BAE Systems in the U.S. has won a hefty £450 million contract from the U.S. Army to produce and deliver M109A7 and M992A3 vehicles along with fielding kits.

According to a press release from the Department of Defense, the production and delivery work will be carried out at various locations, including York, Pennsylvania; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; Elgin, Oklahoma; and Anniston, Alabama.

The project is expected to be completed by 31 January 2029.

The U.S. Army has already committed £206 million from its fiscal 2023 and 2024 weapons and tracked combat vehicle procurement funds for the initial phase of the contract. The Army Contracting Command will manage the contracting activities.

The M109A7 vehicle is the latest in BAE’s M109 series, designed to offer indirect fire support for armoured brigade combat teams. It boasts several upgrades, including a new chassis, high voltage architecture, enhanced engine, transmission, suspension, and steering systems.

This contract comes on the heels of another significant deal for BAE Systems earlier this year. In January, the company was awarded a £325 million contract from the Army for additional self-propelled howitzers and carrier ammunition-tracked vehicles.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_833382)
10 days ago

I’m looking forward to the announcement of new tracked artillery for the British Army. For too long the RA have seen their inventory shrink inexorably to what must now be dangerous numbers. If the Ukraine War has taught us anything it’s the invaluable worth of artillery. We need to equip the RA with the urgency the Americans appear to be making in recent months.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_833436)
10 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

And to top it all another 10 AS90s are on the way to Ukraine . Hope we get replacement soon 🤔

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833497)
10 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The interim replacements have arrived – 14 ex-Swedish Army Archers. We must now wait some time for the long-term replacement to be delivered – Boxer RCH-155, as there is seemingly more development work to be done.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_833850)
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

So as we said earlier on another thread Sunak has signed us up to as yet an unproven system that has the potential to go tits up!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834092)
8 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Not sure it was Sunak himself as he seemed very disinterested in the nuts and bolts of defence. But, yes, Boxer RCH-155, a largely German project, is not fully developed, and will take some years to conclude development, to evaluate, tweak etc and then bring into full-scale production.
Meanwhile we have gifted 60 AS-90s to Ukraine and some reports say that our own RA is about to do their final firing camp ever with it. Never mind, we have got 14 Archers to use in the interim!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834095)
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I am surprised how rapidly Boxer RCH-155 ‘won’ the MFP competition. Was there even a proper competition of any type held?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833496)
10 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

The interim replacement for AS-90 is a handful of Archers (14 so far). The actual replacement is Boxer RCH-155. Did you miss these announcements, Maurice?

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_833555)
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

No I didn’t miss that one but I was referring to a tracked replacement, which I understand is still required by the top brass. I’m not sure the German’s who will share the Boxer RCH -155 programme will dispense with their highly rated tracked gun? On another subject, I’m unhappy with reports about modern Western MBTs performance over some Ukrainian battlefield conditions, manly foot print weight being too heavy. Should the NATO members be investigating a lighter medium tank as a matter of urgency. Obviously, the gun needs to be as powerful as is practicable and may even have a… Read more »

andy a
andy a (@guest_833663)
9 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

As far as I understand it there is no tracked replacement. Its short term Archers and then the new Boxer

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_833693)
9 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Sadly protection against modern MBT fired armour piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot (SPFSDS) rounds or Fin for short. Comes from armour mass and spaced armour distances. Soviet/Russian designed MBTs forgo the mass and spaced armour distance. Instead relying on explosive reactive armour (ERA) backed with thinner passive armour. The L7 105mm Fin round will penetrate it. Which is why they are around 50 to 55t. Once the ERA has been initiated. The underlying passive armour is fairly weak by Western standards. If you want to look at a lighter tank, the French Leclerc is a good example. Which without additional… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_833781)
9 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Typo? Perhaps APFSDS?

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_833811)
9 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Duh! Using your phone on a crowded train isn’t always easy.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_834712)
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

😁👍

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_834375)
7 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Your knowledge on this subject is far greater than mine and I thank you for the physics behind the art of the MBT. The SUN report on the CH2 was very good indeed as are these observations but go unseen due to the bad name the SUN has with the British higher Acy. Admittedly, we gave the Ukrainians a Ferrari when they were use to the equivalent of a Trabant, so obviously, there would be initial capability issues.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_834600)
6 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

I think I know of the report you mean. The Sun’s defence reporter was embedded with the Ukrainian Chally regiment for a couple of weeks whilst they were training. What surprised me was the interview with one of the Ukrainian’s who had used Chally in anger. Saying they were using HESH on Russian tanks. Normally you use a Fin round, as the ERA can counter HESH, whilst a Fin round tends a good chance of passing through ERA. But from what he was saying it still can achieve a mission kill if it hits the turret. Plus he said he… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834007)
8 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

