.

The Swiss army is planning to withdraw its old M109 KAWEST with a new self-propelled howitzer based on a wheeled truck chassis. The American M109A1 155mm self-propelled howitzer has been in service for more than 50 years.

The RCH 155 is a mobile 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer developed by the German company KMW (Kraus Maffei Wegmann) based on a Boxer 8x8 wheeled armored vehicle. The new German-made artillery system was unveiled in 2016 during the defense exhibition Eurosatory in Paris, France.

The wheeled armored self-propelled howitzer RCH 155 combines the firepower and effective range of the automated and remote-controlled Artillery Gun Module (AGM©) with the protection and mobility of the combat-proven wheeled armored vehicle BOXER. The vehicle is armed with a 155mm 52-caliber gun which is also used on the tracked armored self-propelled howitzer PZH 2000.

The RCH 155 155mm Remote Controlled Howitzer combines long-range intense firepower and the fully automated Artillery Gun Module with the protection and mobility of the combat-proven wheeled armored vehicle BOXER. It can fire up to 8 rounds per minute to a range of up to 40 km with standard ammunition that is achievable with BOXER RCH 155. An increased range of up to 56 km is possible with Very Long-range Artillery Projectiles (VLAP).

The Archer is a wheeled self-propelled howitzer 155mm designed and manufactured jointly by the Company Bofors and BAE Systems. The first technical studies of the Archer were launched in 1995. The Archer is already in service with Sweden and Norway.

The Archer is based on a modified version of the Volvo A30D 6×6 articulated all-terrain hauler vehicle. The main weapon of the Archer is the 155mm 52-caliber gun. The gun uses the proven design of the cradle and recoil system from the current generation FH 77B towed field howitzer. The Archer system is completely automatic and autonomous, which means that all systems for firing artillery have been integrated.

The cannon of the Archer has a maximum firing range of 40 km with conventional 155mm ammunition and 60 km with precision-guided munitions including the Excalibur. The Excalibur (XM982, M982, and M982A1) is a 155 mm, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided, extended-range artillery projectile in use as the Army’s next-generation cannon artillery precision munitions.