Category Archives: Ground Forces

128 Leopard 2PL

According to Remigiusz Wilk, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent in Warsaw, Poland has signed a PLN2.415 billion ($605.7 million) contract to upgrade its 128 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to a new standard called Leopard 2PL. The contract was awarded to prime contractor Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and integrator ZM Bumar-Labedy by the Polish Armament Inspectorate on 28 December, 2015. Rheinmetall Landsyteme will work with PGZ as strategic partner on the programme.

Concept image of the Leopard 2PL MBT (Leopard 2A5 variant) upgrade package for the Polish Land Forces' Leopard 2A4 MBTs (Source: ZM Bumar-Labedy)
Concept image of the Leopard 2PL MBT (Leopard 2A5 variant) upgrade package for the Polish Land Forces’ Leopard 2A4 MBTs (Source: ZM Bumar-Labedy)

Poland bought 128 Leopard 2A4s from ex-Germany Army stocks in January 2002. They are currently operated by the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, based in Swietoszow. All 128 2A4s will be upgraded by 2020, while the option exists for the upgrade of an extra 14 Leopard 2A4s that were purchased by Poland in 2013 to equip the 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, in Zagan.

The contract includes upgrades to the MBTs’ turret, chassis, and other equipment to F6 level (with co-operation from subcontractor WZM Poznan), and the modernisation of Poland’s tank training simulators.

The upgrade will include a modernisation of the MBTs’ turret armour to a level at least that of the Leopard 2A5 variant, while not exceeding a total weight of 60 tons for the Leopard 2PL. This will include a partial change of the MBT’s turret armour plates, and the addition of extra armour developed by the German company IBD. Spall liners will also be added in the crew compartment of the turret, while internal storage and stowage capabilities will be extended.

The upgrade will see the tanks retain their existing L44 120-mm gun (rather than be upgraded with the longer L55 gun), although it and its fire control system will be upgraded for compatibility with the newest DM11 and DM63-type armour-piercing ammunition. A more substantial upgrade will come in the form of new commander and gunner sights incorporating the Polish PCO KLW-1 thermal imager, while the gun and turret stabiliser systems will be changed from hydraulic to electric.

12 more HIMARSs

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $142,750,920 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract for 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) with increased crew protection cabs incorporating sapphire transparent armor glass, associated training, spares, software, modernization updates, and planned enhancements and product improvement modifications for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Procurement also includes synergistic spares purchase for Jordon. Work will be performed in Camden, Arkansas (63.80 percent); and Dallas, Texas (36.20 percent), with an estimated completion date of December 30, 2017.

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is the newest member of the MLRS launcher family
High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is the newest member of the MLRS launcher family

According to Jeremy Binnie, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent in London, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced in 2006 that the UAE had requested the sale of 20 HIMARSs with 202 ATACMS pods, 260 GMLRS pods, and 104 M26 pods. The U.S. Army confirmed in October 2013 that the HIMARS systems had been delivered when it released photographs of them being operated by the UAE’s 97th Heavy Artillery Regiment during a training exercise. The DSCA announced in September 2014 that the UAE had requested a second batch of 12 HIMARSs with 100 ATACMS pods and 65 GMLRS pods. The Department of Defense (DoD) announced in May 2015 that Lockheed Martin had been awarded a $174 million contract to produce an unspecified number of ATACMS missiles for the UAE.

 

HIMARS

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is a wheeled launcher that delivers a lethal mix of precision munitions on the U.S. Army’s FMTV 5-ton truck. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of MLRS rockets or one ATACMS missile. HIMARS is designed to launch the entire MLRS family of munitions, including the transformational GMLRS and all ATACMS variants. HIMARS became a joint system when the U.S. Marine Corps joined the program in 2000. Approval to enter production was received in March 2003. HIMARS is currently in full-rate production.

