The US Army has awarded BAE Systems a $339 million contract for the production of 48 vehicle sets of M109A7 Self-propelled Howitzer (SPH) and its companion, the M992A3 Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT) vehicle.

According to a news release from BAE, the M109A7 SPH and M992A3 CAT vehicle set is a vital programme enhancement for “increased combat capability and sustainment of the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams”.

“The program offers enhanced indirect-fire artillery capabilities to the ABCTs with new technologies for power generation and survivability. The new M109A7 addresses long-term readiness and modernization needs of the M109 self-propelled howitzer family through a critical redesign and production plan that leverages today’s most advanced technology. Its state-of-the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability provides a more robust, survivable, and responsive indirect fire support capability for ABCT Soldiers. The M109A7 is a significant upgrade over the M109A6 as it enhances reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, lethality, and crew survivability.”

The initial contract was awarded in 2017 for low-rate production.

This most recent order brings the total number of M109A7 and M992A3 vehicle sets to 204, with a total contract value of $1.5 billion. The award follows the U.S. Army’s decision, announced in February, to commence full-rate production of the vehicle.

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Pacman27

interesting as it brings this in at $7m each.
I would like to see the UK replace their 155’s with the Boxer System and commit to that platform with a full range of air defence and suppressing fires options.

Great capability for the price though.

JohnHartley

The British military has long had the light, deployable M777 155mm on its wishlist. The USMC has 489 M777A1. They have announced plans to get rid of about three quarters, to spend the money on guided missiles instead. Might be a chance for the UK to get M777A1 on the cheap.

Pacman27

Not sure I agree John, yes its a great bit of kit, but does it fit in with our future doctrine. I want to see us field 20 integrated Strike battalions of 900 personnel(5 Brigades of 4.5k inc 1 bn of bgde support) that can operate independently or together. To do this we need to be agile and have a load of supressing fires (AAD, 120 mortars, MLRS, 155mm all on a boxer or supacat frame). The problem with fixed position guns is that they are effectively easy pickings once they fire – Boxer, Ceasar or Archer can shoot and… Read more »

Pigeon

You realise a Brigade (Bde) has effectively 6 Bns of support? The only British brigades which manage with less do so by combining Log/ES and Med – and then because they have very few vehicles and are either of limited self-mobility, or dependent upon other units/formations, including getting lots of Log and Med from them. HQ & Signals Sqn + Defence/Logs Coy Bde Artillery Regt Bde Engineer Regt Bde Logistics Regt Bde Equipment Spt Bn Bde Medical/Field Ambulance In Helmand the UK had over 10,000 people for basically 4 battlegroups. And they weren’t operationally mobile. Plus several thousand other nationalities… Read more »

Pacman27

HI Pigeon, I take your point and there is a massive logistics group behind all of this, if is after all less than 20k soldiers, but the whole point of boxer is it is lighter on logistics. Additionally times have moved on since WW2 and the UK has a massive and world class logistics chain for day to day life that is light years ahead of even 10 years ago. The army has 120k inc reserves, does it use those reserves wisely? I believe reserves should be logistics based to allow the Army to be more combat focused. The military… Read more »

Pigeon

A Boxer based force I doubt is less logistically demanding than the one we had in WW2. There were very few tracked vehicles percentage wise and a vast number of unarmoured and simple truck/jeeps – with a tiny, tiny fraction of the electronics to support. Spares could be bashed from any piece of metal and of course even the tanks were lighter than a full Boxer outfit (think Engineering route support). Gun calibres were lower with much less packaging and across the board HS&E standards were vastly below today’s. Talk of small, lethal and mobile is just words, it has… Read more »

DaveyB

Gents, I agree on both your points. The issue I think is that we are trying to do one thing without thinking how it should be achieved. On the face of it the Strike Brigade concept seems the answer to some of our prayers, as its supposed to be more mobile but also cheaper to equip, then a heavy brigade. However, as Napoleon said: “logistics, logistics is the key to winning a battle”, and that was back in 1812 at the start of the Russian campaign. What he said was true then as it is today. I agree that the… Read more »

Pacman27

Hi Pigeon I agree with you and there is a full spectrum core logistics footprint behind these 20k personnel. but these 20k personnel should be Able to operate autonomously for a given period of time. that is actually current doctrine with a company being able to support itself for 7 days. We would of course leverage our national infrastructure, it mad to say we wouldn’t if needed (where did all those merchant ships come from during the falklands) My preference is for a more agile land force that is all wheeled and no light infantry. I believe this can be… Read more »

Ron

JohnH., it looks like the USMC are getting rid of all of their M1A1 Abrams about 200, 16 Artillery batteries, four tilt rotor/ helicoptor squadrons and some F35s. I’m not sure but I think the USMC F35s are the B version. If that is the case then possibly the UK could pick up some equipment on the cheap, such as the F35Bs, V-22 Osprey, Artillery especially the M777 155mm and if possible HIMARS. Who knows if the USMC is getting rid of this equipment then maybe they are just going to scrap them so maybe we could get them for… Read more »

David

Hey Ron, I wish we could pick up some USMC equipment – especially the V-22s that the RN in particular really likes. It would be a nice fit for the QEC Battle Group. I just can’t help but wonder what effect this Coronavirus outbreak is going to have on the upcoming defence review at the end of the year and if any extra money that might have been allocated to the MOD will now vanish as part of the Coronavirus bail out. Maybe the defence review gets postponed? In any event, until we see the financial impact of the bailout… Read more »

Trevor

More defence spending might be useful if there is a need to kick start the economy.

