The Chilean Government has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to refurbish and upgrade 12 M109A5 self-propelled howitzers.

The $15.8m contract, awarded through the US foreign military sales route, will provide Chilean Army artillery units with enhanced capabilities to deliver precise and effective artillery support to the army.

The upgrade includes replacement of obsolete equipment, incorporation of digital data connectivity, gun positioning and navigation systems for quick fire power and improved survivability.

The self-propelled howitzer’s M284 cannon and M182 mount extends the firing range by 25% and can be easily customised to meet specific mission requirements.

Work on the contract will be carried out at the company’s facilities in York and Fayette, Pennsylvania and Aiken, South Carolina, US, and is expected to be completed in October 2012.