The US Department of Defense (DoD) has modified a contract with BAE Systems on 9 November 2023 to continue the production and delivery of Paladin M109A7 self-propelled howitzers and M992A3 Carrier Ammunition Vehicles (CAVs).
Under a contract worth $63.9m, BAE Systems, the original equipment manufacturer of the ground vehicles, will fulfil the order at its facility in York, Pennsylvania, aiming to deliver the systems to Army Contracting Command by 30 December 2027.
Originally prototyped in May 2011, the contractor achieved for full-rate production for the latest Paladin artillery system, the M109A7 version, alongside its upgraded M992A3 CAV, to the US Army at the end of June 2022.
The modernisation of the M109A7 includes upgrades to the hull, turret, engine, and suspension systems, offering increased reliability, survivability and performance over the M109A6 artillery system.
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The vehicle is controlled by a crew of four and has an overall length of 9.7m, width of 3.9m, height of 3.3m and maximum gross weight of 35,380kg.
The Army intends to procure 580 sets of the Paladin vehicles, which are expected to sustain until 2050.
Currently, the intelligence consultancy GlobalData tells us that the Army has so far acquired 231 units of the latest M109A7 howitzer and another 231 M992A3 CAVs.
Meanwhile, the service still holds on to 198 M109A6 units and another 198 M992A3 vehicles. The Army plans to increase the M109A6 and the M992A2 platforms’ sustainability through 2050, upgrading the legacy fleet.
Moreover, M109A7 artillery system is armed with a 155mm M284 cannon with an M182A1 gun mount and an automated loader. The 155mm artillery system can fire at a sustained rate of one round a minute whereas the maximum rate of fire is four rounds a minute. The system has a range of 22km with standard projectiles and 30km with rocket-assisted projectiles.
The artillery system offers key fire support for a variety of potential combat missions conducted by the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams in conventional, hybrid, irregular and counter-insurgency combat environments.