Latvia: last M109A5 self-propelled howitzers from Austria delivered
The Latvian national armed forces have now received all the self-propelled feeds purchased from Austria. On Friday, October 19, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and Commander of the National Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Leonid Kalnins visited the Adazi base to view the self-propelled feedstock purchased from Austria.
M109A5 self-propelled howitzer of the Latvian army (Picture source: video footage DIENA)
Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis emphasizes: "I am pleased that, in such a short period of time, we have received all the howitzers purchased from Austria, which is a historic contribution to strengthening the capacity of the Latvian Army's indirect fire support." So far, the armed forces of Latvia does not have any artillery howitzers, only mortar and old 100mm guns are in service with Latvian army.
In April 2017, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Latvian and Austrian Ministries of Defense on the purchase of M109A5Oe self-propelled systems, including the purchase of fire control and training platforms. In order to improve the ability of the Latvian Armed Forces to support indirect fire, as well as improve Latvia's ability to fully integrate into NATO operations and training, 47 military units were purchased from Austria. The cost per unit, depending on its modification (howitzer, fire control or training platform), varies between € 60,000 and € 140,000. The howitzers purchased by Latvia from 2003 to 2007 were modernized and then preserved. The National Armed Forces received the first vehicles from Austria on October 1, last year. The practical training on their use was completed in Austria last August.
The M109A5Oe, a Type A, is an upgraded version of the earlier A2 and A3 combinations with a 39-caliber barrel. Its range is 22 km with standard ammunition, otherwise 30 km with special ammunition. Early in 1995, through the US Army Armament and Chemical Acquisition and Logistics Activity at Rock Island, Austria awarded United Defense LP a contract worth US$48.6 million for the supply of 54 155 mm M109A50e self-propelled howitzers for the Austrian Army.
The Austrian M109A5 has a number of unique features that differ from the standard American M109A5, including an Austrian semi-automatic flick rammer, inertial positive navigation system, Swiss electrical system and the same 155 mm ordnance as used on the M109A6 Paladin currently in service with the US Army. The Austrian M109A5 is armed with a 155 mm M284 cannon on an M182 mount. Using the US M203A1 charge, ranges of 30 km can be achieved firing a rocket-assisted projectile. The first production M109A5 for the Austrian Army was rolled out on 6 May 1997.