Paladin M109A6 155mm Artillery System, United States of America
The Paladin M109A6 artillery system.
Paladin M109A6 is a cannon artillery system developed by the Ground System Division of United Defense LP (now BAE Systems Land and Armaments) and manufactured at the Paladin Production Operation centre at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Paladin was first fielded in 1994 and is operational with the United States Army and the Israeli Army, and has been selected by the Kuwait and Taiwan.
In June 1999, the US Army received the last of 950 Paladin M109A6 ordered. Seven systems were ordered in July 2000 for the US Army National Guard and a further 18 systems in January 2002.
Paladin artillery system operation
The Paladin artillery system is operated by a crew of four, a commander, driver, gunner and loader. Paladin is able to operate independently with no external technical assistance. The crew are able to receive mission data via a secure voice and digital communications system, compute the firing data, automatically unlock the cannon from the travel lock, point the cannon and fire, and move to a new location without external technical assistance. Paladin M109A6 fires the first round from the move in under 60 seconds. The 'shoot and scoot' capability protects the crew from counterbattery fire.
Paladin was used in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March / April 2003 and in the continuing operations in Iraq, including Operation Al Fajr in Fallujah in November 2004.
BAE Systems Land and Armaments supplied 219 modification kits for US Army Paladins which enable the use of the modular artillery charge system (MACS) and the 155mm precision-guided extended-range XM92 Excalibur projectile being developed by Raytheon and Bofors Defense of Sweden (a BAE Systems subsidiary). Deliveries began in 2005.
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Paladin artillery system upgrade
The US Army and BAE Systems have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a partnership to upgrade the Paladin, the Paladin integrated management (PIM) programme.
The upgrade will retain the main armament and cab structure but replace the chassis. The engine and transmission will be replaced with a Cummins 600hp diesel engine and L3 HMPT-500 automatic transmission, also fitted on the Bradley fighting vehicle.
It will have a new automated loader, electric gun drive (in common with the future combat systems non-line-of-sight cannon, NLOS-C)and air-conditioning powered by BAE Systems common modular power system (CMPS). The PIM prototype was unveiled in October 2007.
BAE Systems was awarded the design and development contract for the Paladin PIM in May 2008.
The 39-calibre 155mm M284 cannon, which is fitted with an M182 gun mount, has a range of 24km using unassisted rounds or 30km using assisted rounds. The projectile loading can be carried out using the full-stroke hydraulic system, or a semi-automatic loading system is optional.
Paladin M109A6 achieves a maximum firing rate of up to eight rounds a minute or three rounds in 15 seconds, and a sustained firing rate of one round every three minutes. The gun is operated with an automatic fire control system with ballistic computer, fitted with an optical backup.
The vehicle's inertial positioning and navigation system is integrated with the automatic fire control system.
A 12.7mm M2 machine gun is mounted on the right hand side of the turret.
US Army Paladins are being fitted with the Modular Artillery Charge Systems (MACS) to fire the Raytheon / Bofors XM982 Excalibur GPS / inertial navigation-guided extended-range 155mm projectiles. Excalibur has a maximum range of 40km and accuracy of better than 10m. First production rounds of Excalibur were delivered in September 2006.
Excalibur successfully completed limited user test in March 2007. It was first fielded in Iraq in May 2007 and in Afghanistan in February 2008. The new Paladin digital fire control system (PDFCS) is also being fitted and storage capacity for ten Excalibur projectiles.
The crew remains in the vehicle throughout the mission. Protection against nuclear, chemical and biological warfare is installed with individual crew protection systems with temperature controlled (hot and cold) air. The turret is fitted with Kevlar spall suppression lining for additional ballistic protection.
The Paladin is equipped with a secure voice and digital communications suite including the VIC-1 Intercom, VRC-89 or the SINCGARS single channel ground and airborne radio subsystem.
The Paladin vehicle is powered by a two-cycle diesel, 440hp, DDEC 8V71T engine from Detroit Diesel Corporation, and an Allison ATD-XTG-411-4 transmission with four forward and two reverse gears. The suspension system is based on high-strength torsion bars with high-capacity shock absorbers. The vehicle has a range of 214 miles with a maximum speed of 40mph.
The electrical power supply is rated at 650A, 24V DC.