U.S. Army press release:

ELGIN, Okla. (April 9, 2014) — Military personnel and defense contractors celebrated delivery of the first low-rate initial production M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer to the Army during a ceremony here, April 9. “The M109A7 stands at the vanguard of a series of ground combat modernization upgrades, which will significantly enhance the Army’s combat fleet for decades to come,” said Heidi Shyu, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology . . .

The M109A7, produced by BAE Systems, will replace the current M109A6 Self-Propelled Howitzer, formerly known as the Paladin Integrated Management program, as one of the Army’s most critical combat vehicle modernization programs.

The platform will provide armored brigade combat teams with a highly responsive indirect fire system capable of keeping pace with the Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the battlefield.

This next generation howitzer incorporates enhanced capabilities such as a brand new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, and steering system – components common to the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicles. This commonality reduces overall program cost and the logistical footprint coupled with improved survivability to maintain dominance on the battlefield.

“Today marks a significant milestone for the Army, the field artillery, the Lawton/Fort Sill/Elgin community, and especially BAE Systems,” said Mark Signorelli, BAE Systems vice president and general manager, combat vehicles. “Our team is proud and honored to be able to deliver increased performance, survivability, and reliability to our Soldiers through the M109A7 and M992A3 family of vehicles. It has been a long road and many have contributed to this success.”

The M109A6 Paladin vehicles and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles were shipped to Anniston Army Depot during summer 2014, when they were disassembled to provide cab structures, overhauled gun and cannon assemblies, and other vehicle components.

The entirely new chassis, built at BAE Systems’ facility in York, Pennsylvania, was married with the reworked Anniston components at the new BAE Systems production facility in Elgin for final assembly.

“This [M109A7 Paladin program] is really an example of acquisition done right, and today’s ceremony is a major step in keeping our promise to provide our field artillery Soldiers with the best self-propelled howitzer available,” said Brig. Gen. David G. Bassett, the Army’s program executive officer for ground combat systems.

Bassett also discussed how, “the improvements not only bring significant commonality, a reduced logistical footprint and lifecycle costs savings to a large portion of the armored brigade combat team, they also ensure relevancy by providing crucial offensive and defensive fires in support of combined arms maneuver, wide area security and other full-spectrum operations.”

In addition to a new chassis, the M109A7 also receives a 600-volt on-board power system designed to accommodate emerging technologies and future requirements as well as current requirements like the battlefield network.

The low-rate initial production, or LRIP, contract award was granted to BAE Systems, Oct. 30, 2013, after the program was approved to enter the production and deployment phase.

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55 Responses to Army Takes Delivery of First M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer

    • It will certainly blend the enemy. Or shake them and bake them… or just give them the distinct impression that God is angry at them.

      • It’s a military vehicle that civilians cannot legally buy. It does have a gun mounted on it, but if that’s the criteria, where are the stories on the F35 boondoggle or the navy refitting a cruiser?

        • They did cover some naval guns a while back, and more recently the rail guns being fitted to navy ships.

        • The F-35 is a plane. A cruiser is a ship.

          This is a gun. On treads.

          The Truth About Guns. Some of the bigger ones can be found on treads.

          There’s the relevance.

        • The F-35 is a flying weapon system. A cruiser is a floating weapon system. This howitzer is a land based weapon system.
          All can be brought to bear against enemies, foreign or domestic.

      • As one who has trained in Field Artillery, a howitzer is not a gun! A howitzer is a short barreled piece that can fire at high angles over high ground to hit targets that are hidden from direct fire. This is indirect fire. A gun fires at low angles to hit targets at longer ranges than howitzers and has a longer tube. It is less accurate at these longer ranges. While the howitzer can fire at both high and low angles, the gun only fires at low angles. For range, think of rifle vs pistol. The howitzer is great for close in support while the gun can reach out and make a bad day for your opponent.

  1. Anyone know how the reload process works? Looks like you have to climb back inside the vehicle every time? What a pain

    • Self propelled, not self loading. Think tank, but better ballistics! It’s like a tank, but not really a tank because it is still artillery. Just with an engine not a trailer.

      • better ballistics? depends. Tanks Have better ballistics for direct fire, artillery for indirect fire.

        Ain’t no M109 of any model got the muzzle velocity of the M-1A2’s 120mm!

        • I should have said better range, but yes artillery sends a barrage a long ways out while a tank can send a 105mm round almost 3 kilometers on one target.

    • Ammunition is stored on the bussle on the rear of the turret. However, there is a towed trailer that packs a lot more.

    • This is a demo video. In real life the crew stays inside.

      As stated; ammunition is stored in the back of the turret in the the bussle, on the floor, and on the inside of the hull.

      Loading is accomplished by: opening the breach, selecting a projectile, setting the fuse, placing the projectile on the loading tray, ramming the projectile, folding the loading tray out of the way, inserting propellant into the chamber, closing the breach, inserting the primer , hooking up the lanyard to the trigger, and pulling the lanyard. All this is done in about 30 seconds or less by a trained crew of three. The driver keeps the log book.

  2. Wait a sec, they upgraded old vehicles? This is so unfair to the police community, it keeps the old ones out of their hands. Every department can use a howitzer.

  3. The howitzer carries rounds (powders, projectiles and fuzes) on board and has a resupply vehicle with additional rounds that can be transferred to the gun. A complete system is comprised of one self propelled howitzer and one resupply vehicle.

      • If “modern” had anything to do with it, this thing would’ve never been made. These weapon systems are all due to be drone-ified within 20 years. I just see anything manned by humans (ground-warfare based, no less) as a giant waste of money as tithe to the military industrial complex.

      • I’m not sure, but I don’t think there is a “shotgun” or grapeshot round. There MIGHT be a cluster round though. >:)

    • “There should still be a modern form of grape shot.”

      Who wants grapeshot when you can have a depleted uranium penetrator?

    • There is – it is (or was, when I was on active duty) called a “flechette round”, sometimes referred to as “nails”. The shell is filled with a few thousand finned, pointed steel darts about the size of a 16-penny nail. You can set the distance at which the kicker charge will burst the shell, and the flechettes start to spread. Really, really nasty, and intended for use when the Chicom/whoever human wave attacks were about to overrun your firebase. We also had a similar round in the rocket pods hanging off a Cobra gunship.

  4. BAE is a customer for the machine shop/manufacturing company I work for, so I wonder if we will end up making parts for these. Heck, maybe we already HAVE – they don’t tell us what the parts we make are going to be used on…

  5. Have they tested penetration with gelatin? I’m betting the ATF will ban the ammo it needs. Is there a .22LR conversion? Aftermarket grips? Is the trigger made by Remington? Is ANY part made by Remington? I don’t see a rail mount! A threaded barrel for a can? A tacticool version?

  6. if you think that lame-azz artillery procurement is cool, watch this video of Apaches killing 20 Talibans..

  7. As my Forward Observer friend used to say “Snipers may be ‘One shot; one kill’ but FOs are ‘One shot; twenty kills!”

  8. 600v?!!! Does it come with a built in Arc-welder? I hate to be the guy who shorts that sucker out!

  9. Looks just like the M109 of the Viet Nam era. Not sure how smart it is having lethal voltage power system bus in an armored fighting vehicle. 600volts…Yikes!

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