Tag Archives: Paladin M109A7

ERCA project

Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) recently completed the modification of two cabs for the Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) project. The ERCA is a part of an Army modernization strategy aimed at improving combat weapons and vehicles.

Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA)
Anniston Army Depot recently completed modification of two cabs for the extended range cannon artillery project. The cabs modified at ANAD will be used in final testing of the ERCA system (U.S. Army Photo by Mark Cleghorn)

According to Michael McCartney, maintenance management specialist, ANAD has been modifying cabs that will be used in the final testing for the ERCA, which is slated to be completed later this year. The project, in line with ANAD’s primary mission to support warfighters, ensures that Soldiers will have a more advanced and extensive artillery system.

«We took the M109A7 cab of the howitzer Paladin and updated it», McCartney said. «Essentially, we enlarged the area where the gun fits in order to accommodate the new, larger weapon».

ANAD’s mission to modify the equipment for the ERCA took close to 90 days per cab.

Modification involved multiple processes and several shops, including the machine shop, welding shop and paint shop. «The welding shop began the process by cutting out the cab. Then it ping-ponged between the welding and machine shop several times until the cab was ready to be blasted and painted», McCartney explained.

Precise blueprints were followed to ensure the cab met proper dimensions and specifications. Machinists also utilized a handheld coordinate measuring machine to check the dimensions of each component to verify accuracy.

«Checking these specifications is vital because each cut and weld needs to be solid in case Soldiers were to be fired upon in the field», said McCartney.

Shops were also tasked with modifying and fabricating nearly 50 subcomponents inside the cab. The components had to be reconfigured from the Paladin M109A7 cab to match the new XMR99 cab. These reconfigurations were completed by the supporting shops.

According to McCartney, ANAD’s prior experience fabricating parts and repairing paladins helped them to complete the work on the ERCA cab. «We’ve done great work on these types of vehicles in the past», McCartney said. «And when you do great work, engineers want to continue working with you».

Michael Rogers, division chief of the vehicle support division, reiterates the importance of the work. «This project not only strengthens our partnerships but it helps the Army’s mission of modernizing its fleet of combat vehicles for Soldiers», he said. «We’ve been working on the process from prototype all the way to the finished product. And our workforce has done great work».

Artillery systems

The 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s (AFSB’s) Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim received about three dozen next-generation M109A7 Paladin Artillery Systems and M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles by railhead at Coleman Barracks, March 4.

Paladin M109A7
Unloading the three dozen next-generation M109A7 Paladin Artillery Systems and M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles from the trains and moving them to the Army Prepositioned Stock-2 Coleman worksite was a joint effort between multiple teams, led by the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Army Field Support Battalion-Mannheim (Photo Credit: U.S. Army courtesy photo)

These new armored vehicles, now a part of the 405th AFSB’s Army Prepositioned Stock-2 Program at Coleman worksite, will enhance U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s readiness and capability to support the warfighter while simultaneously promoting stability and security in the region.

These enhanced self-propelled artillery systems offer key fire-support for a variety of combat missions conducted by the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams in conventional, hybrid, irregular and counterinsurgency combat environments.

Jason Todd, a logistics management specialist at Coleman worksite, AFSBn-Mannheim, said the work of unloading the new self-propelled howitzers from the trains and moving them to the APS-2 site was a joint effort between multiple teams at Coleman Barracks.

«The railhead operation successfully moved the newly acquired pieces and subsequent containers in a joint effort, smoothly and effectively», Todd said, «Project Management Self-Propelled Howitzer System personnel driving the vehicles, Amentum providing command of the railhead and support personnel for ground guiding, staging and refueling, with oversight from the AFSBn-Mannheim Coleman worksite team».

The APS-2 site at Mannheim could not support USAREUR-AF’s (U.S. Army Europe and Africa) readiness mission without the total team – more than 800 dedicated and highly-skilled maintainers, mechanics and staff personnel, said Thomas Esposito, the director of Coleman worksite, AFSBn-Mannheim.

Here at the Coleman worksite, AFSBn-Mannheim’s primary mission is the storage and maintenance of one ABCT’s (Armored Brigade Combat Team) worth of vehicles and equipment – over 500 pieces, such as M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzers, staff tracked vehicles, armored personnel carriers and more, Esposito said.

«Our regular business is the maintenance and storage and accountability, thereof», said Esposito. «We maintain this ABCT – forward – ready to issue to an active duty unit in the event of a requirement here in theater. We are also able to issue forward, as we demonstrated during DEFENDER-Europe 20».

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, USAREUR-AF. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces.

Self-propelled howitzer

The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a $249 million contract modification to complete an additional 60 Paladin M109A7 self-propelled howitzers that will bring improved artillery capabilities to the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).

BAE Systems receives order from U.S. Army for additional Paladin M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzers

«We are excited about the opportunity to continue bringing new howitzers and increased survivability to our soldiers», said Jeremy Tondreault, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems Combat Vehicles. «The M109A7 positions the Army to execute its current mission with confidence and support its future needs and requirements as long range precision fires evolve».

The award exercises options on an existing low-rate production contract and includes the completion of an additional 60 M992A3 Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT) vehicles to accompany the Paladin M109A7.

The Paladin M109A7 and the CAT vehicle sets provide increased commonality across the ABCT, and have significant built-in growth potential in terms of electrical power and weight carrying capacity. The vehicle design includes a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system, a new high voltage architecture and improved survivability, while the vehicle’s cannon remains the same as that of an M109A6 Paladin.

The Paladin M109A7 is supported by the Army as a vital technology enhancement program to maintain the combat capability of its ABCTs. It will solve long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 family of vehicles through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages the most advanced technology available today. This state-of-the-art «digital backbone» and power generation capability provides a more robust, survivable, and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers. The Paladin M109A7 is a significant upgrade over the Paladin M109A6 as it restores space, weight, and power cooling, while providing significant growth potential for emerging technologies.

The initial contract was awarded in 2017. This most recent order brings the total number of vehicle sets – Paladin M109A7 howitzers and M992A3 ammunition carriers – to 156, and the total contract value to $1.16 billion.

Work on the Paladin M109A7 will take place at several facilities within the Company’s combat vehicles manufacturing network including: Aiken, South Carolina; Elgin, Oklahoma; Sterling Heights, Michigan; and, York, Pennsylvania.