The AS-90 replacement programme was termed the MFP- Mobile Fires Platform. The interim solution was 14 Archers to replace 32 AS-90s sent to Ukraine and the eventual winner was the Boxer RCH-155. It is immaterial if any of the top brass still want a tracked SPG – the decision has been taken. It is also immaterial what the Germans do. Western MBTs were never designed for operations in Ukraine with its fragile bridges and seasonal deep mud. The US is soon to field M10 Booker, a lighter tank than M1 at c. 40 tonnes with a 105 gun, and described… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_834081)
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I keep hearing this odd response that Europe’s MBTs were not designed for operations in Ukraine, so dose that mean that they would function better on Russian soil? The damming fact is clear, tank design has pivoted on sound and stable ground, which in truth would manifest the same issues as experienced in Ukraine. MBTs were not used in Afghanistan due to inappropriate conditions yet worked remarkably well in the Iraq War?? The best way forward is a smaller vehicle with improved foot print something closer to the M10 Booker. May be the UK may supplement the CH3 with a… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834344)
7 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Hi Maurice, it is no surprise that Europe’s MBTs have a history of being designed primarily to meet a Cold War threat – comprising Soviet/Russian T-series tanks operating against us following the Warsaw Pact forces invasion of West Germany. German Bridges, roads and tracks (farm tracks were invariably concreted) could generally take heavy MBTs. Much of the rural areas (flat and rolling plains – ‘good tank country’ were well drained otherwise the farmers would not have made much of a living). Rain was usually not incessant. When the Cold War ended, British tanks and other armoured vehicles were often deployed… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_834380)
7 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Wow Graham a great piece of writing. The days of BAOR and the huge exercises across German agriculture (and generous compensation) may have lead us to believe the modern MBT was the best way to blast forward to enemy positions with reasonable optimism. The circumstances as you so clearly point out that makes the Ukrainian operation more complex, does pose considerable problems for future tank designers. The conditions faced by operation Barbarossa was on Russian soil and probably nothing has changed leading one to believe there is a weight issue period, whether it’s a Land Rover Defender of a Warrior?… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834549)
6 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Thanks for the compliment Maurice. In the two Gulf wars British armour did blast forward in the advance using a Combined Arms manouevre warfare approach. Rasputitsa is for a limited period and only really prevalent in Russia and Ukraine. I doubt our tank designers would be totally constrained by this issue. However I am sure that modern MBTs will be somewhat lighter than the Leviathans they would replace. Germany’s KF51 is 59 tonnes, and ws devloped from Leo2Aw. South Korea’s K2 Black Panther is 56t. US M1E3 Abrams in development is expected to be sub-60t. Of course the 56-60t range… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Graham Moore
PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK
PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK (@guest_833614)
10 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Watch a video by “Task and purpose” on YT … It seems to imply a a new U.S doctrine of a move away from tracked artillery to wheeled systems given experiences in Ukraine. The shoot and scoot times and deployment issues are significantly better with wheeled artillery. Ukraine has shown you now need to deploy , shoot and move within 30 seconds to stand a good chance of avoiding counter battery fire .. . and this is c/b fire from the Russian systems which is not that sophisticated. The Boxer RCH155 type system seems to be the way to go… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_833641)
9 days ago

That’s an interesting fact about doubts with tracked vehicles. I’ve the same concern with the current MBT designs. In the few years of the Ukraine conflict one issue has been exposed and it’s weight resulting in most Western tanks getting stranded in deep mud. I feel the answer is lighter tracked MBT’s (and tracked artillery) with possibly, a crewless turret but fielding a 120mm gun. Though getting bogged down applies to both sides using Russian tanks the incidents appear to be less? The quick fire and scoot looks like a design must and Archer certainly achieves a quick turn around.… Read more »

PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK
PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK (@guest_833688)
9 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

I think most modern western MBTs, certainly Challenger , Leopard and Abrams are pretty much a throw back to 70s and 80s designs when the emphasis was fighting a defensive war in Europe . Big gun and good armour were the order of the day. Only the leopard giving a bit more of a nod to mobility. The doctrine recently prior to the onset of the Ukrainian war has been on expeditionary warfare. Now we are thrown back into the sharp reality of a peer vs peer conflict in Europe with armour. This where tanks are actually not really engaging… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_833699)
9 days ago

My instinct tells me to go smaller to somewhere in the Centurion size if not smaller. A crewless turret must save weight and reduce topside bulk, thus improving exposure? In hindsight the relatively small CH3 numbers may well be fortuitus if the way forward is to redesign the MBT.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834008)
8 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Don’t think Boxers (whether they be APCs or SPGs) can’t get bogged in!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834565)
6 days ago

AS-90 had impressive shoot and scoot skills right from its 1992 introduction to service – 3 rounds fired in 10 seconds – and I am sure that into and out of action timings were fast too. The very taut figure of 30 seconds surprises me. Is that a guess or has it been researched? I am concerned that Boxer RCH-155 won the BA’s MFP ‘competition’ to replace AS-90 so quickly – looks like a political fix. On 12 December 2023 Shepherd Media reported on the bids that had been offered or anticipated: A coalition of BAE Systems, Babcock and Rheinmetall… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_833390)
10 days ago

Ummm, perhaps someone could once again explain why M109A7 is not considered to be a logical replacement for AS90, subject to field trial results? Could this become an eerily similar case to the CV90 saga? BAES obviously crossed swords w/ the wrong party in tbe UK land warfare defence hierarchy. RN does not appear to have the same attitude toward BAES. Curious…🤔

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833507)
10 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

M109A7 still only has a 39-calibre gun – that is very old school. Just about everyone is going for or has switched to 52-cal barrels.

