M109A7 Self Propelled Gun Howitzer is the latest version of the M109 series. It uses the existing turret and main gun of the M109A6 Paladin mounted on a modified chassis utilizing components of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle currently in service with the US Army.
M109A7 Self Propelled Gun Howitzer Development
Development of the Paladin Integrated Management program (PIM) started in 2007 with BAE Systems. In August 2009 the company was awarded a $63.9 million research and development contract to produce five SPG prototypes and two CAT (Carrier Ammunition Tracked) re-supply vehicle prototypes.
The SPG prototypes were later named Picatinny, Warren, Endicott, Minneapolis and York. The two CAT vehicles were named Aberdeen and Yuma.
BAE Systems delivered the seven prototypes to the U.S. Army in May 2011 for trials.
In January 2012 the US Army awarded BAE a $313 million contract for additional engineering design, logistics development and test evaluation support to complete the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.
M109A7 Production and Status
In October 2013 BAE was awarded a contract worth up to $688 million by the U.S. Army to begin Low-Rate Initial Production. The award is spread over three years. The first year of the contract was to produce 18.5 vehicle sets – 19 M109A7 and 18 M992A3 CAT.
Production work started soon after the contract award with first deliveries expected in early-2015.
In November 2014 BAE Systems received a second year follow-on contract to produce an additional 18 vehicle sets – 18 M109A7 howitzers and 18 M992A3 CAT.
Once all options (years) are exercised, the Army should have purchased a total of 66.5 vehicle sets plus spares, kits, and technical documentation.
The M109A7 production is being completed at the Anniston Army Depot, Alabama and BAE Systems facilities in York, Penn; Minneapolis, Minn. Sterling Heights, Mich; Endicott, NY; and Elgin, Okla.
BAE stated in 2012 that The US Army plans to acquire 580 sets of vehicles. Each set will include one A7 SPG and one M992A3 CAT re-supply vehicle, representing a total opportunity of 1,162 vehicles.
The M109A7 New Chassis
The M109A7 chassis features a new engine, drivetrain, track, and suspension components common with the Bradley. Its most noticeable by the number of road wheels, the A6 Paladin had 7 and the A7 has 6.
The use of Bradley parts reduces logistical costs and increases supportability for the US Army.
M109A7 Other Improvements
The A7 is fitted with BAE’s enhanced on-board power management systems producing 70KW, which doubles the electrical power compared to most military vehicles. Its integrated in to the main guns electrical rammer, elevation and traverse drives, which are from the NLOS-C program.
The A7 features an Automatic Fire Extinguishing System, CROWS remote weapons station and enhanced appliqué armour.
Gross vehicle weight: 36,28 tonne
Engine: 675 hp
Fuel tank: 143 gallons
Top Road Speed: 61 km/h
Operational Range: up to 300 km
Side slope: 40%
Trench crossing: 1.8 m
Maximum fording depth: 1m
Overall length: 9.7 m
Width: 3.9 m
Height: 3.3 m
Main Gun: 155mm M284 (cal Length 39) Howitzer & M182A1 mount, range 30km
Main generator: 70Kw