The combat-proven HIMARS is C-130 transportable, allowing MLRS firepower to be moved rapidly into areas previously inaccessible
The combat-proven HIMARS is C-130 transportable, allowing MLRS firepower to be moved rapidly into areas previously inaccessible

Under contract to the U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 400 HIMARS launchers to the Army, Marine Corps and international customers. In May 2005, the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery became the first unit equipped with HIMARS. Since then the U.S. Army has fielded eleven additional battalions, in both active and National Guard units. The U.S. Army plans to field an additional six battalions. Additionally, the Marines have fielded more than 38 launchers. HIMARS has expanded its global presence and has begun to serve the international market, including such countries as Jordan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

HIMARS rolls off a C-130 combat loaded and delivers GMLRS and ATACMS munitions with pinpoint accuracy. The combat-proven HIMARS provides increased responsiveness, increased crew protection and increased effectiveness against time-critical targets, and supports conventional and Special Forces operations around the globe.

The HIMARS launcher fires MLRS rockets and ATACMS missiles
The HIMARS launcher fires MLRS rockets and ATACMS missiles

Assault Amphibious

BAE Systems has been awarded an $82 million contract to modernize and deliver 23 upgraded Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV7A1) for the Brazilian Marine Corps. The vehicles, which will be the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability/Rebuild to Standard (RAM/RS) variant, will significantly enhance the current capabilities of the Brazilian Marine Corps.

At sea, a 400 hp turbocharged diesel V-8 engine with propulsion enabled by two 14,000 gpm water jet pumps provides AAV7A1 vehicles with a cruising speed of 7 knots and the ability to negotiate 10-foot plunging surfs heading either seaward or to shore
At sea, a 400 hp turbocharged diesel V-8 engine with propulsion enabled by two 14,000 gpm water jet pumps provides AAV7A1 vehicles with a cruising speed of 7 knots and the ability to negotiate 10-foot plunging surfs heading either seaward or to shore

«These new vehicles will have major capability enhancements, which will give the Brazilian military an amphibious vehicle with improved speed and reliability beyond the current configuration», said Deepak Bazaz, director of new and amphibious vehicles at BAE Systems. «We have a strong track record of supporting the Brazilian military and will continue that close working relationship throughout this program».

Under the terms of the contract, BAE Systems will provide 23 AAV7A1 RAM/RS vehicles and supply all tools and test equipment to support vehicle maintenance. The company will also provide an initial sustainment capability to the Brazilian Marine Corps to include spare parts and field service support, as well as training for the vehicle users.

The AAV7A1 RAM/RS variant provides a more powerful engine and drive train, as well as an upgraded suspension system, allowing the vehicles to meet or exceed original AAV7A1 performance requirements. The RAM/RS variant also provides improved mobility and repair capabilities while transporting troops and cargo from ships.

Work on the contract will take place at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania facility. Production is anticipated to start in June with vehicle deliveries beginning in February 2017. Final delivery to Brazil is expected to take place by the end of 2017, when the training and support for these vehicles will begin.

«BAE Systems has served the Brazilian military for more than 15 years and is also working on other vehicle enhancement programs here, such as the Brazilian Army’s upgrade of its M113B vehicles to the M113A2 Mk1 configuration», said Marco Caffe, the company’s general manager for Brazil. «In the fall of 2015, we completed our 150th M113 upgrade».

On land, the proven torsion bar suspension and BAE Systems signature «Big Foot» track makes for outstanding mobility on all terrains at a top speed of 45 mph
On land, the proven torsion bar suspension and BAE Systems signature «Big Foot» track makes for outstanding mobility on all terrains at a top speed of 45 mph

 

Specifications

Crew Three plus 21 combat troops
Engine 400 hp/298 kW
Armament .50 cal/12.7-mm M2HB/40-mm MG (Mk-19)
Cruising speed
Land 20-30 mph/32-48 km/h
maximum 45 mph/72 km/h
Water 8 mph/13 km/h
Cruising range
Land 200+ miles/321 km
Water 7+ hours
Slope (longitudinal) 60%
Side slope 40%
Trench crossing 96 inch/2.4 m
Vertical wall crossing 36 inch/0.9 m
Surf 120 inch/3.0 m
Overall length 321 inch/8.1 m
Width
With armor 144 inch/3.6 m
Without armor 129 inch/3.2 m
Height 130 inch/3.3 m

 

Intercept Tests

The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully completed a series of tests of the David’s Sling Weapon System. This test series, designated David’s Sling Test-4 (DST-4), was the fourth series of tests of the David’s Sling Weapon System and the final milestone before declaring delivery of an operational system to the Israeli Air Force in 2016. The test series was conducted at a test range in southern Israel.