JohnHartley

If I have read it right, the USMC is getting rid of one sqn of 12 MV-22 + one sqn of 9 UH-1Y Venom helos. They are also getting rid of some AH-1W + CH53E, but the UK would not want those. If the UK FAA could get 12x MV-22 + 9 UH-1Y Venom, it would boost our expeditionary forces at minimal cost. Remember the USMC M1A1 tanks have the deep fording kit for beach operations. They have over 400 of those. 25 for the Royal Marines would be good. I think if we ever came up against Putin’s “little… Read more »

Pigeon

So as the USMC, which is funded by a Country with 7?x the population and 10?x the economy, gets rid of MBTs, we should add them? What possible use would 12 MV22 and 9 UH1Y be? 2 completely new training and logs systems to duplicate the broad capabilities that Merlin and Wildcat offer. Why not, if we’ve money to spunk, spend it on more spares so we can up the availability of the force we have? Afterall, at the moment we have 7 A400 available from 22. So how many of those MV22/UH1Y would actually be available?, 4 & 3… Read more »

Pigeon

Plus of course, those V22/UH1s aren’t going to be for sale, they’ll just go into the attrition/maintenance pools for the remaining fleets.

I suspect they are being forced/heavily incentivised to do this as those pools are probably insufficient for their forward fleet as is, especially as the airframes age and less money than was expected is available for spares.

JohnHartley

The UK Military has lost roughly half the vertical lift it had about 12 years ago & we were short of it then. I would love to see a large order for new Wildcat, Merlin AW139/AW149, but given the budget issue, it is extremely unlikely. It is crazy to have 2x 65/70k aircraft carriers, but not have the aircraft to make maximum use of them. 2nd hand & cheap is better than nothing. Lots of Countries buy US surplus equipment. The logistic base for the USMC has not gone away. We can tap into that, as we & others do… Read more »

BB85

I guess it depends who we are more likely to end up in a conflict with.

Realistically it will be insurgents in North Africa or the Middle East so I can see why the M777 is ideal as it is air transportable and if we get them second hand from the US marines they would be great value.

Their main draw back as has been mentioned is lack of mobility and they are man power intensive compared to the mobile options like Archer and Boxer.

DaveyB

The USMC and Army used the 155 and HIMARS in Afghan. They both had fantastic reach. The 155 HE round had a massive effect compared to the 105 when it landed. In some instances our 105’s were better as they could be operated faster and by fewer personnel. It also had less collateral affect compared to the 155. The problem is if we ever got into a fight with a peer vs peer conflict, the 105 simply doesn’t have the range for the safe operation by the crews. However, the 105’s can be deployed and recovered in a 1/3 the… Read more »

pkcasimir

The USMC plans to reduce its F-35B and C’s by reducing the number of aircraft in each F-35 squadron from 16 to 10. The way they will do this is by not buying the number of aircraft they had planned to purchase; therefore, it’s unlikely there will have any surplus aircraft. The V-22 is in great demand and any excess V-22s most likely will be redistributed within the US military.

Pigeon

We have an towed airmobile system already that is tested, trained for, supported and works well. The Light Gun. Why spend precious money on replacing something that works when we aren’t investing in areas we desperately need to (CR2/WR upgrade or replacement). Above all, given our lack of helo lift, something that will never change – why would we want 155 for lighter forces with the massive impact that has on logistics, i.e trying to move a shell 3 times the weight. We don’t need the destructive effects of 155 either because of collateral and friendly forces concerns, and the… Read more »

BV Buster

The biggest issue with the 777 for airborne forces is that a light gun can be lifted with its Unimog support vehicle at the same time, you cant do this with a 777. I’m not sure what you are talking about regarding the destructive effects being too much (there I no such thing as to much HE), the process for firing danger close is the same with both systems, it doesn’t matter if its a large shell or a small one, you also loose the ability to fire exotic ammunition natures. You are right about light guns for light forces… Read more »

Pigeon

Of course you can have too much HE – collateral? use of 500lb vs 1000lb?

The process for danger close is the same, the numbers aren’t and obviously the size of shell changes that – there is a table stating the distances that goes from a 40mm grenade upto a 2000lb PW3.

Replacing SP Arty with towed is ignoring the lessons of the last century and incredibly stupid. It will cost lives.

BV Buster

You shouldn’t be limiting your offensive firepower just in case you have the rare event of firing them in an area that is close to civilians. That would be like removing SA-80 and replacing them all with Glocks because 5.56 over penetrates and could kill a civilian. ” 500lb vs 1000lb” = 2 targets or 4 targets, it spreads the love but still does the job, SDB does the same but is great for the highly congested arias, it does not however replace PW3. “The process for danger close is the same, the numbers aren’t and obviously the size of… Read more »