Switzerland: two offers in new self-propelled howitzer program

By Defence Industry Europe staff

Armasuisse, the Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement, has selected the top two bids in a move to find a successor to M109 KAWEST WE self-propelled howitzers that have been in use for more than 50 years. BAE Systems Bofors, with its Archer 8x8, and KMW, with its RCH 155 AGM howitzer on a Boxer or Piranha chassis, will compete for pride of place in the program.

The Artillerie Wirkplattform und Wirkmittel 2026 program commenced in 2017, with bids presented to Armasuisse being evaluated on the basis of the documentation received from artillery system manufacturers.

The new weapon system is expected to provide a large indirect fire capability with improved range, precision and mobility. Switzerland prefers wheeled traction systems that can be integrated with the command and fire control systems as well as communications.

Archer 8x8 self-propelled howitzer offered by BAE Systems Bofors.
Archer 8×8 self-propelled howitzer offered by BAE Systems Bofors. Photo: Armasuisse.

According to the plan, performance tests and assessment of the prototype self-propelled howitzers will be conducted in Germany and other countries in 2023 and 2024. The program’s winner is to be announced in 2026, at which point a contract will be signed. This will coincide with the planned withdrawal of the in-service M109 howitzers, probably in the 2030s.

This is because it will no longer be possible to extend the service life of the systems in use since 1968, despite several upgrades. The Swiss M109s underwent KAWEST (Kampfwertsteigerung) modernisation in 1995, EC (Werterhaltungsprogramm) modernisation in 2012, with a new programme currently on-going, designed to extend their NUV service.


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