M109 155mm artillery ammunition is intended to reduce Brazilian dependence on the variable international defence market. The ammunition had previously undergone ballistic tests with the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras and the Army Assessment Centre to evaluate its safety, performance and lethality. Brazilian efforts to reduce dependence on the international defence market passed a milestone on 1 August, when Imbel announced the first delivery of domestically produced 155mm ammunition to the Brazilian Army. The rounds were manufactured at the state-owned company Imbel facility in Juiz de Fora and handed over to the 5th Supply Battalion in Palmeira.
The Brazilian state company IMBEL (Indústria de Material Bélico do Brasil) is a Ministry of Defence organisation, founded in 1975, which coordinates industrial activity related to the planning and production of war material through the transfer of technology and the financial and technical support of new military development. IMBEL was founded on July 16, 1934, in the city of Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The original factory was designated Fábrica de Canos e Sabres para Armas Portáteis and later Fabrica de Itajubá (FI), which directly involved the Brazilian Army in the production of military material. The organisation’s remit was later expanded to promoting the military material industry in Brazil. It was initially involved in manufacturing Mauser rifles.
The Brazilian Army operates the M109A3 and M109A5+ 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer (SPH). The Brazilian Army began operations with its first M109A3 howitzer. In 2018, the EB began replacing its M109A3 fleet, dated from the early 2000s, with the M109A5 manufactured by BAE Systems. Brazil also operates 40 previous A3 variants purchased from the Belgian Army. Under the terms of the Foreign Military Sales contract, BAE Systems overhaul and upgrade 32 self-propelled howitzers to the M109A5+ configuration. The vehicles included items specifically tailored to the Brazilian Army’s requirements. BAE Systems, the original howitzer manufacturer, is upgrading the A5 to the A5+ in the United States. The upgrades are being made at Brazilian Army request.
The M109 is an American 155 mm turreted self-propelled howitzer, first introduced in the early 1960s to replace the M44. The M109 was developed by the Ground System Division of United Defense LP (now BAE Systems Land and Armaments). The M109 family is the most common Western indirect-fire support weapon of maneuver brigades of armored and mechanized infantry divisions. M109A5 replaces the 155 mm M185 Cannon in an M178 Mount with a 39-caliber 155 mm M284 Cannon in an M182 Mount, giving the A5 a maximum range of 22,000 meters with unassisted projectiles and 30,000 meters with Rocket Assisted Projectile (RAP) rounds. The vehicle can carry 36 complete rounds of ammunition and has a 440 hp engine instead of the standard 405 hp engine.