Bofors Defence, a Swedish subsidiary of United Defense, received a contract from
the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration to support the study of potential
upgrades to the FH 77B self-propelled howitzer.
This contract worth $25 million includes engineering studies covering the next
18-month focused on upgrading existing 155mm 39-caliber FH 77B to a 52-caliber
configuration. The new 52-caliber configuration is called the FH 77BW.
Defence will produce two 155mm 52-caliber FH 77BW prototypes to be delivered to
the Swedish Army in 2005 for evaluation. Critical data provided through Army
evaluation will lead the Swedish government to take a decision about potential
fielding of the FH 77BW.
The new FH 77BW self-propelled howitzer will feature an automated ammunition
handling system, a crew cockpit to control and fire the 52-caliber gun, and
improved armor. The FH 77BW weight has been estimated around 27-ton with 21
complete ready-to-fire rounds and a 4-person crew.
The Bonus 155mm projectile currently in service with Sweden and France, and the
Excalibur 155mm projectile currently under development are intended as the main
asset for the 52-caliber gun. A 52-caliber long gun barrel will allow the FH
77BW to attack targets out to 40 miles (approx 65 km).
The Swedish Army would upgrade its existing 155mm FH 77B 39-caliber
self-propelled to the FH 77BW standard if the program gets green light from the
Swedish government. In addition to the 39-caliber FH 77B, Bofors Defence also
developed the FH 77BD 45-caliber gun.
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