First batch of U.S. M109A5 self-propelled howitzers delivered to Brazil

On March 8, the Brazilian Army received the first four M109A5 self-propelled howitzers. The vehicles arrived at the Port of Paranaguá and were transported to the Regional Maintenance Park of the 5th Military Region, in Curitiba. The vehicles will be checked and assigned to the Self-propelled Campaign Artillery Groups.

First batch of US M109A5 self propelled howitzers delivered to Brazil
Brazilian M109A5+BR being delivered to Brazil (Source: Facebook/General Estevam Theophilo)

These heavy tracked 155mm howitzers are part of a total of 60 M109s that Brazil is receiving from the U.S. The systems are second-hand units being donated by the U.S. to Brazil, a fundamental status modification from the initial plan: in 2012, the Government of Brazil has requested a possible sale of 40 M109A5 kits to upgrade 40 M109A5s to the M109A5+ configuration, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost was $110 million.

And actually, the Brazilian army purchased 36 second-hand M109A5s in July 2012 to supplement M109A3s purchased from Belgium in 1999. The first of the 32 howitzers being donated by the U.S. was delivered in March 2017. The 60 additional M109A5s will likely be upgraded to the +BR standard as well.

They are being upgraded to the M109A5+BR standard under a $53.9 million foreign military sales contract signed in September 2016. BAE was awarded the contract by the U.S. Army on behalf of the Brazilian army. The planned work includes upgraded fire control and other components. BAE will also provide three years of operational service, technical manuals, supply catalogs, specialized tooling used for maintenance, training, and technical assistance.

The M109A5 is a modified M109A4 benefiting from two major improvements: a new M284 cannon and a new M182 gun mount. The main armament of the M109A5 consists in a 155mm 39-caliber cannon which has a maximum range of 23,500 meters with standard ammunition, and 30,000 meters with Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAP Rounds). Normal rate of fire is 1 round/min but 3 rounds/min can be fired for a short period without damaging the gun.