M109 A7 has less performance where it matters than even the unmodernised 1992-era 39-cal AS-90 – less range, slower sustained rate of fire, slower intense rate of fire and inability to do a burst fire of 3 rds in under 10 seconds.

David
David (@guest_833538)
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Presumably firs US army requirements and doctrine. In UKr its praised for its mobility and the US units have comprehensive supporting assets, lots of ISTAR, they will always have air superiority over the battlefield, have large helo fleets and deep.magazinws of GMLRS, ATACMs and soon PRSM..
They will be on the front foot so maybe 10-15km extra range in 155 artillery isn’t critical?

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_833568)
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, but perhaps M109A8, 9 or 10 will be substantially upgraded. USA strong suit is dogged persistence, eventually it will prevail, even if by random chance.

Patrick C
Patrick C (@guest_833611)
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

they have a new RAP round which gives a 40km range from the 39 caliber but are planning to install a 58 caliber gun on the M-109 in the future along with the hypersonic projectile. m-109s have a long future ahead of them

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834089)
8 days ago
Reply to  Patrick C

(US) Defense News reported in March this year that they had abandoned the 58 cal gun.

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2024/03/11/us-army-scraps-extended-range-cannon-artillery-prototype-effort/

– not sure why they did not try 52 cal, as everyone else did. I agree that M-109s will have a long future. The Americans have made some big money out of it over the years.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_833416)
10 days ago

Curious that the US is spending heavily on an SPG with 39 calibre barrel. Other countries have opted for longer range 52 calibre guns. The UK trialled a 52 calibre barrel to upgrade AS 90. Now we have joined with Germany to develop a Boxer variant with the longer range weapon.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_833443)
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

IT’S odd going for the Boxer variant ,specially when we bought 14 Archer artillery platforms last year of the Swedes which is a fine system.I do think Boxer was a Sunak deal to keep the Germans happy , but thing is do the Army want it ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833499)
10 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

A handful of Archers was always flagged up as an interim procurement to replace AS-90. The actual replacement is Boxer RCH-155. Some years ago the army wanted the Braveheart upgrade for AS-90; what they want now is anyones guess but they will get the wheeled Boxer SPG, whether they like it or not.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_833569)
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Well, no one should dare argue against that official, irrefutable logic. 😉

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_833878)
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sadly the Braveheart project got shelved as part of cost savings placed on the MoD by the Treasury. However the turret with the upgraded ammo handling and new barrel was cold to Poland and used on their T72 clone chassis to produce the Krab SPG.

Poland has given a number of these to Ukraine. Where it seems it’s doing well. I’d imagine the Braveheart AS90 would have just as good at least. Sadly another missed opportunity!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834098)
8 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The story cited by Wikipedia is that Braveheart was dropped due to the inability of the proposed propellant to meet MoD’s Insensitive Munitions criteria. Odd – just go to another supplier!

The lack of upgrade for AS-90 was part of a whole era where that was the case for other AFVs. Inexplicable, and has caused untold harm.

Braveheart would have been great and could still have been in service for another decade. It may even have had export success.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_833554)
10 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Boxer is a platform manufactured here with engines also now UK made. If a wheeled system is what is judged best for modern shoot and scoot operation, it does seem the obvious longer term choice.
All of these wheeled SPGs look a bit ungainly. Both Cesar and Archer have to lower the gun from the platform before firing and return it before moving. RCH 155 doesn’t and can also fire on the move.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_833894)
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hi Pete, not sure by what you mean by lowering the gun from the platform before firing. The gun is not separated from the truck for firing. Both Caesar and Archer have the guns mounted via turntable to the truck’s chassis. Caesar parks the gun over the truck cab, securing it with a cradle. Archer automatically stows the gun barrel in an armoured box, which runs the full length of the trailer section behind the cab. Manpower wise, Caesar requires the gun to be manually aimed and loaded. Whereas Archer’s gun is remotely operated and mechanically loaded. Which means the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834099)
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Shoot and scoot is not a particulalary recent idea. Tracked SPGs can shoot and scoot too.

Patrick C
Patrick C (@guest_833612)
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

they are investing more in round technology such as the XM1133 and hypersonic projectile and have been trialling a 58 caliber

PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK
PAUL ANDREW KISTRUCK (@guest_833642)
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

From what I understand the US trialled a 65 calibre barrel to get longer range but it wore out significantly quicker than the 52s or 39s 7000 expected rounds through the tube . The thinking now is they can get the required range from just improved technology in the shell itself.