British Army Fires Swedish Archer Mobile Howitzer for First Time

British Army soldiers have, for the first time, fired the Swedish-made Archer wheeled artillery system procured last year.

The historic moment was part of a live-fire test at the end of a 14-week training course provided by Stockholm to the new Archer operators.

According to the service, two of its detachments put into practice the theories they learned from training, as they successfully fired the weapon and performed ammunition replenishment without the direct support of the Swedish Army.


However, the live-fire test faced some challenges.

British Army soldiers needed to endure harsh Nordic weather and the difficulties of operating a wheeled platform on a snowy military training area in northernmost Sweden.

The weapon system’s complexity also prevented British gunners from achieving the high standards required to operate the modern artillery platform.

Swedish instructor Master Sergeant Johannes Borgstedt-Faläng explained that the gun platform the British Army previously used was a lot less digital and required more manual labor than the Archer howitzer.

“The challenges of that, when you go from a physical job to pushing buttons, it is hard to get your head around it,” he said. “You are used to doing it manually, and when the gun does it for you, you’re not comfortable with it.”

Archer wheeled howitzers
The British Army test-fires two Archer wheeled howitzers on a snowy terrain. Photo: British Army

‘A Good Piece of Kit’

The British government procured the Archer as an interim solution for the capability gap created by sending 32 AS90 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine.

The first systems arrived in the UK in October 2023, only six months after signing a contract with Stockholm.

Sergeant Toffy” Tovagone, among the British gunners recently trained in Sweden, pointed out a noticeable difference between firing the Archer and the old AS90.

“It wasn’t that loud. When you fire the AS90 it shakes, but this is a closed cabin, and it didn’t,” he said.

Overall, he described the mobile howitzer as a “good piece of kit” but emphasized the importance of learning the entire system, including “how to fault find and troubleshoot and also the use of the ammunition truck to fill in the magazines.”

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