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Future Artillery 2024: Switzerland modernises artillery

KNDS Deutschland and GDELS presented the artillery gun module on the Piranha HMC at Defence iQ's Future Artillery 2024 conference. (GDELS)

Janes learnt about Swiss efforts to modernise its artillery at Defence iQ's Future Artillery 2024 conference being held in Paris from 21 to 23 May.

Switzerland is rebuilding its armed forces that were drawn down after the end of the Cold War, followed by the reduction of defence spending from 1.52% to 0.68% of GDP. For Swiss fires capabilities, this resulted in the reduction in the number of artillery battalions from 16 to four and the disbandment of fortress artillery, and for the air force, the phasing out of air-to-ground munitions.

To reverse this decline, Swiss defence spending will be increased to 2% of GDP, with the still-to-be-decided timeframe starting either in 2030 or 2035. As a first step, Switzerland plans to modernise its operational fires, among other capabilities, increasing its artillery range from 20 km to 50 km, and as a second step, to 300 km, combined with munitions delivered by the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) it is procuring.

For its reconnaissance units, forward observers, and forward air controllers, Switzerland signed a contract with General Dynamics European Land Systems – Mowag (GDELS-Mowag) in November 2019 for 100 Eagle 6×6 protected vehicles for its Taktisches Aufklärungssystem (Tactical Reconnaissance System, TASYS). Switzerland began testing unmanned aerial vehicles in 2023, which along with multiple rocket launchers and loitering munitions are under consideration for operational fires for the 50–300 km range and above.

It is also procuring 48 Mörser 16 armoured mortar vehicles (AMVs) from GDELS-Mowag with Cobra 120 mm turntable-mounted smoothbore mortars from RUAG, with the first system due to join the artillery school in 2026. The AMVs' ammunition will include guided munitions.

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