The US Army has awarded a $63.9m contract to BAE Systems to produce five prototype M109A6 Paladin integrated management (PIM) self-propelled howitzer vehicles and two prototype M992A2 field artillery ammunition support vehicles (FAASV).

The M109A6 Paladin is the latest advancement in 155mm self-propelled artillery, while the M992A2 FAASV provides armour-protected ammunition delivery for the M109A6 Paladin.

BAE Systems heavy brigade combat team (HBCT) systems vice president and general manager Joe McCarthy said the Paladin provided critical fire support for soldiers in the HBCT and the contract would ensure the system’s sustainability beyond 2050.

In order to increase sustainability and commonality across the HBCTs the Paladin PIM uses the existing M109A6 main armament and cab structure, while replacing outmoded chassis elements with the latest components from the Bradley Combat Systems.

The M109A6 Paladin incorporates a state-of-the-art digital backbone and robust power generation capability and integrates electric elevation and traverse drives, an electric rammer and a digital fire control system.

The 32t M109A6 has a four-man crew, a cruising range of 186 miles and a maximum speed of 35mph.