Bern, August 11, 2022 – armasuisse has pre-selected two candidates whose systems for the renewal of medium-range indirect fire support for the Swiss army are currently being evaluated. It is planned to apply to Parliament for the purchase of one of the systems with the army 2026 message. It will replace the M109 self-propelled howitzer purchased more than 50 years ago.
The M109 self-propelled howitzer currently in use will reach the end of its life in the early 2030s and will need to be replaced by a modern successor system. Work on the project “Artillery Wirkplattform und Wirkmittel 2026” (Artillery Platform and Means 2026) began in 2017 with the launch of the project and the project order followed in 2019. With the selection of systems for the phase evaluation, the project has taken another important step. .
Based on military requirements, armasuisse invited several manufacturers to submit their documents. The information received was analyzed and evaluated. Systems from two manufacturers were selected for further evaluation:
- BAE Systems Bofors AB, Sweden, Archer 8×8 mobile howitzer,
- Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, RCH 155 AGM Artillery Gun with two possible transport platforms (Boxer 8 × 8 / Piranha 8 × 8)
Project “Platform and artillery means 2026”
The “Artillery Platform and Means 2026” project aims to ensure the preservation and further development of indirect fire capability at medium operational ranges with increased range, accuracy and mobility. Based on these requirements, armasuisse was commissioned to evaluate a suitable system based on a wheeled vehicle. The scope of the project includes:
- Wheeled weapons platform and weapon for medium range indirect fire support
- Integration into the fire command and control system
- Training and simulation systems
- Integration of communication systems
- Logistic means for the impact platform and the impact means
With the choice of these systems, the areas of technology, usage and logistics will be tested and analyzed in depth during the evaluation phase using functional prototypes. These clarifications and tests are planned for 2023 and 2024 in Germany and abroad. The acquisition of one of the systems is to be requested from the army’s armament program in 2026.
Today’s M109 self-propelled howitzer in service for over 50 years
The M109 self-propelled howitzers (official designation: 15.5 cm self-propelled howitzer M109 KAWEST WE) currently in use were purchased in several installments from 1968 and have since formed the backbone of the Swiss army’s self-propelled artillery. During its useful life, the system has been updated several times. In 1995, the M109 self-propelled howitzer underwent a combat upgrade (KAWEST), and in 2012 a value retention program (WE). The final steps are currently being taken with an extension of use (NUV) in 2021 with the intention of being able to operate the system until early 2030, until it is replaced by a new impact platform with active agents.
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photos courtesy of armasuisse