Nowadays, there are howitzers where ever one looks, being deployed and used in most of today’s conflicts. They come in many shapes and sizes, and research is being conducted round the clock by defense companies that strive to come with better versions.
British company BAE Systems is one of these companies, and the Archer wheeled howitzer is one of their most recent offerings in this segment.
The weapon is already deployed by the Swedish Army, and it operates successfully in cold weather environments. The U.S. Army is eyeing adding it to the arsenal as well, but given how the American military usually operates in much hotter environments, some kind of testing was needed to see how the weapon behaves.
During the summer, the Archer was put through its paces at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, when it had to fire rounds at temperatures that reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). And it did, spitting out roughly 450 rounds over an undisclosed period of time, “including six to 12 round bursts, and up to as many as eight rounds per minute.”
The rapid rate of fire is not something unheard of when it comes to this system. Its specs point to it being capable of firing rounds “within 30 seconds of receiving an order” and can depart the firing position in about the same amount of time, giving the enemy very few options of locating it.
The 155 mm Archer can fire a variety of shells, from anti-armor munition (range 35 km/22 miles), conventional munitions (40 km/25 miles), and even precision-guided munitions (50 km/31 miles).
One magazine holds 21 rounds, which can all be fired within three minutes. There’s no need for soldiers to exit the cabin of the carrier truck, as the gun can be commanded remotely, down to the loading system.
BAE Systems announced this week the success of this summer’s tests in the hands of the U.S. Army, but did not say whether the Americans have made up their minds about it yet.