A David Sling system launches a Stunner missile in an image released by the Israeli MoD when it announced that the system had successfully completed a series of live-fire tests
A David Sling system launches a Stunner missile in an image released by the Israeli MoD when it announced that the system had successfully completed a series of live-fire tests

The tests examined capabilities and performance of the entire David’s Sling Weapon System. The series included intercepts of multiple threat representative targets by Stunner interceptor missiles in realistic, real-time engagements. During each test, the Multi-Mission Radar (MMR) detected the target after launch and transferred flight information to the Battle Management Center (BMC), which calculated the defense plan. The Stunner interceptor was successfully launched, performed all flight phases, and engaged the target as planned. Preliminary analysis indicates that test objectives were successfully achieved.

Information collected during the test series is being analyzed by program engineers and will be used for ongoing development and fielding of the David’s Sling Weapon System. This test series provides confidence in future Israeli capabilities to defend against large caliber rockets and other developing threats.

The David’s Sling Weapon System is a central part of Israel’s multi-layer defense array. The other layers of defense are: Iron Dome (operational), the Arrow-2 (operational) and Arrow-3 (under development).

The prime contractor for David’s Sling Weapon System is Rafael, with Raytheon Missile Systems as a sub-contractor. The MMR is developed by Elta, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. The BMC, known as the Golden Almond, is developed by Elisra, an Elbit subsidiary.

The mass production of the system’s Stunner interceptor missiles has already begun and the production of additional radars and fire control stations will begin next year

Oshkosh resumes JLTV

The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has directed Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, to resume work on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) production contract. The JLTV program fills a critical capability gap for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by replacing a large portion of the legacy High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet with a light vehicle that provides unprecedented protection, off-road mobility and transportability.

Oshkosh Corporation resumes work on Joint Light Tactical Vehicle production contract
Oshkosh Corporation resumes work on Joint Light Tactical Vehicle production contract

«We are pleased that the JLTV production contract, awarded to Oshkosh in August, is now moving forward to deliver the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle», said U.S. Army Major General (Retired) John M. Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corporation and president of Oshkosh Defense. «Our JLTV is designed to safely transport Soldiers and Marines as they perform their missions ‘outside the wire’ – providing unprecedented off-road speed and mobility on future battlefields that could be virtually anywhere in the world».

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) dismissed Lockheed Martin’s protest earlier today based on Lockheed’s notice that it intends to file a protest in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Army lifted the stop work order and instructed Oshkosh to resume performance of the JLTV contract.  According to the JLTV production contract, Oshkosh will begin delivering vehicles within the next 10 months, reaching an expected total volume of nearly 17,000 vehicles, as well as kits and sustainment services over an eight-year period.

«The Army conducted a thorough, methodical procurement including exhaustive testing and evaluation to ensure our troops get the best vehicle», said Urias. «The Oshkosh team and our employees will immediately resume work to deliver JLTVs to our Soldiers and Marines. The JLTV program fills a critical gap in the U.S. military’s current tactical vehicle line-up», said Urias. «The Oshkosh JLTV will give our troops new levels of payload, performance and protection in a platform that was engineered to evolve as new technologies emerge and our adversaries’ tactics change».

In designing its JLTV, Oshkosh leveraged its extensive experience producing and sustaining more than 150,000 heavy, medium and protected Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for the U.S. and its allies. The JLTV Family of Vehicles is comprised of two seat and four seat variants, as well as a companion Trailer (JLTV-T). The two-seat variant has one base vehicle platform, the Utility (JLTV-UTL). The four-seat variant has two base vehicle platforms, the General Purpose (JLTV-GP) and the Close Combat Weapons Carrier (JLTV-CCWC).

