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BAE Systems has won a $245.3m low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract from the US Army to continue building the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) and M992A3 ammunition carrier.

The contract is for a second option year to produce an additional 30 vehicle sets. The army has a total acquisition objective of 580 sets.

BAE Systems artillery and Bradley programmes director Adam Zarfoss said: "The success of this programme is directly attributable to the partnership between the army and BAE Systems.

"The success of this programme is directly attributable to the partnership between the army and BAE Systems."

"We’ve worked as a team to bring this much-needed enhanced combat capability to the soldier to address immediate needs while providing a platform that can support future growth as requirements evolve."

The company is currently working on the M109A7 at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama, and facilities at York, Pennsylvania, and Elgin, Oklahoma.

The M109A7 will replace the army’s existing M109A6 self-propelled howitzer, formerly known as the paladin integrated management (PIM) programme.

Incorporating a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension and steering system, the updated vehicle is expected to provide armoured brigade combat teams with a responsive, indirect fire system that can keep pace with the Abrams tank and Bradleys on the battlefield.

The components are common to the army’s Bradley vehicles, hence lowering the programme’s cost and logistical footprint, while improving survivability to maintain dominance in the theatre.

Apart from a new chassis, the M109A7 also features a 600V onboard power system, which is designed to accommodate emerging technologies and future requirements, as well as current requirements such as the battlefield network.

BAE Systems will deliver a total of 66 vehicle sets, plus one additional SPH and associated kits, spares, and technical documentation, to complete the LRIP phase.

Image: The US Army took delivery of the first low-rate initial production M109A7 self-propelled howitzer in April. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.