by Richard Tomkins
Elgin, Okla. (UPI) Apr 13, 2015
The U.S. Army has received its first M109A7 self-propelled Howitzer through a low-rate production contract awarded to BAE Systems.
The M109A7 is a replacement weapon for the M109A6 self-propelled Howitzer, formerly known as the Paladin Integrated Management program, and will give the Army an indirect fire system capable of keeping pace with the Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
"The M109A7 stands at the vanguard of a series of ground combat modernization upgrades, which will significantly enhance the Army's combat fleet for decades to come," said Heidi Shyu, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.
The new system features a chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, and steering system. The components are common to the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicles, thus reducing overall program cost and logistical footprint.
The Army said M109A6 Paladin vehicles and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles had been shipped to Anniston Army Depot last year and disassembled to provide cab structures, overhauled gun and cannon assemblies, and other vehicle components, which were integrated on the new chassis at the new BAE Systems production facility in Oklahoma for final assembly.
The low-rate initial production, or LRIP, contract award was granted to BAE Systems in October of last year after the program was approved to enter the production and deployment phase.
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