The British Army has struck a new artillery deal with Sweden, which will see it replace the AS90s gifted to Ukraine with new 'Archer' heavy artillery guns.
The Army will own the first 14 Archer artillery systems this month, which will be fully operational by April 2024.
The UK gifted 32 AS90 artillery systems to the armed forces of Ukraine, and the Archer guns will serve as an interim replacement.
The Archer outperforms the AS90 on many parameters, having double the maximum range of AS90, greater operational mobility, greater availability and reduced time into action.
Designed and built by BAE Systems Bofors in Sweden, Archer is operated by three to four crew, and can also be operated by one person if required.
In contrast, the AS90 needs a five-person crew.
The Archer is faster, benefiting from a top speed of 70km/h (43mph) compared to AS90's 53km/h (32mph).
The Archer's range is double that of the AS90 and the Archer's self-propelled 155mm howitzer gun, designed for rapid deployment, has a firing range of 50km, using extended range ammunition, compared to AS90's 25km (15-mile) range.
The AS90 is also designed by BAE Systems and can fire six rounds per minute, while the Archer, on the other hand, can fire three high-powered rounds within 40 seconds.
The sale was negotiated in two months by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) – the UK Ministry of Defence's procurement arm – and the final contract will be signed with its Swedish counterparts, FMV, shortly.
"Archer is a potent, modern artillery system procured at a speed previously unseen in defence. Today's agreement took only eight weeks to secure and the guns will be in service with the British Army by next spring," said Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith, Deputy Chief of the General Staff.
"Archer fires further and faster than any artillery system previously in service with the British Army – it is a step change in capability and fills a gap left by UK support to Ukraine," she added.
The deal with Sweden will enable the UK to quickly replace AS90 until the long-term Mobile Fires Platform comes into action later this decade as part of the Future Soldier modernisation programme.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that the Ministry of Defence is working hard to accelerate the Mobile Fires Platform programme, meanwhile, the agreement with Sweden will sustain the British Army's requirements.
"While continuing to double-down on our unwavering support for Ukraine, it's imperative we simultaneously replenish our capabilities at home," added Mr Wallace.