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British Army receives first Archer SPH from Sweden

The British Army has received its first Archer 6×6 SPH from Sweden. (Crown copyright/British Army/WO2 Ross Fernie)

The British Army received its first Archer 6×6 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) from Sweden on 29 September, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 6 October. The first of 14 Archers the UK purchased from Sweden arrived by roll-on, roll-off (RO-RO) ship at Marchwood Military Port on the UK's southern coast.

The government-to-government agreement signed in March will fill the gap left in the British Army's 155 mm close support capability by the UK's donation of 32 AS90 tracked SPHs to Ukraine. The UK MoD said on its website that Archer was being procured as an interim solution to meet the UK's commitment to NATO's New Force Model (NFM).

The procurement includes upgrading the Archers to UK specifications by BAE Systems Bofors as well as logistic support containers, an initial supply of ammunition, a training package, and an initial support package.

The UK MoD's Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation that is delivering the Archers to the British Army will conduct tests and trials on the first SPH delivered, which is being used as a reference gun.

During the trials, the first UK Archer will be part of the British Army's 19 Regiment Royal Artillery. Afterwards, it will be fielded by 1 Deep Recce Strike (DRS) Brigade Combat Team (BCT).

Four more Archers are scheduled to arrive in the UK by the end of 2023 and the remaining nine by the second quarter of 2024.

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