Indonesia takes delivery of 18 second-hand Belgian M109A4 155mm self-propelled howitzers

On Monday, July 9, 2018, Indonesian media has reported the delivery of 18 second-hand Belgian M109A4 BE 155mm self-propelled howitzers and 4 artillery command posts. today. The delivery of the first batch of M109A4 BE self-propelled howitzers took place last year.

Indonesia takes delivery of 18 second hand Belgian M109A4 155mm self propelled howitzers 925 001
The arrival of second-hand Belgian M-109A4 BE 155mm self-propeled howitzer at the port of Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, Indonesia (all photos: IPC terminal, IMF)

These artillery vehicles are part of a total of 38 second-hand M109s that Indonesia purchased from Belgium.

In August 2016, it was announced that Indonesia would purchase second-hand M109A4 BE 155mm self-propelled howitzers from Belgium and a few number of artillery command post using the same armoured tracked chassis.

The M109 is an American-made 155 mm self-propelled howitzer based on tracked armored chassis that was introduced in the early 1960s. It has been upgraded a number of times, most recently to the M109A7 model. It has a crew of six including commander, driver, gunner, the assistant gunner and two ammunition loaders.

The main armament of the M109 consists of one M126 155 mm howitzer in an M127 mount, with a fume extractor and a large muzzle brake. The recoil system is hydro-pneumatic and the breech block is of the Welin-step thread type. The weapon has an elevation of +75º, a depression of -5º and the turret can be traversed through a full 360º. Gun elevation and depression and turret traverse are hydraulic with manual controls for emergency use. Normal rate of fire is 1 rd/min but 3 rds/min can be fired for a short period. It has an effective firing range of 18 km with conventional ammunition and 30 km with RAP (Rocket assisted projectile) which is an artillery, cannon or recoilless rifle round incorporating a rocket motor for independent propulsion.

The M109A4 is a converted M109A2 or M109A3. The major changes are the incorporation of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) requirements and Reliability And Maintainability (RAM) improvements. Selected improvements are found in the following kits: traverse mechanism, NBC equipment, hydraulic power pack filter, starter protection, external slave start, floor drains.

In August 1983, the Belgian Minister of Defence signed a contract with BMY (Bowen-McLaughlinYork) for the purchase of 127 M109A2 self-propelled howitzers. The first vehicles were delivered in August 1984 and all were delivered by the end of 1985. These vehicles are used by the six field artillery battalions, the Brasschaat Artillery School and the maintenance reserve. The older M109s were upgraded to M109A3 standard by the Arsenal du Matériel Mécanique et de l'Armement, at Rocourt, near Liège.

From 1998 the operational M109A2's were fitted with a North Finding Module and between 2002 and 2006 a total of 108 M109A2's will be upgraded to the M109A4 standard. The M109A4 is no longer in service in the Belgian army.

Indonesia takes delivery of 18 second hand Belgian M109A4 155mm self propelled howitzers 925 002
Belgian army M109A4 BE 155mm self-propelled hwoitzer (Picture source Army Recognition)