Have Guns, Will Upgrade: The M109A7 Paladin PIM Self-Propelled Howitzer


At Fort Sill

May 26/21: M109A7 According to the US Army, a National Guard artillery unit was the first to conduct a live-fire test with the new M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer System last week. The 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team worked with the newly-fielded artillery at Fort Bragg, NC, for two weeks before a demonstration of the weapon, known in various iterations as the Paladin. The howitzers resemble lightly-armored tanks, and specialize in long-distance aerial bombardment. All systems can be controlled by a crew of four.



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Before: M109 & M992 (click to view full) The USA’s 155mm M109 self-propelled howitzers (SPH) were first introduced in 1962, as a form of armored mobile artillery that could stand up to the massed fire tactics of Soviet heavy artillery and rockets. They and their companion M992 Armored Ammunition Resupply Vehicles (AARV) have been rebuilt […]

M109A6 and M992 FAASV

Before: M109 & M992
(click to view full)

The USA’s 155mm M109 self-propelled howitzers (SPH) were first introduced in 1962, as a form of armored mobile artillery that could stand up to the massed fire tactics of Soviet heavy artillery and rockets. They and their companion M992 Armored Ammunition Resupply Vehicles (AARV) have been rebuilt and upgraded several times, most recently via the M109A6 Paladin upgrade.

In the meantime, the Army has re-learned a few home truths. Artillery arrives in seconds rather than minutes or hours, is never unavailable due to bad weather, and cheaply delivers a volume of explosive destruction that would otherwise require hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bombers and precision weapons. Most combat casualties in the gunpowder age have come from artillery fire, and the US Army will need its mobile fleet for some time to come. So, too, will the many countries that have bought the M109 and still use it, unless BAE wishes to cede that market to South Korea’s modern K9/K10 system, or new concept candidates like the KMW/GDLS DONAR. What to do? Enter the Paladin PIM program.

PIM Program: A New M109A7/ M992A3 Paladin

M109 Limitations & the M109A6 Paladin

M109A6 Paladin Fired

M109A6 Paladin, fired
(click to view full)

While the M109 was technically mobile, in practice it was only semi-mobile. The need to string communications wire in order to physically connect the battery’s howitzers and their fire-control center fixed the vehicles in position. Surveyors were used to calculate the battery’s location as part of this process, and the entire emplacement and readying procedure could easily take 15-20 minutes. So, too, could the process of taking this setup down so the battery could move to another location. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that spending so much time outside of any protective armor was going to get a lot of people killed in any serious conflict involving tools like attack helicopters, massed artillery and rocket fire, and nifty toys like artillery-locating radars that backtrack the origin point of incoming shells.

The M109A6 Paladin addressed these issues via computerization and communications upgrades. Secure SINCGARS radios replaced the wires. Inertial navigation systems and sensors attached to the gun automatically tell the crew where they are, and where their shells are likely to land. Finally, automatic gun-laying translates the fire co-ordinates to a specific gun position. No aiming circles. No surveyed fire points. No wire lines. Just move into the assigned position area somewhere, calculate data, receive orders from the platoon operations center, use FBCB2 (aka “Blue Force Tracker”) to verify the location of “friendlies,” use the automatic PDFCS (Paladin Digital Fire Control System) to aim the gun and send the shell on its way. Once the fire mission is over, the vehicle can move off, receive another target, then quickly lay and fire again.

Improved armor added even more protection to the new system, and an upgraded engine and transmission made the M109A6 speedier. On-board prognostics and diagnostics were installed to improve the vehicles’ readiness and maintainability. Finally, ammunition stowage was made safer, and the load was increased from 36 rounds to 39 rounds of 155mm shells. Some of which can be M982 Excalibur GPS-guided shells.

The M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV) vehicle is the M019’s companion. The M992A2 is also referred to as “Carrier Ammunition Tracked” by the US Army, which is an apt name because it holds up to 90 shells on 2 racks (up to 12,000 pounds total), plus an hydraulic conveyor belt to help with loading the M109. In practice, the duo’s crews often handle that task manually. The Paladin PIM program will enhance the FAASV/CAT to M992A3.

M109A7 PIM: The Weapon

M109 Firing

M109, firing
(click to view full)

The Paladin Integrated Management partnership builds on the A6’s advances, but there are so many changes that it’s almost a new-build program.