Adaptable suspension can be raised and lowered to meet transportability requirements using interior controls
Adaptable suspension can be raised and lowered to meet transportability requirements using interior controls

Lithuanian Boxer

According to Agence France Presse, Lithuania said on December 11 it would buy 88 German-made armoured fighting vehicles in its biggest-ever military purchase amid concerns over neighbouring Russia. «We have come to the unequivocal opinion to choose and acquire the Boxer Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV)», said Lithuania’s defence chief Jonas Vytautas Zukas.

Lithuania has decided to order the Boxer heavy wheeled vehicle, in a combat version fitted with a 30-mm turret (Artec GmbH photo)
Lithuania has decided to order the Boxer heavy wheeled vehicle, in a combat version fitted with a 30-mm turret (Artec GmbH photo)

Speaking after a meeting of the State Defence Council, he said the Baltic EU and NATO nation had picked the German-made vehicles out of 12 bids. The first vehicles made by the Artec grouping of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles are expected to arrive in 2017.

Jonas Vytautas Zukas said the price would be disclosed only after the talks with Artec are over, but a government source said the deal could be worth around 400 million euros ($438 million). In its state budget for 2016 approved on Thursday, Lithuania has vowed to raise defence spending by more than a third against this year amid increased concerns over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and military activity in the Baltic area.

In September, Lithuania signed a 16-million-euro deal to buy 21 used self-propelled howitzers from Germany. The United States has meanwhile deployed some military equipment in Lithuania, including its Abrams battle tanks.

The three Baltic States and Poland have also called for a permanent NATO presence in the region to deter Russia but the allies have so far stuck to back-to-back troop rotations.

In addition to the outstanding surveillance system, the Boxer is equipped with the remote-controlled light weapon station 200 (FLW 200)
In addition to the outstanding surveillance system, the Boxer is equipped with the remote-controlled light weapon station 200 (FLW 200)

 

TECHNICAL DATA

Combat Weight Maximum 77,162 lbs/35,000 kg
Crew 3
Engine Power 711 hp/530 kW
Maximum Speed > 62 mph/100 km/h
Length 27.33 feet/8.33 m
Width 9.81 feet/2.99 m
Height (roof) > 9.65 feet/2.94 m
Basic protection All around anti-tank mines and anti-personnel landmines, heavy machine gun and artillery fragments
Additional protection Medium caliber, bomblets
Armament 30-mm gun

 

Anti-tank missile

The Fire Support Group of Yankee Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines have let rip with the next-generation light anti tank weapon. The Arbroath-based green berets missed out on the chance for live firing back in the spring because they were deployed with HMS Bulwark rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.

A Royal Marine fires an NLAW during an exercise. Together with the heavier Javelin missile, NLAW is the Royal Marines’ primary anti-tank weapon (RN photo)
A Royal Marine fires an NLAW during an exercise. Together with the heavier Javelin missile, NLAW is the Royal Marines’ primary anti-tank weapon (RN photo)

Six months later and their chance came at Otterburn ranges, outside Newcastle, and a week of non-stop firepower, beginning with machine-guns and ending with some tankbusting. However, as impressive as two gun lines of machine-guns hammering away are, the party piece of Exercise Black Storm was some live missile firing – three NLAWs, one Javelin.

Javelin can knock out enemy armour at four times the distance (about 2,500 metres or 1½ miles) of the smaller NLAW (Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) anti-tank missile.

Marine Danny Dugan was selected to fire the ‘Jav’ in front of a large crowd of soldiers and marines: «There was a gasp of shock when the missile left the launcher and started curving off to the left – only for a sigh of relief to hit as the missile curled back towards the target after taking a dogleg».

«There was a gasp of shock when the missile left the launcher and started curving off to the left – only for a sigh of relief to hit as the missile curled back towards the target after taking a dogleg,” said Marine Kev MacNeish. «Everyone was buzzing».

The lighter NLAWs are only effective at tanks closer than 600 metres – under 2,000 feet – and can be fired directly into the target, or can climb and plunge into the turret from above, known as ‘top attack’.

