M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers to equip Taiwan army from 2023


As written by Taiwan News, according to budget documents the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense submitted to the Legislative Yuan, the first eight howitzers are scheduled for delivery in 2023, with 16 in 2024 and the last 16 in 2025, CNA reported. The weapons form part of the first arms package for Taiwan to be approved by the Biden administration since it assumed power in January 2021.
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An M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer conducts a test fire at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command training area on March 23, 2015, in Grafenwoehr, Germany. (Picture source: U.S. Army/Spc. Nicole R. Paese)


The A6 variant of the M109 benefits from an overall product improvement in the areas of survivability, RAM, and armament. This includes increased armor, a redesigned internal arrangement for safer ammunition and equipment storage, engine and suspension upgrades, and product improvement of the M284 gun and M182A1 mount. The greatest difference is the integration of an inertial navigation system, sensors detecting the weapons' lay, automation, and an encrypted digital communication system, which utilizes computer-controlled frequency hopping to avoid enemy electronic warfare and allow the howitzer to send grid location and altitude to the battery Fire Direction Center (FDC). The battery FDCs in turn coordinate fires through a battalion or higher FDC. This allows the Paladin to halt from the move and fire within 30 seconds with an accuracy equivalent to the previous models when properly emplaced, laid, and saved — a process that required several minutes under the best of circumstances. Tactically, this improves the system's survivability by allowing the battery to operate dispersed by pairs across the countryside and allowing the howitzer to quickly displace between salvos, or if attacked by indirect fire, aircraft, or ground forces. Ammunition storage is increased from 36 to 39 155 mm rounds. The Paladin can hit targets 30 kilometers away, and fire 8 projectiles within a minute.

The A6 version improves on the 200 A2/A5 howitzers the Taiwan military has been using, according to experts. A key advantage of the new howitzers is that it only takes one minute to prepare to fire. This means the weapons can be quickly repositioned after each use to hit a different target.


 

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