The BAE/Army partnership will re-use the turret structure and the main 155/39 mm gun. As such, additional range and accuracy depends on using new projectiles like the rocket-boosted & GPS-guided M982 Excalibur, or ATK’s non-boosted PGK screw-in guidance system. Both are explicitly contemplated in the Paladin PIM’s loading systems. Maximum rate of fire also remains unchanged, because tube structure and temperature remain the limiting factor for sustained rates of fire.

The Paladin Digital Fire Control System is somewhere between old and new. The system has continued to receive upgrades, and is being produced by BAE and Northrop Grumman. GPS is currently provided via older PLGR systems, with data sent to the Dynamic Reference Unit – Hybrid (DRU-H inertial navigator), but the obsolescence of electronic components within this box means that DRU-H and possibly PLGR are on the future replacement list.

M106A6-PIM Rt

M109A7 PIM
(click to view full)

What will be new? Two big advances:

Chassis. Previous M109 upgrades hadn’t altered the M109’s 1950s configuration. The new chassis are being fabricated & assembled with components from the M2/M3 Bradley IFV (e.g. engine, transmission, final drives, etc.), in order to create more commonality across America’s Heavy Brigade Combat teams. BAE Systems expects a growth in overall weight of less than 5%, but the combined effects of the new chassis and more robust drive components give Paladin PIM the ability to operate at higher weights than its current GVW maximum of about 39 tons/ 35.4 tonnes. That will be tested, given the expected weight of the T2 add-on armor and separate underbelly armor add-on kits.

All-Electric. The M109A7 PIM also incorporates select technologies from the Future Combat Systems 155mm NLOS-C (Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon), including modern electric gun drive systems to replace the current 1960s-era hydraulically-operated elevation and azimuth drives. The removal of the hydraulic systems saves the crew a tremendous amount of maintenance, and they retain manual backups for gun laying just in case.

The shift to an electric turret included a major redesign of the vehicle’s power system, converting the 600 hp engine’s work into up to 70 kW of 600 volt/ 28 volt direct current for use by various on-board systems. The power system’s modularity means that if any one of the motors inside fails, it can be replaced in the field within less than 15 minutes, using the same single part type. In concrete terms, it means the howitzer crew can handle the problem themselves and continue the mission, instead of withdrawing for repairs.

Paladin PIM: The Program

Program dashboard: M109A7 Paladin PIM

Adam Zarfoss, BAE Systems’ director of artillery programs:

“Artillery is playing an important role in operations in Iraq, with the Paladin providing critical fire support with both standard and precision munitions… The M109A6-PIM is the next step in Paladin development to ensure this essential fire support system remains ready and sustainable for soldiers in the HBCT [Heavy Brigade Combat Teams] through its projected life beyond the year 2050.”

Even with the previous-generation Paladin’s computerization and fast, safe set-up and take-down, a noticeable capability gap existed between the M109A6 used in Iraq, and newer self-propelled guns. At the same time, America’s comparable XM2001 Crusader/ XM2002 ARRV was canceled as an $11 billion Cold War relic in 2002, and the light 155mm NLOS-C died with the 2009 removal of the Future Combat Systems ground vehicle program.

The Paladin Integrated Management Program is designed to handle America’s future needs in the absence of Crusader and NLOS-C, and close some of the M109A6’s technological gaps. The initial goal was 600 M109A7 / M992A3 vehicle sets, but that has been lowered slightly to 558.

M109A7 Paladin PIM Budgets, 2007 - 2019

BAE Systems and the U.S. Army have signed a 2007 memorandum of understanding (MoU), establishing a Public-Private Partnership (P3) to develop and sustain the Army’s M109A6 vehicles throughout their life cycle. The establishment of a P3 will capitalize on the strengths and capabilities of each organization to ensure the cost-effective and on-time reset of the current fleet of M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicles (FAASV), as well as the planned production of the M109A7/M992A3 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) systems.

PIM prototypes were originally slated to be delivered to the US Army for test and evaluation in 2009, but changes to the program meant that the prototype contract wasn’t even issued until October 2009. That moved prototype delivery back to May 2011.

