The US Army has awarded BAE Systems a $45 million contract for the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) Increment 1 prototype with the purpose of increasing the range and rate of fire on current and future M109A7 self-propelled howitzers.

BAE say that the development of ERCA is in collaboration with the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center.

“This prototype phase will address capability gaps in the Army’s indirect fire systems and improve the rate and range of fire with the development of power distribution software and hardware integration solutions.”

ERCA will be integrated onto the M109A7 and will require the M109A7’s current 39-caliber turret to be replaced with a 58-caliber, 30-foot long gun barrel with the objective of creating firepower double the current range.

“ERCA is a significant technological step forward for the Army’s artillery portfolio,” said Scott Davis, vice president or programs, BAE Systems’ Combat Vehicles business.

“We were selected based on our years of experience in the development of self-propelled howitzer systems. Long-range precision fire is a top priority for the Army, and we are pleased to be a partner in efforts to equip soldiers with the latest technology.”

The development programme, say BAE, aims to provide the crews with extended range while maintaining the weight found in current systems to minimise performance impacts on the chassis.

Under separate contracts, BAE Systems is also developing precision guidance kits with anti-jamming capabilities (PGK-AJ) that can operate in the challenging ERCA firing environment. PGK-AJ is compatible with existing and new long-range rounds for multiple firing platforms, including the M109 self-propelled howitzer.

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Nigel Collins

It’s always nice to see a Country who is aware of the looming problems we are facing now, and in the future, and give their military personal the full range of the latest equipment that they rightly deserve.

3% of GDP needs to be made available short term, along with monies from our foreign aid budget to get our armed forces back to a credible level where we can fully protect the UK and readjust thereafter.



Arguably any increase in funding should go head to head with the NHS and education. As a teacher, I have been very dismayed by the financial plight of our schools and FE colleges. To get to the state where staff and parents are having to fund toilet paper and classroom resources is a national disgrace. But, those that are making these decisions, most likely, were educated at public schools or elite grammar schools! Plenty of toilet paper in the Eton bogs I’ll bet!

Nigel Collins

“Plenty of toilet paper in the Eton bogs I’ll bet!”
And soft too. Back in the day, you could have used my schools to sand down the hulls of warships.

Fortunately, we no longer need it due to the lack of hulls!

Around £17 Billion allocated in foreign aid PA.

We cannot keep giving away what we clearly need ourselves.

An additional £12 Billion PA after Brexit into the treasury coffers, plus the possibility of a further £40+ Billion?

Why are we soo nieve?



And “elite grammar” schools presumably raise your heckles because … only the toilet paper is of a bog standard and not the education? You lot are always, “them and us” – I am tired of this divisive politics and attitudes. Is it not enough that most public school students’ parents struggle, horribly, to pay the fees, though they deem an excellent education worthy of the investment, of the sacrifice – grammar schools also up set you because… they select. So what? Different educational styles are appropriate for different educational needs and one needs to be able to determine the best… Read more »


Well thanks Nath…glad that you appreciate my experience in teaching over the last twenty years. I’m terribly sorry for those that struggle to pay £40,000 a year for their children’s education….we live in difficult times. As a full-time teacher of A levels in the Further Education sector I earned £26,000 last year. I have had students that couldn’t afford the bloody bus fare to get to college! There is a good percentage of this country that has no idea how most of the people live and try to survive! I don’t mean to be rude but you really are a… Read more »


Mate, I do appreciate your 20 years and my wife is now a deputy head. Because I did the Queen and Country bit, our decision was to put both of our children in private schooling. The reason was two fold, one – we moving around a lot and it screws up kids education. More importantly the state schools that were near us were quite frankly crap. My wife has been part of a hit team employed by the LEA to get schools out of special measures. However, that can take years and a lot of the schools problems are down… Read more »


Public schools are underfunded, and most politicians, having went to private schools, probably aren’t as appreciative of the issue or as distinctly aware of the reality of it as they otherwise could have been. Didn’t seem like he was having a go at private schools or there alumni and their parents. Chill.

I’m not gonna comment on the actual substance of your answer at this time as I think we’d be debating it all night haha. Good day.


For decades now we have operated a very low taxation economy. As the UK population expands, there arent the resources to meet the increased needs, that seems to be agreed by most people. But actually, most of that adult population increase are working age people who pay taxes, so tax revenues should be higher than ever and government spending should be increasing all the time. It isnt. THat is a political decision which has become an accepted norm of life in this country. Just imagine if corporation and income taxes went up by 1 or 2 percent how much more… Read more »


If you look at the overall tax rate, we are a high tax nation. However, in percentage terms, small business & the low paid are the hardest hit. Multinationals, tech giants, oligarchs, hedge funders & casino bankers, get away with paying little or no tax. You do not need to raise taxes, just close the loopholes & get the multinationals, tech giants, oligarchs, etc to pay their fair share of tax.

Neil Holdforth

We pay more tax now than we have done for decades…low tax economys thrive….they allow people to keep more of their cash and allow buisness to invest and expand and pay more employees…and im a former socialist so that sticks in my throat a bit but its true

Nick C

I appreciate that I am getting rather long in the tooth, but I always thought that a cannon was muzzle loaded and would still be recognised by Nelson. Yet it seems to be coming into main stream use for anything that goes bang, rather as any kind of offensive aircraft is always referred to as a fighter jet. Since all fighters today are multi role, and all jet propelled, it does seem rather silly. And this is not a dig just at the BBC, it seems to be a common journalistic practice.


Most journalists (non-aviation) wouldn’t know their aileron from their elevator!

James Harrington

Most publications post images of something different than their article refers to.


This is a US Army program and the US Army defines it as a cannon. Indeed, the US Army calls its artillery support units “cannon battalions” even though they are equipped with 155 mm howitzers.


Interesting I think it’s a bit like the difference between ale and beer which has become generally interchangeable over time by the looks of it. After a quick look up I was surprised to see breech loaders go back as far as the 14th C and there are references to Whitworth breech loading cannons so I suspect it probably was used non specifically in many quarters historically as they would generally look similar way back then and have the same function so the term starts to become generic in use. As ‘gun’ became a more common and modern term and… Read more »

Nick C

Thanks everyone for putting me right, now I know I really am out of step! When the pheasant season starts in October it’s good to know I will be carrying a small cannon rather than a 12 bore.


Fill it full of grapeshot and nobody would know the difference.

Daniele Mandelli

In BAOR Cold War days we had 3 Regiments of M109, the other 6 being on the venerable Abbott.

I’m interested as to why we replaced ours with AS90 and the Americans just kept and upgraded theirs.

It still works well enough?

That is truly decent to listen. much obliged to you for the upgrade and good fortunes.

That is truly decent to listen. much obliged to you for the upgrade and good fortunes.