Army to buy more reconditioned and upgraded 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzer artillery pieces

WARREN, Mich. – The U.S. Army is buying upgraded and fast-moving large-caliber field artillery cannons with digital vetronics and modern power systems, as well as their companion carrier ammunition tracked armored combat vehicles under terms of nearly-quarter-billion-dollar contract announced Friday.

Army to buy more reconditioned and upgraded 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzer artillery pieces
Army to buy more reconditioned and upgraded 155-millimeter self-propelled howitzer artillery pieces
WARREN, Mich. – The U.S. Army is buying upgraded and fast-moving large-caliber field artillery cannons with digital vetronics and modern power systems, as well as their companion carrier ammunition tracked armored combat vehicles under terms of nearly-quarter-billion-dollar contract announced Friday.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command-Tank and Automotive in Warren, Mich., announced a $215.8 million order to the BAE Systems Platforms & Services segment in York, Pa., for additional M109A7 self-propelled howitzer pieces and M992A3 carrier, ammunition, tracked vehicles.

The M109A7 is the newest M109 version for U.S. military service. Formerly known as the M109A6 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) version, the M109A7 uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6 self-propelled artillery system, and replaces the vehicle’s chassis components with modem components common to the M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The goal of these upgrades is to enable the M109A7 155-millimeter artillery to keep pace with the Army's fast-moving armored brigade combat team (ABCT) alongside the M1 Abrams main battle tank and the M2 Bradley armored personnel carrier.

Related: Near-peer conflict bringing back heavy armored combat vehicles, and with it more vetronics upgrades

The M109A7 program enhances the reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, and lethality of the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle’s (FAASV).

The M109A7 is the primary indirect fire support system for the armored brigade combat teams. Its improved chassis provides greater survivability and commonality with existing ABCT armored combat vehicles. The program seeks to reduce maintenance costs by replacing obsolete components.

The M109A7 capitalized on today's most advanced technology, including a state-of-the-art digital backbone and power generation capability, BAE Systems officials say. The M109A7 can fire high-explosive shells or parachute-equipped battlefield illumination flares.

Legacy M109 howitzers first are shipped to the Anniston Army Depot, Ala., where they are disassembled to provide cab structures, overhauled gun and cannon assemblies, and other vehicle components, and re-shipped to BAE Systems combat vehicle factory in York, Pa., for final assembly.

Related: Army to buy 30 reconditioned and upgraded 155-millimeter self-propelled artillery pieces

The M109A7's on-board power systems harness technologies originally developed for the cancelled Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon. It has an electric drive that is faster than the previous hydraulic system, and has an automatic rammer for consistent velocities and accuracy.

The newest version of the M109 self-propelled cannon has a 600-volt power system to accommodate additional armor and future networking technologies. The gun can sustain a one round per-minute rate of fire and a maximum rate of fire of four rounds per-minute.

The first M109A7 low-rate production deliveries began in April 2015. Ultimately Army leaders want to buy 133 of the self-propelled cannons.

On this order BAE Systems will do the work in York, Pa., and should be finished by January 2021. For more information contact BAE Systems Platforms & Services online at www.baesystems.com, or the Army Contracting Command-Tank and Automotive at www.tacom.army.mil.

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