By January 2012, BAE had completed Phase I of the Army’s formal Developmental Test Program, with 5 vehicles returning for refurbishment, and 2 remaining at Aberdeen Proving Grounds for further tests. Full testing of all vehicles was set to resume in June 2012, and the Milestone C approval to proceed with Low-Rate-Initial-Production (LRIP) was scheduled for June 2013. In practice LRIP approval by the Defense Acquisition Board slipped to October 2013, and formal induction didn’t take place until May 2014.

Industrial Team

LAND M992 FAASV Cutaway

M992 cutaway
(click to view full)

Parties to the memorandum signing include BAE Systems leaders, US Army TACOM (Tank, automotive & Armaments COMmand), The Army’s PEO-GCS (Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems), the Army’s PKM-HBCT (Project Manager – Heavy Brigade Combat Team), and the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. The MoU was signed during the AUSA 2007 conference in Washington, DC.

BAE Systems has significant experience with public-private partnerships thanks to Britain’s “future contracting for availability” innovations. In the USA, meanwhile, it has a long standing and successful partnership with the Red River Army Depot in Texas to remanufacture and upgrade the USA’s M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicles.

The Army’s PM-HBCT will manage the M109 RESET activities. Anniston Army Depot will retain labor and lead the majority of the program, including the M109A6-PIM production process, through the public-private partnership. They will be integrated into the PIM Integrated Product Development Teams (IPDTs) structure during the design phase, and will support the manufacture of the prototype vehicles.

During the production phase, Anniston Army Depot will be responsible for induction of vehicles, overhaul of critical components like the gun system, and modification/ upgrade of the cab structure. BAE Systems will be responsible for materials management. The partially assembled cabs, along with overhauled components, will be provided to BAE Systems for integration with the new M109A7 PIM chassis. Areas involved in production will include York, PA; Aiken, SC; and Elgin, OK where final assembly will take place.

Export Potential



A total of 975 M109A6 Paladins were produced for the US Army, and another 225 or so were produced for Taiwan. Full rate production ceased in 1999. BAE built a small final batch to fill out an Army National Guard request, which finished in 2001.

Most other countries who use the M109 (Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, Iran on its own, soon Iraq with US support) employ previous versions, ranging from M109A1s to M109A5s.

That’s a lot of potential upgrades.

So far, the most popular upgrade abroad is the M109A5+, which adds independent position location via GPS/INS, and radio transmission of co-ordinates. It’s a budget-conscious upgrade that omits the M109A6’s automatic gun-laying, which would require a tear-down and rebuild of the turret. It also omits the PIM upgrades, which make very substantial changes to every part of the vehicle.

On the other hand, countries that do decide to field fully modern armored artillery systems will find that Paladin PIM is still generally cheaper than buying new heavy systems. That’s enough to succeed in America. What about the rest of the world?

Abroad, Paladin PIM will be competing against options like KMW’s PzH-2000, Denel’s G6, and Samsung’s K9/K10 on the heavy side, some of which offer more advanced features. It will also have to deal with substitution threats from lightly-armored truck-mounted 155mm artillery like BAE/Saab’s Archer, Elbit’s Atmos, and Nexter’s Caesar. It’s still early days, but the M109A7 Paladin PIM system has yet to find an export customer.

Contracts and Key Events

Unless otherwise noted, US Army TACOM in Warren, MI issues the contracts to BAE Systems Land & Armaments’ Ground Systems Division in York, PA.

FY 2020 – Today

May 26/21: M109A7 According to the US Army, a National Guard artillery unit was the first to conduct a live-fire test with the new M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer System last week. The 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team worked with the newly-fielded artillery at Fort Bragg, NC, for two weeks before a demonstration of the weapon, known in various iterations as the Paladin. The howitzers resemble lightly-armored tanks, and specialize in long-distance aerial bombardment. All systems can be controlled by a crew of four.

May 12/20: Japan Tokyo will procure seven more Type-19 155 mm/52 calibre wheeled self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and an additional 33 Type-16 Mobile Combat Vehicles (MCVs) this fiscal year as part on ongoing efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF). The new long-range Type-19 SPH, which is integrated into an 8×8 MAN tactical military truck and has a crew of five, is being gradually rolled out to the JGSDF to replace the service’s aging fleet of FH-70 towed artillery systems, said the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo in its latest ‘Defense Programs and Budget of Japan’ report, the English-language version of which was released in late March.

