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M109A7

155 mm self-propelled howitzer

M109A7

The M109A7 155 mm self-propelled howitzer is the new artillery system for the US Army

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service Expected in 2017
Crew 4 ~ 5
Dimensions and weight
Weight 35.38 t
Length (gun forward) 9.7 m
Hull length ~ 6.8 m
Width 3.9 m
Height 3.7 m
Armament
Main gun 155 mm
Barrel length 39 calibers
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm
Projectile weight 43.5 kg
Maximum firing range 24 - 30 km
Maximum rate of fire 4 rpm
Elevation range - 3 to + 75 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun ~ 39 rounds
Machine guns ~ 500 rounds
Mobility
Engine Cummins diesel
Engine power 600 hp
Maximum road speed 61 km/h
Range ~ 322 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.5 m
Trench 1.8 m
Fording 1 m

 

   The M109A7 is a new artillery system for the US Army. It is an upgraded version of the M109A6 Paladin. Formerly this systems was known as M109A6 PIM or Paladin Integrated Management. First prototype was revealed in 2007. Unofficially the M109A7 is still being referred as the Paladin. Prototypes of the M109A7 underwent government testing and in 2013 this artillery system was approved for low-rate initial production. A contract was issued to BAE Systems to upgrade first M109A6 systems to the M109A7 standard. The US Army plans to obtain a fleet of 580 M109A7 howitzers and the same number of associated armored ammunition support vehicles. Deliveries to the US Army were scheduled for 2015. A full-rate production is planned to begin in 2017.

   The new M109A7 SPH uses some technologies, originally developed for the cancelled XM2001 Crusader and XM1203 NLOS-C self-propelled howitzers.

   This artillery system retains the same 155 mm/ L39 howitzer of the Paladin. However now it is fitted with a new automated loader. It can sustain a one round per minute rate of fire. It is a great improvement over the previous M109A6 Paladin. Maximum rate of fire is four rounds per minute. Maximum range of fire is 24 km with standard projectiles and 30 km with rocket-assisted projectiles. The M109A7 can also fire M982 Excalibur extended-range precision guided projectiles. The Excalibur has a maximum range of 40 km.

   Upgraded artillery system is fitted with an automatic fire control system with an integrated navigation and inertial positioning system. It is also fitted with a muzzle reference system.

   The M109A7 has a brief reaction and redeployment time. This feature allows to avoid counter-battery fire and gives shoot-and-scoot capability. This system can stop and fire its first round within 60 seconds from travelling.

   Armor of this self-propelled howitzer provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle can be fitted with add-on armor kit, as well as underbelly armor kit for a higher level of protection. Turret is fitted with Kevlar anti-spall lining. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire extinguishing systems.

   Early prototypes had a roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine in a shielded position. However newer versions are fitted with remotely-controlled weapon stations. Alternatively this self-propelled howitzer can be replaced by a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher

   Vehicle is fitted with a brand new chassis. The M109A7 shares engine, transmission, tracks and some other components with the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. Such commonality allows to reduce production, operating and maintenance costs.

   Each M109A7 self-propelled howitzer is escorted by associated M992A3 ammunition carrier. The M992A3 is officially referred as Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked, or CAT. It carries ammunition under armor and reloads the howitzer. This vehicle transfers ammunition to the self-propelled howitzer via conveyer. Reloading does not require for crew members to step outside the vehicle. Usually it takes place away from firing position in order to avoid counter-battery fire. First M992A2 vehicles will be disassembled and reassembled to M992A3 standard.

 

Video of the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer

 
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