Bofors/Nexter Bonus

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155 mm BONUS
BONUS 155 mm construction
TypeSmart artillery round
Sensor‐fuzed submunition
Place of originSweden / France
Service history
In service2000–present
Used bySee operators
Production history
DesignerBofors AB
Nexter Systems
ManufacturerBAE Systems Platforms & Services
Nexter Systems
Mass44.6 kg (98 lb) unfused
Length898 mm (35.4 in) unfused
Diameter155 mm (6.1 in)

Muzzle velocity830 m/s (2,723 ft/s) from 39‐caliber barrels
Maximum firing range
  • 27 km (17 mi) from 39‐caliber barrels
  • 35 km (22 mi) from 52‐caliber barrels
Filling2 x autonomous anti‐armour and anti‐artillery submunitions

The BONUS (Bofors Nutating Shell)[2] or ACED (Anti-Char à Effet Dirigé)[3][4][5] is a 155 mm artillery cluster round co-developed and manufactured by Bofors of Sweden and Nexter of France. It was designed to fulfill a long range, indirect fire, top attack requirement against armoured fighting vehicles.

The BONUS base bleed carrier shell contains two submunitions, which descend over the battlefield on winglets and attack targets with explosively formed penetrator warheads.


The programme was launched in early 1985 as a project study for the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, with development completion initially expected by 1989 and production by 1990.[6] In 1990, however, development completion was said to have slipped to 1992, the programme suffering delays.[7] In June 1992, a military cooperation protocol was signed between Sweden and France. This partnership took concrete form on March 7 1993 in Stockholm, with the conclusion of a special agreement on the development and production of an "intelligent" munition: the BONUS OBG artillery shell. The French Defense Minister, Pierre Joxe, stated the agreement would "undoubtedly make it possible to combine Swedish and French technologies, which are very advanced in this field". His Swedish counterpart, Anders Björck, meanwhile, emphasized the "historic" nature of this cooperation with France, "which is undoubtedly the most technologically advanced of Sweden's possible partners".[8]

The BONUS was to be a smart anti-tank weapon with a range of over 25 km (16 mi), which releases two submunitions at an altitude of 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above the theater of operations, with terminal and precise target guidance.[9] First delivery was scheduled for 1995 at the time of the cooperation agreement[10] but ultimately, the BONUS only entered production 5 years later in 1998 and then, French and Swedish service in 2000.[11]


Schematic of the 155 BONUS round
Schematic of the 155 BONUS round

155 BONUS is a 155 mm NATO artillery round that consists of a 47-kilogram (104 lb) heavy artillery projectile containing two autonomous, sensor-fused, fire-and-forget submunitions.

After the submunition is released it opens two winglets. While descending, the submunition rotates, scanning the area below with multi-frequency infrared sensors and LiDAR[12] that compares the detected vehicles with a programmable target database. The submunitions each contain a high-penetration EFP warhead for use against even heavy armoured fighting vehicles like main battle tanks.

When fired from a 52-caliber barrel, a BONUS shell can travel up to 35 km (22 mi).[13][14]


Phase Picture Description
1 An artillery piece fires a BONUS round After setting range and target profile(s), the BONUS round is fired from a standard rifled 155mm artillery tube.
2 The round flies through the air The round flies on a parabolic arc, with a range of up to 35 kilometres (21.7 mi)
3 The ejector pulls the submunitions clear of the shell A timer fuse ignites a small ejector rocket in the nose, which drags the two submunitions out of the shell casing over the target area.
4 The submunitions fall free Once clear of the shell, the submunitions fall toward the target. The shell and the nose assembly fall away.
5 The submunitions on winglets The submunitions deploy winglets, and independently corkscrew down over the subject area with 900 rpm, scanning for targets.
6 A submunition explodes above a tank Once a submunition detects a target vehicle beneath it, it detonates its explosive payload, creating an explosively formed projectile which strikes the target vehicle's weak top armour. The high-velocity impactor penetrates the hull and kills or wounds the crew.