March 26/20: Delivery BAE Systems has received a $339 million order from the Army to deliver 48 M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzers, the company’s latest deal since the program was approved for full-rate production in February. The M109A7 SPH and M992A3 CAT vehicle set is a vital program enhancement for increased combat capability and sustainment of the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs). The program offers enhanced indirect-fire artillery capabilities to the ABCTs with new technologies for power generation and survivability.

FY 2018



At Fort Sill

October 24/18: Tracks Contitech is being tapped to provide the US Army with vehicle tracks for its M109 Paladin artillery system. The firm-fixed-price contract is valued at $20.1 million and will run through July 8, 2021. The M109 family of systems has been in service since 1962. The latest variant is the BAE produced Paladin M109A7 next-generation artillery system. The new variant incorporates upgrades to hull, turret, engine, and suspension systems that offer increased reliability, survivability and performance over its predecessor. The 155 mm cannon is mounted on the chassis structure common to the Bradley tracked fighting vehicle. Work will be performed at Contitech’s factory in Fairlawn, Ohio.

FY 2016

August 11/16: Howitzers in the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program are being questioned over deficiencies with the weapon’s maximum rate of fire and problems with the automatic fire extinguisher that could potentially endanger the crew. The DoD’s inspector general raised the queries in a report released last week. 2012 and 2013 tests saw the howitzer fail the test for maximum rate of fire which led to a redesign of hardware, software and firing procedures but still failed a total of four out of eight attempts following the fixes “under non-stressful firing conditions.”

November 2/15: The Army announced on Friday that they have awarded a $245.3 million contract modification for 30 M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzers, along with 30 M992A3 Armored Ammunition Resupply Vehicles. This low rate initial production-2 (LRIP-2) modification (Option 2) follows a similar award (Option 1) in October 2014 for 18 of each vehicle, with the two options scheduled for deliveries by February 2017 and June 2018 respectively.

FY 2015


Oct 31/14: LRIP-2. A $141.8 million fixed-price-incentive contract modification exercises Option 1 for 18 M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzers and 18 M992A3 Carrier Ammunition Tracked vehicles. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 and 2015 Army budgets. This raises the contract’s total value (q.v. Oct 30/13) to $386.7 million so far.

Estimated completion date is Feb 28/17. Work will be performed in Elgin, OK (18%), and York, PA (82%) (W56HZV-14-C-0002, PO 0011).

LRIP-2 order: 18 SPH, 18 CAT

FY 2014

Milestone C approval; LRIP contract; GAO and DOT&E reports highlight remaining issues.

Paladin PIM, testing

M109A7: Fire!
(click to view full)

July 18/14: EMD. An $88.3 million modification to contract to extend the existing M109A7 and M992A3 engineering and manufacturing development contract to incorporate low rate initial production test support. $14.1 million in FY 2013 and 2014 US Army RDT&E funding is committed immediately.

This raises announced Paladin PIM EMD contracts (q.v. Jan 17/12) to $401.6 million. Estimated completion date is March 31/17. Work will be performed in York, PA (W56HZV-09-C-0550, PO 0081).

May 19/14: Inducted. The US Army formally inducts the Paladin PIM system, and gives the systems new designations. It’s now the M109A7 self-propelled howitzer, with its companion M992A3 ammunition carrier. Low-rate initial production will begin in summer 2014, as M109A6s and M992A2s are shipped the Anniston Army Depot for disassembly. Some of those parts, especially the cab and cannon assembly, will be used along with new components like the chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system, and power system.

US Army PM self-propelled howitzer systems Lt. Col. Michael Zahuranic is especially pleased by the fact that the upgrade creates more space, saves weight, and improves power and cooling, making it much easier to add new capabilities until its planned phase-out in 2050. BAE Systems VP and GM Mark Signorelli was also happy today, both for the milestone it represents for his company and because he had commanded a M109A3 when he was in the US Army. Sources: US Army, “Army inducts self-propelled howitzer into low-rate initial production”.

