Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced the country would send Archer self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine to help counter the Russian invasion.
The artillery system will reportedly be included in one of Stockholm’s future military aid packages for its war-torn ally.
The country’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström also said that the Archer systems are being donated because Kyiv “clearly requested” them.
He further stated that Sweden has been very willing to provide Ukraine with the weapons, but it was only a matter of “when” to send them.
Previous reports indicate that the Swedish defense ministry offered 12 of its 48 Archer 155-millimeter howitzers to support Ukrainian counter-offensives.
“I have said all along that we are strongly in favor of providing such an advanced weapons system,” Kristersson told reporters. “This work is ongoing and I will get back to you as soon as we complete it.”
‘Not on Ukraine’s Wish List’
In November last year, Sweden approved a $287-million military aid package for Ukraine, the largest of eight previous packages it has provided Kyiv.
The aid included air defense systems but not self-propelled howitzers to support frontline units.
A month later, Stockholm agreed to send a new batch of military aid that included additional air defense systems and winter ammunition. Still, there were no Archer artillery systems.
When asked why the weapons were not in the previous military aid packages sent to Kyiv, Kristersson revealed that the Archers were not at the top of Ukraine’s wish list of weapons.
However, he emphasized that the self-propelled guns have always been Sweden’s top priority in military aid to its embattled ally.
Archer Artillery System
Developed by BAE Systems Bofors, the Archer is a powerful artillery system on a wheeled chassis armed with a 155-mm FH 77 BW L52 howitzer.
It has an unmanned gun turret that contains 21 shells and can be fired at enemy assets in about 2.5 minutes.
The system can hit targets at up to 30 kilometers (19 miles) with a conventional projectile and 60 kilometers with an Excalibur guided projectile.
Additionally, the Archer is fitted with a Kongsberg remote-controlled weapon station for close-in defense.
Sweden is the launch customer of the artillery system, having received 48 units for combat operations.