Published 24 April 2024

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A significant milestone in the modernisation of the British Army’s artillery has been agreed following a landmark defence agreement between the United Kingdom and Germany.

Both countries will collaborate on the 155mm Remote Controlled Howitzer (RCH155), a 52-calibre artillery system known as the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP), marking a step change towards a deeper industrial and wider defence relationship between the two nations.

The project is being delivered by the MFP Project Team within the Fires, Infrastructure and Manoeuvre Support Delivery Team in the Land Equipment Operating Centre at Defence Equipment and Support.

Working alongside the British Army and with our German partners, the project team is aiming to deliver MFP into service this decade, equipping Royal Artillery soldiers with a world class, close support artillery capability to deliver lethal and decisive effect enabling the Army to fight and win wars on land.

The capability will be mounted on a Boxer armoured vehicles chassis and is capable of a high rate-of-fire of up to 9 rounds-per-minute, reaching distances of approximately 40 kilometres. It can also be fired on the move making it easier to avoid counter-artillery fire.

The UK’s collaboration with Germany could also bring significant industrial supply chain, prosperity, and export benefit to the United Kingdom. The Ministry of Defence along with UK industry are developing future export opportunities.

Andy Start, DE&S CEO, said:

“The ongoing war in Ukraine has shown how essential it is to possess heavy artillery that can be quickly manoeuvred around the battlefield.
Following our acquisition of 14 new Archer platforms as the interim Mobile Fires Platform, the Boxer-mounted Howitzer will provide an excellent long-term weapon for the British Army and our German allies, as well as sparking further investment in UK industry and unlocking future export opportunities.”

Lieutenant General Simon Hamilton, DE&S Director General Land, added:

“I’m really excited about this opportunity to work collaboratively with Germany. This new gun exemplifies a step-change in artillery technology that will exploit efficiencies in trials and testing conducted by our two countries to enable rapid and agile delivery of critical capability to our soldiers.
“This programme also has the potential to offer tangible benefit to supply chain and Defence industrial resilience at a time of increasing international tension and uncertainty.”

The new MFP solution was announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin this week to deepen defence and security co-operation between the two allies.

It follows the Prime Minister’s visit to Poland on Tuesday, where he announced a historic uplift in UK defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030.

Chief of the General Staff for the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders said:

“The announcement that the UK and Germany will work collaboratively to acquire the RCH155 artillery system is a landmark step that will strengthen our respective artillery capabilities and continue to bolster European and NATO security.

“The criticality of close support artillery fires has never been clearer than in today’s fragile global environment – RCH155 will provide our nations’ armies with a world class artillery system, capable of delivering lethal and decisive effect across the span of our operations.”