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M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer

The M109 series of 155mm self-propelled howitzers was first introduced in 1962, replacing the M44 155mm self-propelled howitzer. The M109 was used in the Vietnam War. Continually upgraded and improved, it is still the primary indirect fire support weapon of maneuver brigades of armored and mechanized infantry divisions.

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M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer

The first model M109 had a very short barrel tipped with a double baffle muzzle brake and with a large fume extractor (bore evacuator) mid-barrel. The versions deployed to Southwest Asia were the M109A2 or later models with a longer gun tube than the M109 or M109A1 varients.

The M109A2, M109A3 and M109A4 howitzers used the M185 cannon with a range of 23,500 meters. The range was increased to 30,000 meters with the M109A5 and M109A6 by replacement of the M185 23 caliber long barrel with the M284 cannon 39-caliber barrel.

The M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer fires a variety of 98 pound 155mm munitions including High Explosive, Illuminating, Smoke, Rocket Assisted and Laser Guided. It can carry 22 rounds of separate loading 155mm ammunition and 500 rounds of machine gun ammo for the M2 .50 caliber machine gun mounted on top.

The 55,000 pound M109 has a maximum road speed of 35 mph, with a driving range of nearly 220 miles without refueling. The M109 is used extensively by NATO forces and other countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.

M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer (Paladin)

The M109A6, named the Paladin, is the latest variant of the M109 series, the result of an improvement program completed in 1990. The Paladin's improvements included a new cannon with a 25 percent increase in maximum range to 30 kilometers, improved crew protection against artillery fragmentation and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) hazards, automatic fire control, a position-locating device, SINCGARS radios, driver's night vision capability, and built-in test equipment. The Army planned to procure 824 Paladins, and production began in October 1991.

The M109A6 (Paladin) howitzer is the most technologically-advanced self-propelled cannon system in The U.S. Army. The A6 designation identifies evolutionary changes to earlier models that provide improvements to weapon survivability, responsiveness, reliability, availability and maintainability, armament and terminal effects.

The M109 155mm SP Paladin Integrated Management, or M109 PIM, is slated to begin low-rate initial production in 2013. The 40-ton, next-generation 155mm Howitzer artillery cannon is able to fire precision rounds, accommodate additional armor protections and power more on-board electrical systems. The M109 PIM chassis and drive train will be modified to use components of the M2/M3 Bradley vehicles to increase commonality of logistics and maintenance.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer, during the Vietnam war period.  Photo: Olive-Drab.com LLC.
2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, Kentucky National Guard, assigned to XXIV Corps, Vietnam, circa 1968.  Vehicle is M-109 155mm SP Howitzer. Courtesy Kentucky National Guard.
M109 155mm self-propelled artillery from the Steel Dragons of 2d Battalion, 82d Field Artillery (2-82 FA) of the 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TS.
Paladin FAASV repairers from Anniston Army Depot, AL, in front of an M109 155mm howitzer, Baghdad, Iraq, March 2011.
As the Army responsibly draws down from Iraq, Logisticians need to move more than 3 million pieces of equipment, such as this M992 field artillery ammunition supply vehicle (FAASV), the companion for the M109 155mm SP howitzer.  Markings indicate 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, in Iraq 2008-2009.
2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, Kentucky National Guard, circa 1968.   M-109 self-propelled 155mm howitzers on rail cars in preparation for movement to Vietnam. Courtesy Kentucky National Guard.

M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (FAASV)

The M109 howitzer is served by the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (FAASV). FAASV is a full-tracked companion to the M109 built on a 2-feet extended chassis of the M109-series howitzer. It replaced the Carrier, Cargo, Full-Tracked, 6 Ton, M-548. M992 FAASV is also referred to as the Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked (CAT).

Several variants of the M992 FAASV have been fielded, including the A1 and A2.

The M992 FAASV carries up to 90 conventional 155mm rounds for the M109, filling two racks of 45 each. In addition, three M712 Copperhead rounds are provided for. Crews transfer the ammunition from the M992 FAASV to the M109 using a conveyor system or by hand. The M992 has a small diesel engine auxiliary power generator for its own needs plus that of the M109, via a slave cable, so the main engines can be shut down when not needed to move the vehicles.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (FAASV) at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

Two M109A2 Self-Propelled Howitzers, on the outside, and an M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV) in the center. Members of Howitzer Battery, 3rd ACR, take a break while waiting for their turn during a direct fire exercise on Range 141 at Fort Carson, CO, 22 June 1999.  Carrier, Cargo, Full-Tracked, 6 Ton, M-548 partially visible at left (crane boom).
M110 203mm (8 inch) self-propelled howitzer (left) with an M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV), modified to support the M110 howitzer.
Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (M992 FAASV) (left) delivers ammunition to a M-109A6 Paladin howitzer, circa November 2012. Both vehicles now ride on new chassis derived from the Bradley.
US Army SSGT Anothy Allen directs an M992 Field Artilery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV) into place during an exercise at Camp Shelby, MS, 19 April 2007. U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina Army National Guard are currently performing their annual Brigade training at Camp Shelby.
Anniston Army Depot, AL, final inspection process, 13 September 2012.  Tracked vehicles at the left, front are the Carrier, Cargo, Full-Tracked, 6 Ton, M-548.  At back on the left are two of the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle (FASSV).  On the right, M1 Abrams tank. Vehicle on left marked 21 looks like an APC but is unidentified.
Wheeled and tracked military vehicles disembark from MSC large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Brittin, Bremerhaven, Germany, 2004. Lead vehicle is the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle for the M109 155mm howitzer, followed by an M939 5-ton 6x6 truck and FMTV truck.  In FY 2004, the US Navy Sealift Program delivered the combat cargo and equipment needed by U.S. forces engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom and other theaters of operation.

M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer Photo Gallery

M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer. Photo: Zupanja, Croatia, 1996
M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer. Photo: Zupanja, Croatia, 1996.

M-109A2 at 1st Cavalry Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005.  Photo:  Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-109A2 at 1st Cavalry Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-109A2 at 1st Cavalry Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005.  Photo:  Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-109A2 at 1st Cavalry Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer on transporter, Interstate 20, Ft. Worth, TX. Photo:  Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M-109 155mm howitzer on transporter, Interstate 20, Ft. Worth, TX. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

Two M-109 howitzers on transporters, 2005. Photo:  Courtesy of Bob Pettit
Two M-109 howitzers on transporters, 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

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