- A strong number of contenders for the UK's MFP requirement were evident at DSEI
- Up to 98 systems are likely to be procured, with an IOC set for 2028
BAE Systems, Nexter, Elbit UK, and Hanwha Defence were among the companies presenting self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition (DSEI 2019) to inform a UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) request for information (RFI) ahead of the country's Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) programme.
BAE Systems displayed a variant of its Archer SPH based on a Rheinmetall Man 8×8 truck that is understood to have some commonality with other trucks in service with the British Army.
Ulf Einefors, director of marketing and sales for BAE Weapon Systems Sweden, explained that the multiple-round/simultaneous-impact (MRSI) capability and advanced mission system installed on the Archer make it well suited for the modern battlespace, which requires the rapid engagement of fleeting and dispersed targets.
The Archer can be supported by an ammunition vehicle, based on the same truck chassis as the howitzer, that can provide an additional 100 rounds to sustain the gun system during combat, which Einefors considers to be an important attribute.
Nexter displayed a model of its CAESAR 155 mm SPH based on the same 8×8 truck chassis that has been selected to meet a Royal Danish Army SPH requirement. The UK MoD has not set its mobility requirements, Jean-Christophe Bund, Nexter's regional sales director, told Jane's , "but the greater ammunition load and mobility that an 8×8 chassis provides could meet the UK's requirements", he added.
CAESAR has been used operationally by French forces in Iraq and Mali, proving its utility on the battlefield, Bund ventured. This experience also provides Nexter with lessons learned to improve the platform according to customer needs, he said.
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