BAE Systems, Babcock and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) are teaming up to offer the ARCHER wheeled mobile artillery system to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) as the replacement for the AS90 self-propelled howitzer.
The ARCHER Artillery Alliance will offer the proven, advanced technology system, which presents the lowest risk solution for the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) program, as the UK aims to modernize its 155mm capabilities.
The three companies, each with a well-established supply chain in the UK, plan to work with other UK businesses as plans progress.
John Borton, Managing Director of BAE Systems Weapon Systems UK, said; “The ARCHER, already in service with the British Army as its interim solution, is one of the most advanced, fielded artillery systems in the world today. Working with our strategic partners in the UK, we believe that an ARCHER-based solution would allow the British Army to significantly accelerate the delivery of the Mobile Fires Platform programme. Our aim is to deliver a long-term homegrown artillery solution for the UK, which will safeguard, sustain and grow a critical, specialized British industrial capability and an opportunity for exports.”
BAE Systems will provide and integrate the weapon system, including the barrel, as well as the gun control system. In addition, BAE Systems will set up and manage the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) facility. Babcock will hold responsibility for the consolidation of the superstructure and ammunition resupply system, sharing its significant manufacturing and maintenance capabilities.
Chris Spicer, Managing Director of Engineering & Systems Integration at Babcock, said; “In line with the MoD’s Land Industrial Strategy, Babcock is pleased to be working with BAE Systems to bring to the UK and the British Army this market-leading capability. Our skilled teams and facilities in the South-West and West Midlands will deliver important elements of the engineering expertise, system integration and innovative technology required for system assembly that will enable the ARCHER Artillery Alliance to provide the British Army with this exciting capability.”
RBSL will be the UK lead for the RMMV HX 8X8 truck chassis, and prepare the cabin for integration with the ARCHER artillery system.
BAE Systems, which recently secured a contract for an additional 48 ARCHER systems for the Swedish Army, plans to transfer technology from its existing production line in Sweden to the UK to establish a UK-based MFP production line. The work across the Alliance and its supply chain would create more than 350 new high-skilled jobs in the UK.
The Alliance’s proposal would ensure a significant amount of UK industrial content once the program enters full-rate production. As part of the bid, BAE Systems plans to use its expertise in Sweden and the UK to re-establish sovereign barrel manufacturing in the UK, which would provide an opportunity to generate operational independence and security of supply through a sovereign artillery manufacturing solution.
ARCHER is a fully automated system, purpose-built to keep pace with fast-moving land forces. It is designed for rapid deployment to quickly respond to threats and deliver superior mobility, lethality and survivability. Operators control the entire gun system from the safety of ARCHER’s armored cabin. In only 20 seconds, the vehicle can stop and fire its first round. After completion of the fire mission, ARCHER is on the move again within 20 seconds. In less than two minutes, ARCHER can fire six rounds, displace and move 500 meters, making the ARCHER the ultimate shoot-and-scoot system for soldier and platform survivability.