US Army M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 field artillery ammunition support vehicle.
US Army M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 field artillery ammunition support vehicle.

BAE Systems Awarded $72 Million US Army Contract for M109A7 and M992A3 Production

BAE Systems, York, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $72,458,148 modification to contract for the production and delivery of M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 field artillery ammunition support vehicle. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2024. Fiscal 2020 and 2021 weapons and tracked combat vehicle procurement, Army funds in the amount of $72,458,148 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

Unloading the three dozen next-generation M109A7 Paladin Artillery Systems and M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles from the trains and moving them to the Army Prepositioned Stock-2 Coleman worksite.(U.S. Army photo by Cameron Porter)

The M109 is an American 155 mm turreted self-propelled howitzer, first introduced in the early 1960s to replace the M44. It has been upgraded a number of times, most recently to the M109A7 formerly known as the M109A6 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM). The M109 family is the most common Western indirect-fire support weapon of maneuver brigades of armored and mechanized infantry divisions. The M109A7 shares common chassis components with the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) such as the engine, transmission, and tracks.

Soldiers with the North Carolina National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, fire newly fielded M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, May 20, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)

The M109A7 can sustain a one-round per-minute rate of fire and a maximum rate of fire of four rounds per-minute. The M109A7 is 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) heavier than its predecessor, and it has the capacity to grow to 110,000 lb (50,000 kg). The M109A7 can travel faster than previous versions at 38 mph (61 km/h) and is more maneuverable than a BFV. The testing included RAM, mission and ballistic hull and turret testing. The M109A7 was slated to begin LRIP by 2013. The U.S. Army planned on procuring a fleet of 580 sets of M109A7 howitzers.

The M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (FAASV) Carrier Ammunition Tracked (CAT) in the maintenance bay at the U.S. Army Ordnance School, Fort Lee, Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher M. Robbins)

The M992A3 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (FAASV) is built on the chassis of the M109-series howitzer. It is also colloquially referred to as a “cat” (referring to its nomenclature, CAT: Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked). It replaced the M548 supply vehicle. Unlike the M548, it is armored. This ammunition vehicle has no turret, but has a taller superstructure to store 95 rounds with a corresponding number of powders and primers. There is a maximum of 92 conventional rounds, 45 each in two racks, and 3 M712 Copperhead rounds.

Troopers with 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment (2-82 FA), 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, send the first set of Artillery rounds down range with the new M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 field artillery ammunition support vehicle.(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Calab Franklin)