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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.
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.
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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:
M-109 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer Photo Gallery