BAE Systems (Stand 05-C25) has brought a US Army M109A6 Paladin 155mm/39 calibre self-propelled howitzer to IDEX, because there is a perceived potential for future export sales in the region. This is an earlier M109, with an upgraded chassis, fitted with the new turret that retains the M284 155mm/39 calibre ordnance, plus a roof-mounted 12.7mm machine gun, supplied only to the US Army.
Currently in low-rate production is the latest M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM), which uses the same turret as the M109A6, although this is mounted on a brand-new chassis that shares some commonality with the US Army M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.
The US Army took delivery of 975 M109A6 and the original requirement for the M109A7 Paladin was 580, so there are a number of M109A6 that could potentially become available for export in the future.
The M109A6/M109A7 are the only conventional SP tube artillery systems deployed by the US Army but still have a 155mm/39 calibre barrel, which by today's standards is range limited. Most export customers have now moved to a 155mm/52 calibre SP artillery system and this was tested by BAE Systems as the M109 International some years ago, but never entered production.
The US Army already has the Extended Range Cannon Artillery programme, which will include a new longer barrel, perhaps 58 calibre, plus a new suite of more effective 155mm ammunition. If fielded, this would enable targets to be engaged at longer ranges and with more effect.
Each M109A6 is supported by the M992 field artillery ammunition support vehicle, which carries additional projectiles, charges and fuzes. For deployment with the M109A7 Paladin, these are being upgraded to the M992A2 carrier ammunition tracked standard.