Inducted as M109A7 / M992A3

May 14/14: Engines. BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP in York, PA receives a $16.1 million contract modification for an advance buy of V903 engines, to equip PIM low rate initial production vehicles.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 budgets. Work will be performed in Columbus, IN (77%), and York, PA (23%), with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/18. US Army Contracting Command-Tank and Automotive in Warren, MI manages the contract (W56HZV-14-C-0002, PO 0003).

March 31/14: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2013, plus time to compile and publish. For the PIM program, its design is mature. So are its 2 critical new technologies: power pack integration, and the ceramic bearing of the generator assembly. On the other hand, weight limits are a concern, and testing had better go right, because the program’s schedule leaves very little time for fixes if tests show problems.

The largest single technology risk involves the current contractor for the engine and transmission, who may cease production due to lack of orders. That could force a vendor switch and even a redesign of the engine compartment, raising costs between $32 – $100 million and adding a “significant” schedule delay.

The Milestone C delay from June – October 2013 was staff-driven due to sequestration. Other delays to the start of developmental testing stemmed from changes to protection and survivability requirements, which led to a new ballistic hull and turret and new armor kits.

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The revised program schedule reduces the program’s planned low-rate (LRIP) production run from 72 sets – 66 sets, while cutting the LRIP period from 4 years – 3 years.

The new M109A6 PIM has done well in tests with GPS-guided shells, with a CEP of less than 10m for rocket-boosted M982 Ia-2 Excalibur shells out to 35 miles, and average CEP of 24m out to 15 miles for ATK’s screw-in Precision Guidance Kit. The bad news is that ordinary shells are a problem. In 2012 Limited User Tests, the PIM failed to meet accuracy requirements at short (4-6 km) ranges, offered a timeliness downgrade from M109A6 standards by meeting less than 20% of fire mission time standards, and displayed deformation and jamming of the M82 primer when firing when firing M232A1 Modular Artillery Charge System (MACS) Charge 5 propellant.

The Army has begun using some very innovative approaches in its effort to fix the defects (q.v. July 30/12), and in January 2013, the program began installing and testing a series of Corrective Actions, Producibility, and Obsolescence (CPO) changes for the SPH and CAT. The Army intends to fix the timeliness problem using hardware and software changes, and there have been some positive indicators in subsequent tests. Meanwhile, they intend to continue testing upgraded suspension and transmission components in light of increased weight from the underbelly and T2 up-armoring kits.

A special research team is looking at the MACS problems. They’re considering a wide range of options: propellant changes, breech & firing mechanism redesigns, alternative ignition systems, or even restricting the PIM to 4 MACS charges and taking the range penalty.

Oct 30/13: LRIP. BAE Systems Land & Armaments LP in York, PA receives a $195.4 million fixed-price-plus-incentive contract for Low-Rate Initial Production of 19 Paladin PIM self-propelled Howitzers (SPH), 13 SPH Threshold 2 (T2) armor kits as up-armoring options, 18 Carrier Ammunition Tracked (CAT, formerly FAASV reloader) vehicles, 11 CAT T2 armor kits, and 37 lots of basic issue items. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 RDT&E ($14.6 million) and “other” ($180.8 million) budgets.

Work will be performed at York, PA; Elgin, OK; and 24 locations throughout the United States until Feb 29/16. One bid was solicited and one received by US Army TACOM in Warren, MI.

The 1st production vehicle is expected to roll out of the depot in mid-2015. BAE says that this contract could rise to $688 million for about 66 vehicle sets (likely 67 SPH and 66 CAT), plus spares, kits and technical documentation (W56HZV-14-C-0002). Note that this is slightly less than envisioned before (q.v. Dec 6/12). See also: BAE, Oct 31/13 release.

LRIP-1 order: 19 SPH, 18 CAT

October 2013. The Defense Acquisition Board green-lights the Paladin Integrated Management program for low rate initial production. To that effect, the FY 2014 budget submitted by the Army in April 2013 asked for $260.2 million in base procurement to field a lot of 18 SPHs and CATs (Carrier Ammunition, Tracked) at a unit cost of about $14.45 million. A LRIP award is expected soon so that production can begin next year.

The Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) milestone had been scheduled for Q4 FY2016, back when Milestone C was expected in June 2013. Meeting that deadline will depend on whether corrective actions to address deficiencies found in tests (q.v. December 2012) can be made fast enough.

