The U.S. Army awarded BAE Systems a contract option worth $245.3 million to complete the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 ammunition carrier. «The success of this program is directly attributable to the partnership between the Army and BAE Systems», said Adam Zarfoss, director of Artillery and Bradley programs at BAE Systems. «We’ve worked as a team to bring this much needed enhanced combat capability to the soldier to address immediate needs while providing a platform that can support future growth as requirements evolve».
The M109A7 program is a significant upgrade over the vehicle’s predecessor, the M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer. It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of the M109A6, but replaces the vehicle’s chassis structure with a new design that increases survivability and allows for the integration of Bradley common drive-train and suspension components. Additionally, the system leverages technologies developed under the Crusader and Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon programs such as a 600-volt on-board power generation, distribution and management system, coupled with high-voltage gun drive and projectile ramming systems.
The state-of-the-art «digital-backbone» and power generation capability provides significant growth potential for future payloads as well as accommodating existing battlefield network requirements. The upgrades ensure commonality with the existing systems in the U.S. Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Team, including the BAE Systems-built Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.
BAE Systems was awarded a one-year base contract for the M109A7 in October 2013, and the first of two option year awards to produce an additional 18 vehicle sets in October 2014. The current exercise is for the second option year to produce an additional 30 sets. One set includes an M109A7 Paladin Self Propelled Howitzer (SPH) along with its battlefield companion, the M992A3 Carrier Ammunition, Tracked. With all two options exercised, BAE Systems will deliver a total of 66 vehicle sets plus one additional SPH and associated kits, spares, and technical documentation to complete the LRIP phase. The U.S. Army has a total acquisition objective of 580 vehicle sets.
Work on the M109A7 is currently underway at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama and BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania, and Elgin, Oklahoma, facilities.
|Gross vehicle weight||80,000 lbs/36,288 kg|
|Engine||675 hp/503 kW|
|Fuel tank||143 gallons/541 liters|
|Speed||38 mph/61 km/h|
|Estimated cruising range||186 miles/300 km|
|Trench crossing||72 inches/1.8 m|
|Maximum fording depth||42 inches/1.0 m|
|Overall length||382 inches/9.7 m|
|Width||154 inches/3.9 m|
|Height||129 inches/3.3 m|
|Howitzer/gun mount||M284 cannon/M182A1 mount|
|Main generator||70 kW; 600 vdc/28 vdc|