The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract that opens full-rate production for the service’s M109A7 self-propelled howitzer and M992A3 ammunition carriers.
The initial $413.7 million portion is to complete the third and final option for low-rate initial production on the program. If the full-rate production options are exercised, the contract’s value expands to around $1.7 billion.
The M109A7 program upgrades its predecessor, the M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer, by implementing a new chassis design that increases survivability and allows for the integration of drive-train and suspension components common to the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
The new M109A7 also uses technologies from previous design programs — such as a 600-volt on-board power generation, distribution, and management system — used with a high-voltage electric gun drive and projectile ramming systems. The state-of-the-art digital backbone and power generation ability ensures growth potential for future payloads and usability with existing battlefield network requirements.
BAE Systems will initially produce 48 vehicle sets, with the options calling for 60 sets per year, which will result in approximately three years of deliveries thereafter during full-rate production. [source]