LRIP decision / Milestone C

FY 2012 – 2013

EMD contract finalized; Production moves to Elgin, OK; What videogames have to teach the PIM program.



December 2012: Test results. The Pentagon’s Operational Test & Evaluation Office publishes its 1st report [PDF] on PIM. The Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) was approved in March 2012, and prototypes refurbished in June 2012 had gone through Phase II development testing by October 2012, following Phase I tests a year earlier.

Vehicle discrepancies after repeated gun shock were higher than with legacy subsystems, including PDFCS. A software issue between the Muzzle Velocity Radar System (MVRS) and PDFCS led to frequent failures. The SPH also failed to meet its climbing requirement, though DOTE doesn’t say whether that’s a problem with meeting a paper spec or a more serious mobility issue.

The report notes that the program’s tight schedule means corrective actions will have to wait until the LRIP phase. This leads DOTE to conclude that “the schedule for development, test, and implementation of those [corrective action, producibility, and obsolescence (CPO)] changes is high-risk and challenging.”

Dec 6/12: BAE Systems announces that they’ve picked the Elgin, OK facility in the Fort Sill Industrial Park for M109A6 Paladin PIM Low Rate Initial Production. This will move those jobs to Elgin about 2-3 years sooner than the original plan. BAE, in turn, wants to be next to the Army’s Artillery Center of Excellence and its experienced personnel.

The PIM LRIP award is expected in Q3 2013, and will involve just 72 PIM systems. Key components of the PIM production vehicles, including the chassis, will be sent to the Elgin facility from BAE Systems manufacturing facilities and suppliers. As part of final assembly and checkout, BAE Systems will use Fort Sill for mobility and firing verification.

July 30/12: Videogames & Telemetry. David Musgrave is the Army’s project lead for fire control software development on the M109A6 PIM, and he’s having a problem:

“We were encountering some problems with firing tests. I started asking questions looking for objective use data. How often does subsystem X fail? When it does fail, what was the user trying to do at the time? How often does a user perform Y task? The truth was I couldn’t get any decent answers. I was frustrated that there was a very limited information channel from our system back to us while it was being used.”

He thinks the solution might involve taking a tip from the videogame industry, which uses “telemetry” to track how people are interacting with the games, and what they’re using or not using. A presentation from BioWare’s Georg Zoller was especially inspirational, and Musgrave has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to the reality of implementation in the Army. He sees huge potential benefits for program managers, units, and soldiers alike, but only if the system doesn’t interfere with the weapon in any way, and the program doesn’t try to do too much. The biggest technical challenge will be finding a reasonable method to reliably get the tracking data back to a central server. See also US Army Article | Full RDECOM PowerPoint Presentation [PDF].

Jan 17/12: EMD. A $313.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification for PIM engineering design, logistics and test and evaluation services, which will complete the Engineering, Manufacturing & Design phase. Work will be performed in York, PA, with an estimated completion date of Jan 31/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W56HZV-09-C-0550). Additional EMD contracts bring the total to $401.6 million, and include:

* $88.5 million adds LRIP test support (July 18/14)

In discussions, BAE representatives added that the 7 prototype PIM vehicles (5 howitzers, 2 resupply vehicles) delivered in May 2011 have logged over 7,500 miles, fired over 2,600 rounds, and come through extreme temperature testing to complete Phase I of the Army’s Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) tests. Testing will resume in June 2012, and the next step after that is a June 2013 Milestone C decision, which would begin low-rate initial production. BAE release.

EMD Contract

Oct 24/11: EMD. A $9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide refurbishment and analysis services for the PIM Bridge 3 effort. Work will be performed in York, PA, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W56HZV-09-C-0550).

Oct 5/11: EMD. A $9.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the PIM Bridge 1 effort. Work will be performed in York, PA, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/11. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-C-0550).

Oct 5/11: T2. A $7.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to buy the PIM’s T-2 Armor Kits. Work will be performed in York, PA, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/12. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-C-0550).

Oct 5/11: Transmission. L3 Communications Corp. in Muskegon, MI receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, to develop a common transmission for the Bradley Family IFV/CFVs, and the Paladin Integrated Management vehicles. Work will be performed in Muskegon, MI, with an estimated completion date of Nov 15/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-C-0098).

