Bern, August 11th, 2022 – armasuisse has shortlisted two candidates whose systems for the renewal of medium-range indirect fire support for the Swiss Armed Forces are being evaluated. It is planned to apply to Parliament for procurement of one of the systems with the 2026 Army Message. It will replace the M109 self-propelled howitzer procured over 50 years ago.
The M109 self-propelled howitzer currently in use will reach the end of its service life at the beginning of the 2030s and will have to be replaced with a modern successor system. Work on the “Artillerie Wirkplattform und Wirkmittel 2026” (Artillery platform and means 2026) project began in 2017 with project initiation and the project order followed in 2019. With the selection of the systems for the evaluation phase, the project has reached another important milestone.
Based on the military requirements, armasuisse invited several manufacturers to submit their documents. The information received was analyzed and evaluated. The 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 carrier platforms (Boxer 8×8 / Piranha 8×8)
Project “Artillery platform and means 2026”
The “Artillery platform and means 2026” project is intended to ensure the preservation and further development of indirect fire capability at medium operational distances with increased range, precision 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:
- Wheel-based weapon platform and weapon for medium-range indirect fire support
- Integration in command and fire control system
- Training and simulation systems
- Integration of communication systems
- Logistic means for the impact platform and the impact means
With the decision in favor of these systems, the areas of technology, use 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 procurement of one of the systems is to be applied for with the army 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 procured in several tranches from 1968 and have since formed the backbone of the Swiss Army’s self-propelled artillery. In the course of its useful life, the system has been updated several times. In 1995 the M109 self-propelled howitzer was subjected to a combat upgrade (KAWEST) and in 2012 to a value maintenance program (WE). The last measures are currently being taken with an extension of use (NUV) in 2021 with the intention of being able to operate the system until the beginning of 2030, until it is replaced by a new impact platform with active agents.
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Photos courtesy armasuisse