September 23 in Sweden held a long-awaited event. Department of the Ministry of Defence Procurement (Forsvarets Materielverk) took the first batch of self-propelled howitzers FH77BW L52 Archer («Archer») on a wheeled chassis. Four new combat vehicles put into service under the title Artillerisystem 08. About a year later the Swedish military department wants to get a second batch of self-propelled artillery of 20 machines. In addition, in recent years will be built SAU 24 for Norway.
The long-awaited transfer SPG customer was due to a number of technical problems disposition. In accordance with the first agreements signed during development, SAU Archer had to make up for the armed forces of Sweden back in 2011. But during prototype testing revealed some shortcomings, for the correction of which took time. Ultimately, the first batch consisting of only 4 pre-production of combat vehicles, was transferred to the customer in September 2013. In the coming army of Sweden receives serial technique.
Separately it is worth noting the situation with the artillery in the Swedish army, the current eventually disrupt delivery schedules SAU Archer. In the current time in the armed forces of Sweden artillery represented only 9 th artillery regiment, consisting of 2-divisions. By the end of 2011 due to resource generation were scrapped all available towed 155mm howitzers Bofors FH77B, because of what the Swedish Armed Forces is one hundred percent lost some field artillery. Initially it was assumed that the new ACS Archer will change towed howitzers, but the difficulties that accompanied the creation of self-propelled guns, tore the implementation of these plans, and eventually for almost 2 years Swedish army had no artillery.
Project to develop a promising self-propelled artillery installation started in 1995. In accordance with the technical specifications, implementing organization was to create a self-propelled guns, armed with modified FH77B howitzer 155 mm. Customer sought to improve the properties of guns by increasing length of the barrel. Result of modernization howitzers became FH77BW modification with a barrel length of 52 calibers. Specifically, such an instrument should have been consumed in recent ACS. In addition, customer requirements involves the introduction of the wheel chassis.
The preparatory phase of the project took a couple of years. Only in 2003 the Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the Swedish company Bofors. This document provided for completion of the project and the construction of the following serial self-propelled guns. In 2005 were built first experienced promising ACS standards. SPG tests began after the transformation of the company in the Bofors BAE Systems Bofors.
As the chassis for the latest self-propelled artillery system was chosen car Volvo A30D 6×6. The chassis is equipped with a diesel engine capacity of 340 horsepower, which allows you to develop a combat vehicle speed on highway to 65 km / h Allegedly wheeled chassis can move through the snow to a depth of 1 meter. If damaged wheels, including the explosion, SAU Archer able to continue for a certain time movement.
Fascinating feature of the chassis SAU Archer is applied architecture. The car is made by A30D articulated scheme, which improves maneuverability. In front of the chassis, on the first axis and to the node junction located engine department and crew cabin. Engine and crew closed anti-bullet armor, the best level 2 standard NATO STANAG 4569. Placed in the cockpit jobs 3 or 4 crew members. Depending on the nature of the operation being performed in the crew may be one or two weapons operator. The driver and the commander of the crew are constantly. On the roof of the cockpit there is a place to install a remote-controlled machine gun turrets Protector.
On the back of an articulated chassis module houses all units guns. Above the rear axle chassis placed hoist and rotate the turret. Aiming is done by turning the guns and the rise of the whole tower. ACS inducing mechanisms allow vertical weapon spectrum angles from 0 ° to +70 °. Due to the nature of the wheel chassis angles traverse limited: Archer can fire goals in the frontal sector width of 150 ° (75 ° to the right and left of the axis). To stabilize the machine is used in the management of fire double outrigger to the rear of the chassis. In the stowed position the gun module is rotated to a neutral position, lowering the barrel howitzer in a special tray, cover with lids. Dimensions of the base vehicle claimed to apply a fascinating solution. So, when translated to the stowed position SAU recoil device guns barrel recently moved back position that allows him to put the existing tray.