Marine MacNeish added: «All the fire support group had been looking forward to getting some valuable trigger time. This was a hoofing week and everyone left with high morale».

 

Counter Battery Radar

In response to a request from Ukraine, and as part of our ongoing efforts to bolster Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations, on November 14, 2015 the United States delivered two AN/TPQ-36 radar systems to Ukraine at a ceremony in Lviv.

The compact, mobile, combat proven AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder weapon locating radar accurately, rapidly and automatically locates medium-range enemy mortars, artillery and rocket launchers. It can handle simultaneous fire from weapons at multiple locations, detecting and reporting their positions on the first round
The compact, mobile, combat proven AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder weapon locating radar accurately, rapidly and automatically locates medium-range enemy mortars, artillery and rocket launchers. It can handle simultaneous fire from weapons at multiple locations, detecting and reporting their positions on the first round

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had the opportunity to review the equipment, and was briefed by U.S. military personnel on its capabilities. The radar systems delivered on November 14 will help defend Ukrainian military personnel and civilians against rocket and artillery attacks, which have historically been the most lethal threat to Ukrainian personnel and civilians.

The equipment was delivered on a rapid timeline – less than two months after President Obama delegated to the Secretary of State the authority to draw down up to $20 million in defense articles and services and up to $1.5 million in non-lethal commodities and services to provide these systems to Ukraine.

The provision of these systems brings our total security assistance committed to Ukraine in response to the crisis to more than $265 million since 2014.

 

AN/TPQ-36(V)10 Firefinder Weapon Locating System

The AN/TPQ-36 directs accurate counterfire to neutralize enemy positions.

During an official ceremony on Lviv airport attended by ranking government officials, the U.S. government formally delivered two AN/TPQ-36 counter-battery radars to Ukraine, transported to destination by a U.S/ Air Force C-17 airlifter (U.S. State Department photo)
During an official ceremony on Lviv airport attended by ranking government officials, the U.S. government formally delivered two AN/TPQ-36 counter-battery radars to Ukraine, transported to destination by a U.S/ Air Force C-17 airlifter (U.S. State Department photo)

 

Medium-Range Surveillance

ThalesRaytheonSystems’ compact, mobile, combat proven AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar accurately, rapidly and automatically locates medium-range enemy mortars, artillery, and rocket launchers. It can handle simultaneous fire from weapons at multiple locations, detecting and reporting their positions on the first round. The AN/TPQ-36 can detect and report the positions of up to 10 different weapons in seconds, at a maximum range of 15 miles/24 km. The system also corrects and improves delivery of friendly fire.

 

Highly Mobile

Compact and highly mobile, the AN/TPQ-36 supports rapid deployment of forces and close combat. It can be positioned and ready for operation in 15 minutes. It can be readied for movement in 5 minutes by a five-man crew. Because it can move quickly from one position to another, it is typically located close to the forward battle line in direct support of brigade operations. The AN/TPQ-36 comprises an antenna-transceiver trailer, a generator, and an operation control shelter that contains the paper map display and communications suite.

The prime movers for the system consists of three HMMWVs (Recon/Cargo Vehicle, Shelter Vehicle with Q-36 in tow, Generator Vehicle with spare generator in tow). The manned operation control shelter can be located as far as 164 feet/50 m away from the unmanned antenna trailer. The system is capable of being operated remotely 328 feet/100 m from the shelter.

 

Defeats Enemy Firepower, Supports Friendly Weapons

The AN/TPQ-36 stationary antenna sweeps a rapid sequence of beams along the horizon, forming an electronic radar curtain over 90 degree area. Any target penetrating the curtain triggers an immediate verification beam. On verification, an automatic tracking sequence begins. While tracking any single target, the radar continues scanning, locating, and tracking others.