Operational history[edit]

The BONUS shell was first used in operations on December 3, 2018 by the French Wagram artillery detachment in Iraq, as part of French operations against the Islamic State.[15][16] Four shells destroyed a convoy of eight Islamic State vehicles.[17][18]

In the context of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, BONUS rounds were supplied by France (and potentially Sweden and Norway) to the latter. Although various analysts and web users speculated a BONUS shell had struck a Russian Pantsir-S1 system on July 5, 2022, it turned out to be a SMArt 155 strike.[19] However, in January 2023, French-produced BONUS shells were visually confirmed to be in Ukrainian service.[20][21]

Competing systems[edit]

The BONUS is similar to the German SMArt 155 system; the SMArt 155 descends on a parachute rather than a system of winglets, and uses a millimeter radar as altimeter instead of LIDAR.

The United States developed the similar M898 SADARM system (which also descended on a ballute to attack the top surfaces of armoured vehicles), but this was discontinued in favor of the GPS guided M982 Excalibur round. US artillery units also largely deploys the M712 Copperhead laser-guided round for the anti-tank role.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Janes (2 February 2022), "155 mm BONUS sensor‐fuzed munition", Janes Land Warfare Weapons: Ammunition, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 6 August 2023
  2. ^ Frost, Roger; Hewish, Mark (1986). "Defence 86 Show Report". International Defense Review. 19 (4): 495 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "2001 Finance Bill: Land Forces". 23 November 2000.
  4. ^ "French Senate Report: French defense and cluster munitions". 13 December 2006.
  5. ^ "French Parliament: Information report by the National Defense and Armed Forces Committee on the ammunition industry". 16 December 2015.
  6. ^ Frost, Roger; Hewish, Mark (1986). "Defence 86 Show Report". International Defence Review. 19 (4): 495 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Sensor-fuzed anti-tank shell". International Defense Review. 25 (5): 580. 1990 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "Avec le programme de munition " intelligente " Bonus La France et la Suède entament un processus de coopération militaire à long terme". 9 March 1993.
  9. ^ "Avec le programme de munition " intelligente " Bonus La France et la Suède entament un processus de coopération militaire à long terme". 9 March 1993.
  10. ^ "Avec le programme de munition " intelligente " Bonus La France et la Suède entament un processus de coopération militaire à long terme". 9 March 1993.
  11. ^ "2001 Finance Bill: Land Forces". 23 November 2000.
  12. ^ "155mm BONUS Anti-Armor, Top Attack Artillery" (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2022.
  13. ^ Roque, Ashley (19 October 2020). "BAE Systems proposes Archer for US Army's towed howitzer replacement competition". Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on 27 March 2021. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  14. ^ US Army mobile howitzer shoot-off participants emerge. Defense News. 17 December 2020.
  15. ^ "Artillerie : Le français Nexter va livrer des obus BONUS à l'armée finlandaise pour 35 millions d'euros". 26 February 2023.
  16. ^ "CHAMMAL : Première mise en œuvre de l'obus BONUS en opération". 18 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Irak : Les artilleurs français ont détruit une colonne de véhicules de l'État islamique avec des obus « BONUS »". 7 December 2018.
  18. ^ "CHAMMAL : Première mise en œuvre de l'obus BONUS en opération". 18 December 2018.
  19. ^ "SMArt 155 in Action: Use of High-Precision Munitions to Eliminate russians is Geting Large-Scale (Video) | Defense Express". Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  20. ^ "Ukraine unleashes 'Bonus' weapon that can destroy two tanks in a single shot". 5 January 2023.
  21. ^ Boyko Nikolov (4 January 2023). "Proven: Ukraine uses 155mm BONUS anti-tank shells with spaceship tech". Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  22. ^ a b "Fritt Militärt Forum Nr 3 2000". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Finnish defence forces" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  24. ^ Army Concerned Over Ban on Cluster Munitions, Land Mines -, 2 May 2017
  25. ^ "Bofors 155mm BONUS Munition".

External links[edit]