Wheel SAU Archer has quite large. Maximum length of the combat vehicle exceeds 14 meters, width — 3 m. Without the use of self-propelled gun turret Protector height of 3.3 meters, and after the installation of this martial module increases by approximately 60 cm Combat weight SAU Archer does not exceed 30 tons. Dimensions and weight of self-propelled artillery installation FH77BW L52 lets you carry it by rail. In coming to this means to use military transport aircraft Airbus A400M.
During combat work crew SAU Archer is constantly on their own jobs and not leave them. All operations are performed by commands from the remote control. In this regard, all the mechanisms of the turret operate in automatic mode. The main elements of tower equipment are charging mechanisms. According to reports, instead of a single system of self-propelled Archer uses two interacting together mechanism. One of them takes the 155-mm shells. Mechanized stacking capacity — 21 shell. Second charging system operates with a propelling charge, supplied in the form of cylindrical units with burned down shell resembling charging cap. In laying Archer self-propelled towers placed 126 units with a propelling charge. When using the transport and loading vehicle with cargo crane on a full load of ammunition takes about eight minutes.
Regardless of the intended purpose of self-propelled howitzer crew FH77BA L52 Archer can increase or decrease the total amount of throwing consistency by changing the amount placed in the gun charges. At the highest amount of propellant propelled howitzer Archer able to send a projectile to the target at a distance of 30 km. Implementation of active-reactive or guided munitions firing range increases to 60 km. Last declared for the corrected projectile Excalibur. ACS Archer can lead fire direct fire, but in this case an effective firing range does not exceed the 2-km.
Mechanisms loader guns provide rate to 8-9 shots per minute. As required crew may lead self-propelled fire mode MRSI (called a barrage of fire), for a little time making six shots. On the volley shot 21 (full ammunition), it takes less than 3 minutes. In developing ACS Archer into account the need to reduce the time to prepare for shooting and leaving the position. As a result, part of the manufacturers to conduct self-propelled gun fire can produce more towards the position. With this first shot is done in 30 seconds after stopping at a suitable point on the route. During this period, the outrigger is lowered and driven into the firing position tower. After performing the tasks of fire fighting vehicle crew takes to the stowed position and leaves the position. In preparation for the withdrawal from the position just takes about 30 seconds.
ACS FH77BW L52 Archer equipped with modern digital fire control system. Electrical equipment and associated systems allow the crew to perform all necessary operations without leaving jobs. In addition, automation takes over part of the principal activities related to the preparation for shooting: the coordinates of the ACS, the calculation of the required pointing angles and firing method MRSI. When using the Excalibur guided projectile or the like automatic makes the preparation of ammunition to fire.
As already mentioned, the first serial ACS Archer supposed to put troops back in 2011. During development it appeared some difficulties associated with a number of applied systems. At eliminating deficiencies took a couple of years, which eventually led to the breakdown of the timing. Even during the testing and development were signed first contracts for the supply of serial combat vehicles. In 2008, Sweden has ordered eight new ACS, Norway — one. A few months later the Scandinavian countries have decided together to finance the project. In accordance with the treaty of 2009, BAE Systems Bofors should put the two countries on 24 self-propelled artillery.
In the current time last negotiations concerning the possible export contracts. ACS Archer intrigued troops from Denmark and Canada. These countries have been negotiating on the delivery of a certain amount of tanks. It is clear that Denmark can be purchased for less 2-10-s self-propelled. Until nedavneshnego time there were negotiations with Croatia. This country is going to acquire more than 24 ACS FH77BW L52 to substitute aging Russian art production. But the economic problem is not allowed to acquire Swedish Croatian war machines. As a result of long negotiations and comparisons Croatian armed forces of Germany decided to buy 18 used self-propelled howitzers PzH2000. Supply acquired SPG begin in 2014.
Combat and operational features make self-propelled artillery FH77BW L52 Archer worthy representative of a class of its own military equipment. However, some technical solutions used in the project, at the time led to several difficulties. All this could badly affect the reputation of the project. Because of problems in the development of ACS Archer Swedish army for quite a long time remained without field artillery, and before the start of massive supplies of new ACS remains several months. It should be noted that even before the start of series production Archer self-propelled interested prospective buyers in the face of third States. Completely may be that in the not to distant time will be signed new contracts for the supply of self-propelled guns.