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Prototype 155 mm self-propelled howitzer

XM1299 howitzer

The new XM1299 outclasses all current US Army's howitzers

Country of origin United States
Entered service ?
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 40 t
Length (gun forward) ~ 11 m
Hull length ~ 6.8 m
Width ~ 3.9 m
Height ~ 3.7 m
Main gun 155 mm
Barrel length 58 calibers
Machine guns 1 x 12.7 mm
Projectile weight ?
Maximum firing range ~ 50 km (conventional), over 70 km (extended-range)
Maximum rate of fire 10 rpm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun ~ 39 rounds
Machine guns ~ 500 rounds
Engine diesel
Engine power ~ 600 hp
Maximum road speed ~ 60 km/h
Range ~ 320 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.5 m
Trench ~ 1.8 m
Fording ~ 1 m


   During the recent years countries like China and Russia developed indigenous long-range howitzers that out-range and outperform the current US M109A6 and M109A7 systems. With the cancellation of US XM2001 Crusader program in 2002 the US Army ended up without a cutting-edge artillery system and instead relies on upgraded versions of the ageing M109 155 mm howitzer, which entered service back in 1963. To address this development of a new long-range self-propelled howitzer was launched in the United Stated under the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program, which called for development of new howitzer alongside with new extended-range ammunition. BAE Systems received a contract to develop the howitzer. The new howitzer was sometimes unofficially referred as M109A8. In 2019 this new howitzer was officially redesignated as the XM1299. Currently the XM1299 outclasses all other US Army's howitzers in terms of range, rate of fire, area coverage, lethality, survivability and other factors. This new howitzer could be fielded within the next few years. Low-rate initial production could begin in around 2022. Once in service it will receive a regular M1299 designation.

   The XM1299 is based on a new US M109A7 self-propelled howitzer that is produced since 2018. However the XM1299 can be seen as a completely new system rather than upgraded version of the M109A7. It has a new turret, new chassis, new gun, new automatic ammunition handling system, as well as many other new systems. The XM1299 has a similar weight as the M109A7.

   The XM1299 uses an new XM907 155 mm/L58 cannon. This 58-caliber cannon is significantly longer than 39-caliber cannon of the M109A7. It increased range from 30-40 km on the M109A7 to a around 50 km with standard projectiles and over 70 km with new XM1113 rocket-assisted projectiles. Such range has already been demonstrated by various self-propelled howitzers. A South African G6-52 has a maximum range of 67 km with special rocket-assisted projectiles. This South African system was introduced back in 2003. Most likely that a cancelled US XM2001 Crusader was also capable of 50-70 km range. Another modern self-propelled howitzer which can reach 70 km is a Russian 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV. China even claims that their recent PLZ-52 howitzer has a maximum firing range of 100 km, though these claims were never backed up by any evidence.

   To achieve its 70+ km range the XM1299 uses new-generation XM1113 rocket-assisted projectiles. During a demonstration this projectile reached 72 km. Furthermore these projectiles were designed to be compatible with existing M1156 precision-guided kit that has a GPS guidance. The M1156 fuse is simply screwed on conventional 155 mm projectiles and turns them into semi-guided ones. The XM1113 is slated to replace the US Army's current M549A1 rounds produced in the 1970s and 1980s that have a range or around 30 km. The XM1113 can be also fired from current M777A2 lightweight field howitzers.

   Another XM1115 guided projectile is being developed for the XM1299. It was specially designed for use in a GPS denied environment. Furthermore an XM1155 is a new guided projectile which is being designed to reach a range of 100-120 km and even more. The XM1155 has tail rocket motors and large tail control surfaces and resembles a rocket rather than a standard artillery projectile. This projectile is being propelled to a high altitude where the drag is low and glides on its target.

   The XM1299 howitzer has a fully-automatic ammunition loading system. It loads both projectiles and charges. This automatic loading system increased the rate of fire from 4 rpm on the M109A7 to 10 rpm. This provides a dramatic improvement in volume of fire.

    This howitzer is capable of multiple-round simultaneous impact firing. It can launch up to around 8 projectiles that land on a target simultaneously. This creates a powerful surprise effect on the enemy. Furthermore in such way a single XM1299 for a short period of time has similar fire effect on the enemy as 2 or 3 M109A7 howitzers.

    The XM1299 prototype had provision for a roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. Production version will be equipped with a remotely-controlled weapon station, armed with the same 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.

   The new howitzer is operated by a crew of 4, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

   The XM1299 uses a chassis of the M109A6 Paladin. Most likely that in its production form this howitzer will use a similar chassis to that of the M109A7, that was recently developed. It shares engine, transmission, tracks and some other components with M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. Such commonality allows to reduce production, operating and maintenance costs. This new chassis is powered by a Cummins diesel engine, developing 600 hp.

    Armor of this self-propelled howitzer provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire extinguishing systems.

    The new US self-propelled howitzer will be escorted by an associated ammunition resupply vehicle. It will carry ammunition under armor and reload the howitzer.



XM1299 howitzer

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XM1299 howitzer

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XM1299 howitzer

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XM1299 howitzer

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