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Ukraine and BAE Systems to manufacture new M119 light howitzers

On August 31, 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and BAE Systems signed a framework agreement on cooperation for the repair, provision of spare parts, and production of new M119 light howitzers. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with representatives from BAE Systems. The meeting aimed to strengthen Ukraine's defense sector and was marked by the signing of several key agreements.
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American M119 light Howitzer (Picture source: United States DoD )

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also noted that BAE Systems' armaments, including the 105mm M119 and M777 howitzers, as well as the CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, have already been actively deployed in Ukraine. These systems have received positive reviews from Ukrainian military personnel.

The M119 howitzer, originally from the United States, is manufactured by BAE Systems and was in production from 1989 to 2013. Over the years, it has undergone various upgrades, resulting in different variants such as the M119A1, M119A2, and M119A3.

When fully equipped with its Basic Issue Items (BII), the howitzer weighs 2,320 kg. Without the BII, the weight drops to 2,130kg, and the cannon alone weighs 630 kg. In combat configuration, the system's weight is approximately 1,936kg. This lightweight design allows for rapid deployment and high mobility, crucial factors in modern warfare scenarios.

The howitzer has a barrel length of 3.20m and a width of 1.78m, offering a balanced combination of range and stability. The height varies depending on the situation; in combat, it stands at 2.21 meters, while in travel mode, it reduces to 1.37m. This flexibility allows for easier transportation and positioning, accommodating various terrains and tactical requirements.

Operated by a crew of 5 to 7 soldiers, the M119 uses semi-fixed 105 x 372mm R shells in 105mm caliber. The gun offers a wide range of elevation, from -5.625 degrees to +69.975 degrees, and a traverse of 5.625 degrees to the left or right.

Regarding firing rates, the M119 is designed for both rapid and sustained fire. It can achieve a maximum rate of 8 rounds per minute for a brief period of 3 minutes, and a sustained rate of 3 rounds per minute for up to 30 minutes. The maximum firing range extends up to 17,500 meters with Charge 7 and up to 19,500 meters when using Charge 8 with Rocket-Assisted Projectiles (RAP). The M119 is equipped with advanced sighting systems, including three M90A2 telescopes and an M137A1 panoramic telescope, enhancing its targeting accuracy.

The meeting concluded with the signing of a cooperation agreement for the localization of BAE Systems' arms production between Ukraine's Ministry of Strategic Industries and BAE Systems. Additionally, a framework agreement was signed for the repair, spare parts, and production of new M119 light howitzers. As a symbol of the burgeoning partnership, Charles Woodburn presented President Zelensky with a commemorative certificate marking the opening of BAE Systems' Ukraine office and the initiation of the company's collaboration with the Ukrainian state.


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