 

Training and Maintenance

With high system reliability and maintainability simplified by computer-controlled, built-in test equipment, ThalesRaytheonSystems’ AN/TPQ-36 provides unusually high system availability. Improved On-line fault detection and off-line fault diagnostics alert the operator to system faults, directing repair action to the unit that must be replaced. Ninety percent of all repairs required in the field can be performed by the crew, with a mean-time-to-repair of only 30 minutes. The cost effectiveness of the AN/TPQ-36 is enhanced by its 90 degree – 360 degree sector, small crew, ease of operation, and high availability.

 

State of the Art Radar Processor

The AN/TPQ-36 has been upgraded with a full radar compliance radar processor. The radar processor is common between the AN/TPQ-36 and AN/TPQ-37 Radars. The new processor reduces the number of circuit cards from 9 to 3. Customers benefit tremendously from the significant reduction in cost per unit and unlimited future growth potential. The open LAN based design accommodates future changes.

United States Delivers Two Q-36 Counter Battery Radar Systems to Ukraine
United States Delivers Two Q-36 Counter Battery Radar Systems to Ukraine

 

Specifications

Maximum range 15 miles/24 km
Effective range Mortar: 11 miles/18 km
Artillery: 9 miles/14.5 km
Rockets: 15 miles/24 km
Azimuth sector 90°
Frequency X-band, 32 frequencies
Prime power 115/200 VAC, 400 Hz, 3-phase, 8 kW
Peak transmitted power 23 kW, min

 

Finnish GMLRS

The Finnish Defence Forces is currently preparing the procurement of GMLRS AW and the GMLRS UNITARY munitions. The invitation to tender concerning the procurement is currently under consideration in the United States Congress.

The Integration software of the upgraded M20B1 UK launcher fires its first GMLRS rocket at the White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico. GMLRS and M270B1 are now deployed in theater in support of UK ground forces and complement their US counterparts (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
The Integration software of the upgraded M20B1 UK launcher fires its first GMLRS rocket at the White Sand Missile Range in New Mexico. GMLRS and M270B1 are now deployed in theater in support of UK ground forces and complement their US counterparts (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

Procurement of the new guided munitions will make the use of the rocket launch system procured in 2006 more efficient and diversify the range of munitions available for the multiple launch rocket systems. The use of guided munitions is possible due to the reform of the fire control of rocket launcher systems drawn up in 2012-15.

When exploding the GMLRS AW spreads fragments above the target. The effect of the GMLRS UNITARY on the other hand is based on its explosive and pressure impact. The range of both the munitions is approximately 70 kilometres.

The procurement decision for the munitions will be made by Finland’s Ministry of Defence following the contract negotiations. The product is in accordance with the international Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket diagram (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket diagram (Photo by Lockheed Martin)

 

Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket

The MLRS Family of Munitions includes three rockets and four missiles with an additional six variants in development. This MFOM meets the complete Army requirement for tactical and operational support.

Guided Unitary MLRS:

  • A pre-planned product improvement to GMLRS;
  • Integrates approximately 200 pound Unitary Warhead into the GMLRS;
  • Enhanced anti-jam and accuracy processor;
  • Low cost/risk program to greatly reduce collateral damage;
  • One round, one kill capability.

 

LRIP of the Paladin

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 is considered to be the most cost-effective method to significantly improve sustainability and survivability, while reducing the logistics burden on the ABCT and supporting fires brigades
The M109A7 is considered to be the most cost-effective method to significantly improve sustainability and survivability, while reducing the logistics burden on the ABCT and supporting fires brigades

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.

Extended range: 30 km/18.6 miles with High Explosive – Rocket Assisted Projectile (HE RAP) and M203 propellant
Extended range: 30 km/18.6 miles with High Explosive – Rocket Assisted Projectile (HE RAP) and M203 propellant

 

Specifications

Gross vehicle weight 80,000 lbs/36,288 kg
Crew 4
Engine 675 hp/503 kW
Fuel tank 143 gallons/541 liters
Speed 38 mph/61 km/h
Estimated cruising range 186 miles/300 km
Slope 60%
Side slope 40%
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
Reserve power >50%
Sustained rate of fire: 1 round/minute (dependent on thermal warning devices)
Sustained rate of fire: 1 round/minute (dependent on thermal warning devices)