US builds power, orders more 155 mm Paladin M109A7 howitzers

The US Department of Defense [DoD] sanctioned an amendment to a contract with BAE Systems on November 9, 2023, warranting the continual manufacture and distribution of Paladin M109A7 self-propelled howitzers, supplemented by M992A3 Carrier Ammunition Vehicles [CAVs]. 

US builds power, orders more 155 mm Paladin M109A7 howitzers
Photo credit: BAE Systems

BAE Systems, being the authentic producer of these ground vehicles, is contracted to receive $63.9 million for executing the order. The operations will be conducted at their York, Pennsylvania facility, with the target of completing deliveries to the Army Contracting Command by December 30, 2027. 

The first prototype was rolled out in May 2011, following which we witnessed the onset of full-scale production of the M109A7 version of the Paladin artillery system, along with an upgraded M992A3 CAV, delivered to the US Army as of June 2022’s end. 

Wide-ranging updates to the hull, turret, engine, and suspension distinguish the modernized M109A7, which provides superior reliability, survivability, and capability compared to its predecessor, the M109A6 artillery system. 

The M109A7 tasks a crew of four to operate it, with characteristic dimensions and weight being an overall length of 9.7m, a breadth of 3.9m, a height of 3.3m, and a maximum gross weight of 35,380kg. 

With an eye on the future, the Army has already networked for 580 sets of the Paladin vehicles which have a life expectancy extending till 2050. 

Intelligence consultancy GlobalData’s latest numbers reveal that the Army has successfully procured 231 units each of the latest M109A7 howitzer and the M992A3 CAVs so far. 

In an interesting parallel, the service continues to manage and sustain 198 M109A6 units paired with an equivalent number of M992A3 vehicles. There is a stated intention to preserve the M109A6 and the M992A2 platforms until the mid-century mark, hence upgrades to the existing fleet are in progress. 

Underlining its armament, the M109A7 artillery system sports a 155mm M284 cannon coupled with an M182A1 gun mount and an automated loader. This versatile 155mm artillery system can deliver fire at a regular rate of one round per minute, accelerated to a maximum of four rounds per minute, covering ranges of 22km with standard projectiles and extending to 30km with the aid of rocket-assisted projectiles. 

To emphasize its versatility, the artillery system provides highly effective fire support across diverse mission scenarios encountered by the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams in conventional, hybrid, irregular, and counter-insurgency combat arenas.

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