US Army to purchase more M109A7 SPH

1434570673259Jane’s is reporting that the US Army has exercised an option to purchase an additional 30 sets of M109A7 SPH and the companion M992A3 ammunition carrier.  Formerly referred to as the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program, the M109A7 features significant upgrades over the M109A6 Paladin by replacing  the tracks, transmission, and engine with units common to the Bradley IFV and adding a 600volt power generator and a more advanced projectile ramming system.  The contract was awarded on Oct 30 and is worth 245.3 million dollars.  This contract for 30 sets of vehicles will bring the US Army’s total number of sets to 66.

For a more detailed history of the M109A7 development, check out this page from Defense Industry Daily.

Click here to read the BAE press release on the contract.

Paladin M109A7 “PIM” program moves forward

BAE-Paladin-PPIM-in-desert-300x199Breaking Defense has posted an article on the Paladin PIM (Paladin Integrated Management), also known as the M109A7.  The article points out that PIM is a substantial upgrade to the hull of the vehicle, replacing the old automotive systems of the M109 with that of the Bradley IFV, including a more powerful 600 volt power system and replaces the turret hydraulics with a new electric system.  The article quotes BAE head of combat vehicle programs Mark Signorelli saying “M109A6 built a new turret and put it on the old chassis,” “M109A7 put a new chassis under the A6 turret, with a few upgrades to the turret, and effectively in two steps the Army built a new howitzer.”  Certainly, the M109A7 is not as radical an upgrade as the cancelled Crusader SPG program which was ended in 2002 or the XM1203 Non-Line of Sight Cannon that was proposed as part of the “Future Combat Systems” program which was cancelled in 2009.  However, M109A7 has one great advantage over these previous, more ambitious SPG programs; the ability to successfully survive the US Army’s less than stellar procurement system.

Read the Breaking Defense article here.