The US Army is evaluating an improved version of the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers at Camp Ripley Training Center.
U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 125th Field Artillery, 1st Battalion, are holding a live fire demonstration with their M109A6 paladins to validate upgrades to the unit’s howitzers on January 9, 2021 at Camp Ripley. This emerges from a recently published press release from the service.
The 155mm M109 self-propelled howitzers were first introduced in 1962 as armored mobile artillery capable of withstanding the mass fire tactics of Soviet heavy artillery and missiles. She and her companion M992 Armored Munition Resupply Vehicles have been rebuilt and upgraded several times to meet current requirements.
BAE Systems’ 155mm Paladin self-propelled howitzer is a major improvement on the M109 cannon artillery system.
Paladin has an automatic fire control system, a navigation system, NBC protection with air conditioning, a separation of the hydraulic system, and secure voice and digital communication.
Upgrades to the fuselage, turret, suspension and vehicle system increase the mean time between failures by almost two-thirds and increase reliability. This corresponds to a 40 percent increase in operational availability. The mean repair time is more than halved. An on-board computer detects device problems in order to simplify maintenance.
At the same time, the US Army begins fielding the new version of the Paladin Howitzers, called the M109A7.
The M109A7 is the latest in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, the primary indirect fire support system for the tank brigade combat teams. It uses the existing main armament and cabin structure of a Paladin M109A6, replacing the vehicle’s undercarriage 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, and reduces operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.