BAE Systems and Rheinmetall have successfully fired 155 mm projectiles from an M109 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) modified with the Rheinmetall L52 155 mm, 52-calibre cannon, the companies announced on 9/10 October 2023.
The M109-52, an example of which is on display at this year’s Association of the US Army (AUSA) annual symposium, held in Washington, DC, from 9-10 October, “is a significant, low-risk, high-performance upgrade to the current 39-calibre cannon and provides the additional range required in large-scale combat operations” BAE Systems stated in a press release.
The test firing, conducted at Camp Ripley in Minnesota, proved the compatibility of the L52 cannon with the latest M109A7 version of the M109 SPH. BAE Systems plans to conduct additional testing in 2024 intended to highlight extended range across a variety of projectiles.
“We’ve demonstrated that the integrated system of the M109-52 is a viable solution for long-range precision fires modernisation needs,” Dan Furber, director of Ground Vehicle Production for BAE Systems’ Combat Mission Systems business, was quoted as saying. “Integrating these two highly capable and proven artillery systems provides stable designs and predictable performance.”
Joe Chan, vice president of business development at American Rheinmetall Munition, was quoted by the company as saying, “Integrating Rheinmetall’s world-class, battle-tested L52 artillery cannon system into the M109 platform will return tactical fires overmatch to the US Army in a capability-assured, timely, low-risk manner.”
Rheinmetall’s L52 cannon is used by nine NATO and allied partner nations’ tactical artillery forces.
The 2019 Army Modernisation Strategy outlined extending the US Army’s long-range precision fires (LRPF) capabilities – through both increasing the range of current indirect-fire systems and rapidly introducing and fielding new systems with even greater range – as one of six priority areas of modernisation focus.
LRPF are seen as vital for the US Army’s ability to effectively engage, disrupt and destroy targets at extended ranges.
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