FY 2007 – 2011

From MoU to delivery on initial prototypes.


M109A6 PIM
(click to view full)

June 7/11: An $11.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, to buy PIM ballistic hulls and turrets. Recall that the new PIM chassis are being fabricated & assembled with Bradley common components.

Work will be performed in York, PA, with an estimated completion date of April 30/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W56HZV-09-C-0550).

May 2011: Delivery. The 7 PIM prototypes are delivered to the U.S. Army, on schedule. Source.

Prototypes delivered

Oct 28/10: BAE Systems announces that they are on track to deliver 7 Paladin/FAASV Integrated Management (PIM) prototype vehicles to the U.S. Army on schedule, under the $63.9 million August 2009 research and development contract, announced in October 2009 (5 M109s, 2 FAASVs).

The initial PIM vehicles are conducting contractor testing in Yuma, AZ and Aberdeen, MD before they are delivered for government testing in January 2011.

June 15/10: An $8.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, for Paladin PIM line replaceable units. Work is to be performed in York, PA, with an estimated completion date of June 30/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W56HZV-09-0550).

Jan 20/10: Rollout. BAE Systems unveils its upgraded PIM (Paladin Integrated Management) vehicle to military customers, Congressional representatives, community leaders and employees at a ceremony held at its York facility. This is the 1st vehicle built under the Oct 5/09 contract. BAE Systems release.

Oct 5/09: Prototypes. BAE Systems announces a $63.9 million contract from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive & Armaments Command for 5 prototype M109A6 PIM self-propelled howitzer vehicles, and 2 prototype M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles (FAASV).

Development contract

Nov 4/08: PDFCS. BAE systems announces a $20 million contract from the US Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, to purchase and deliver 140 Paladin Digital Fire Control Systems (PDFCS) kits, and more than 60 spare components to support the system. They will be added to the 450 or so kits that have already been ordered under this contract.

Some of the kits under this contract will be installed on vehicles at fielding sites across the world, while others will be shipped to an Army Depot where they will be used on the Paladin reset line. Work will be performed by the existing workforce at BAE Systems facilities in York, PA; Sterling Heights, MI; and Anniston, AL beginning in September 2009. Deliveries are scheduled to be complete by January 2010.

Oct 9/07: MoU. BAE Systems and the US Army sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU), establishing a Public-Private Partnership to develop and sustain the Army’s M109 Family of Vehicles throughout their life cycle. BAE Systems release.

Oct 8/07: BAE Systems unveils the M109A6-PIM Paladin upgrade at the AUSA 2007 show in Washington DC. BAE Systems release.

Unveiling & Partnership

Additional Readings

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Background: Artillery & Shells

* US Army – M109 Family of Vehicles [PDF].

* BAE Systems – Paladin Integrated Management (M109A6 PIM).

* GlobalSecurity.com – M109 155mm SP Howitzer. The M109A6 Paladin has a separate, subsidiary entry.

* Wikipedia – M109 Howitzer. Good list of purchasing countries.

* Maine Military Authority – Capabilities: M-109 Howitzer. “Maine Military Authority stores M-109 Howitzers for the United States Army Security Assistance Center (USASAC). These Howitzers are available for sale to foreign militaries. Maine Military Authority has the capability to rebuild M-109 Howitzers and return them to fully Mission Capable (FMC) status. MMA has rebuilt 72 Howitzers to date for USASAC.”

* DID – GPS-Guided Shells: The New Excaliburs. Block Ib and Excalibur-S are relevant to the M109A7.

* DID – New Frontiers for Raytheon’s Excalibur GPS Guided Shells. From June 2013.

* DID – ATK’s PGK: Turning Shells into Precision Artillery. Less accurate and less range than Excalibur, but cheaper.

News & Views

* US Army (May 19/14) – Army inducts self-propelled howitzer into low-rate initial production.

* US Army (Sept 1/11) – Army developing new self-propelled howitzer.

* US Army (April 15/11) – Army harvests technology from canceled programs. Paladin PIM benefited from NLOS-C.

* NDIA National Defense Magazine (May 2010) – Army Resuscitates Mobile Artillery Program. Some NLOS-C technologies will move to the M109 Paladin PIM.

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