Six M109A5Oe self-propelled howitzers sent to Ukraine by Latvia already in action
- Ukraine - Russia conflict war 2022
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On August 15, Oleksii Rezniko, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, tweeted that the Latvian Ministry of Defence had confirmed the delivery of six self-propelled M109 howitzers and ammunition to Ukrainian forces to support their defense against the Russian invasion. Oleksii Reznikov wrote that the howitzers “are already showing results on the battlefield”.
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M109A5Oe self-propelled howitzer of the Latvian army (Picture source: screenshot from video footage DIENA)
Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers authorized the decision to provide the weapon systems on July 28. According to some reports, like one from Militarnyi, Latvia handed self-propelled howitzers in the M109A5Oe configuration, which were previously in service in Austria, and then acquired by the Latvian armed forces. The self-propelled howitzers purchased by Latvia were upgraded during their service with the Austrian army in 2003-2007 and then were sent to storage.
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.