based on a different truck, a 6 x 6Soframe/Unimog, which ironically wasthe platform originally used for the pro-totypes. These were also demonstrated inMalaysia, the United States and Brunei.Portugal, which should soon replacetwelve M114A1 towed howitzers, is also amarketing target for Nexter. Size-wise theCaesar is no more than a lorry that can bedriven without special escort. In a filmmade during its trials in Malaysia, it isseen riding at over 100 km/h on a highwayand nonchalantly stopping at a servicestation for a fill-up.
Based on the successful FH77 Boforstowed artillery system, development of the Archer, also known as FH77 BW L52,began in the mid ‘90s (at the time Boforsand Giat had teamed for a short period inwhat was known as the Spa System, forSelf Propelled Artillery, to offer two con-cepts, one on a 6 x 6 and the other on a 8x 8 casemated gun, but the two finallysplit). Just as happened with the Caesar,the Archer concept took time to beaccepted. Following the completion of two demonstrators, two prototypes final-ly were to be built under a developmentcontract. This signature followed thatof a Memorandum of Understandingbetween Norway and Sweden the previ-ous May in which Oslo accepted to sharethe remaining development costs withStockholm if the Swedish Army acceptedto install the Protector remote controlweapon system on its vehicles.
The first prototype in the Swedish con-figuration was delivered in July 2009 withthe Norwegian configuration followingshortly thereafter. Tests are due for com-pletion in Spring 2010, and Swedenintends to be able to deploy the system by2011. Another decision taken in Fall 2009and linked to the co-operation betweenthe two countries was to not qualify BAESystems Uniflex 2 modular charges for theArcher, as Norway is already using Rhein-metall DM72/82 bi-modular charges. Thefull-rate production contract for a total of 24 vehicles per nation, which will includealso 48 re-supply vehicles, was expected tobe signed by late 2009. Compared to theprevious demonstrators, the prototypesallow ammunition loading while layingthe gun, while this was not possible before,the two operations being carried out inman crew and a further module hosts 36rounds. Known as the Nora B-52 (NovoORužje Artiljerije, meaning new artilleryweapon), the testbed was fitted with a 45-calibre barrel, but the prototype, complet-ed in Fall 2004, featured a 52-calibre bar-rel allowing a range of over 41 km withbase-bleed extended-range ammunitionand 65 km with rocket-assisted base-bleed. Thirty such systems were suppliedto Myanmar, while Serbia has received itsfirst twelve SP howitzers and ordered afurther 16. An improved version, based onthe Russian Kamaz 63501 8 x 8 chassis,has been developed and is known as theB-52K1. According to some sources,Kenya has ordered an undisclosed num-ber of the latest Nora version.In Israel, Soltam promotes its Atmos2000 autonomous truck mounted howitzersystem, a 155-mm artillery system fortrucksthat can accommodate differentguns with a variety of barrel lengths and
A r t i l l e r y
The PzH 2000s acquired by the Italian Army are manufactured under license by Oto Melara. The service has acquired 70 units.(Armada/PV)China has developed two different wheeled SP systems, the SH1 with a155/52-mm gun seen here in the foreground, and the SH2 with a122-mm gun seen just behind it.(Armada/PV)
is flexible enough to fit on different truck chassis. This design flexibility was evi-denced by two programmes: one forRomania which is named Atmor andwhich consists of the 52-calibre Soltam gunmounted on the Roman 6 x 6 truck chassis,and the other for Kazakhstan known asSemser, which is based on a RussianKamaz 63502 8 x 8 with the elevating massof a D-30 122-mm towed howitzer.Norinco in China developed two truck-mounted self-propelled artillery systems,the SH1 and the SH2. The former, whichwas unveiled in 2007, is armed with a155/52-mm gun ensuring a range of 53 kmwith base-bleed rocket-assisted extended-range ammunition; the gun is fixed at therear of the 6 x 6 chassis, thus the two rearaxles are located close to each other at thetail end of the vehicle. Equipped with asemi-automatic loading system, its naviga-tion aids provide an autonomous combatcapability, while its C4I and automatedgun laying allows it to carry out shoot-and-scoot missions. The SH2 is armed witha 122-mm PL96 (the Chinese copy of theSoviet D-30), which gives it a 27-km rangewith base-bleed rocket-assisted extended-range ammo. Here the gun is located inthe middle of the 6 x 6 chassis, the centralaxle being located under the gun itself.Apparently both systems were developedmore for the export than for the nationalmarket.sequence, which reduces the firing missiontime. The Archer was being proposed toAustralia for its Land 17 artillery replace-ment programme, but Tenix Defence andAerospace, which teamed with BAE Sys-tems Bofors for offering the FH77 BWL52, decided to drop out of the contest.Denmark, Canada and India alsoexpressed interest in the system, the latterbecoming again a potential customer fol-lowing the shelving of the case againstBofors in late September 2009.Another European company, Yugoim-port, developed a 155/52 mm self-pro-pelled gun on an 8 x 8 Fap 2832 chassis.This is fitted with a module behind thecabin to accommodate the remaining six-
After a long development period the Archer, based on an articulated chassis, should become operational with Swedish and Norwegian forces in 2011. (Armada/PV)