US Army conducts live-fire demonstration with its new M109A7 155mm self-propelled howitzer

US Army conducts live-fire demonstration with its new M109A7 155mm self-propelled howitzer

The M109 is an American-made self-propelled 155 mm howitzer, first introduced in the early 1960s.

According to pictures released by the U.S. DoD (Department of Defense), U.S. soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, host a live-fire demonstration with their newly received M109A7 155mm tracked armored self-propelled howitzer at Fort Hood, Texas, November 18, 2020.

The U.S. Army Futures Command, the GREYWOLF brigade, and over 14 high-end civilian agencies came together for the event to analyze the new M109A7 155mm self-propelled howitzer and to find new ways to increase the firing rate of the weapon system. Army Futures Command leads a continuous transformation of Army modernization in order to provide future warfighters with the concepts, capabilities, and organizational structures they need to dominate a future battlefield.

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division also “Third Grey Wolf Brigade” is an U.S. combined-arms armored brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas. Its major equipment includes M1A2SEP Tanks, M2A3 & M3A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, M109A6 Paladin howitzers, and M1114 up-armored Humvees.

In April 2014, U.S. Army received the first delivery of the first low-rate initial production of M109A7. In November 2015, The U.S. Army awarded BAE Systems a contract option worth $245.3 million to complete the low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the M109A7s and M992A3 ammunition carriers. In December 2017, the U.S. Army awarded BAE Systems a contract that clears the path to begin full-rate production of the M109A7s and M992A3s.

In March 2018, field artillery soldiers tested both new systems. U.S. soldiers from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Brigade conducted several training events leading up to the Initial Operational Test (IOT) of the latest Paladin.

The M109A7 is the latest howitzer in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, the primary indirect fire support system for the U.S. Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6 and replaces the vehicle’s chassis 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, reducing operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.

The M109A7 is armed with one 39-caliber 155mm M284/M248A2 cannon, which is fitted with an M182A1 gun mount The gun has a maximum firing range of 24 km using unassisted rounds or 30 km using assisted rounds. The M109A7 is also able to fire the Excalibur Precision 155 mm Projectiles. It is a 155 mm, Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided, extended-range artillery projectile in use as the Army’s next-generation cannon artillery precision munitions. The projectile loading can be carried out using the full-stroke hydraulic system or a semi-automatic loading system.

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