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M109A7 BAE Systems latest generation of 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer

The M109A7 is the latest generation of 155mm self-propelled howitzer in the M109 family designed and manufactured by BAE Systems that is now in service with the U.S. army. The M109A7 program enhances the reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, and lethality of the combat-proven M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle’s (FAASV) while providing increased commonality within the U.S. Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT).
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U.S. soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment (2-82 FA), 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, send the first set of Artillery rounds down range with the new M109A7 Paladin, Sept. 17, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Army)

The M109A7 is supported by the U.S. Army as a vital technology enhancement program to maintain the combat capability of its ABCTs. The M109A7 will solve long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 family of vehicles through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages the most advanced technology available today. This state-of-the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability provide a more robust, survivable, and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers.

The M109A7 is considered to be the most cost-effective method to significantly improve sustainability and survivability while reducing the logistics burden on the ABCT and supporting fires brigades. The program will be executed as a public/private partnership between the Army’s Project Manager-HBCT, Anniston Army Depot and BAE Systems that leverages the strengths of both public and private sectors to ensure the best value for U.S. Soldiers. The M109A7 production would be performed at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama and BAE Systems facilities in York, Penn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Endicott, N.Y.; and Elgin, Okla.

The M109A7 is the latest howitzer in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, the primary indirect fire support system for the ABCTs. It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6 and replaces the vehicle’s chassis components with modem components common to the Bradley vehicle. The improved chassis structure provides greater survivability and commonality with the existing systems in the ABCT, reducing operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.

The M109A7 self-propelled howitzer is powered with an upgraded, 675 HP electronically controlled version of the BFV standard V903 engine, coupled with an improved HMPT- 800 transmission, the M109A7 has faster acceleration for rapid displacement, and the ability to keep pace with the maneuver forces it supports. The chassis features a power pack, drive train, track, and suspension components common with the Bradley tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle), improving supportability and reducing the ABCT’s logistical footprint. It can run at a maximum road speed of 61 km/k with an estimated cruising range of 300 km.

The M109A7 is armed with one 155mm M284 cannon with an M182A1 gun mount using an automatic loading system. The cannon has a range of 22 km with standard projectiles and 30 km with rocket-assisted projectiles. From the move, the M109A7 can receive a fire mission, compute firing data, transition from traveling configuration to firing configuration, point its cannon, and fire within 60 seconds. The M109A7 operates day or night, in all weather conditions, providing timely and accurate fires with a range in excess of 30 km. For its self-protection, the roof of the M107A7 is fitted with one 12.7mm heavy machine gun. 

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