File Video Above: Army Builds New Self-Propelled Howitzer - Cannon Will Hit 70-Kilometers
The Army’s new M109A7 self-propelled howitzer, also known as the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) vehicle, entered full-rate production in early 2020 and is currently fielding across the Army.
The PIM is an upgraded vehicle engineered to fire precision rounds that can destroy enemy trucks, combat vehicles and force concentrations at long ranges. It has been under development for many years.
The PIM has improved power and mobility that support survivability upgrades and the capacity for further upgrades. Additionally, the system has a digital backbone, a six-hundred-volt onboard power system capable of supporting and sustaining a new generation of electronics, and targeting and computing technologies.
Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems told Warrior that the M109A7 variant will complete fielding to its seventh Field Artillery Battalion next year and has fielded to both Active Duty and National Guard units.
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M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer | Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) Vehicle: Weapons
The vehicle fires 155-millimeter artillery rounds, including GPS and inertial measurement unit-guided Excalibur rounds. Excalibur is designed to hit moving targets. Some rounds are capable of changing course in flight as needed to destroy hidden, obscured or otherwise unreachable enemy targets. The Army is also developing a highly lethal “shaped charge” round tailored for specific explosive effects.
The laser-guided “S” round Excalibur incorporates several key innovations to include seeker enhancements and laser-tracking sensors able to follow a “designator” or “spot.” This kind of laser designation can enable a “spot” to stay on a target as it moves.
Related File Video Above: Extended Range Cannon Artillery
The PIM has an electric gun drive and digital backbone, which supports a new generation of artillery that greatly enhances targeting, precision and blast effects. It is capable of accepting the military service’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) technology currently under development. This effort has already shown that an adjusted cannon can successfully fire precision-guided Excalibur rounds twice the distance of traditional artillery. Over the years, artillery was capable of firing roughly thirty kilometers, and the ERCA program has already demonstrated it can fire sixty-two to seventy kilometers.
The PIM supports modern tactics, strategies and combat maneuvers associated with a new generation of threats. Initially, artillery was thought of as an “area” weapon intended to lay down “suppressive” fire to enable forces to maneuver in combat. The advent of precision-targeting in recent decades has reshaped the way people see and use 155-millimeter weapons in combat. Moving forward, long-range precision-guided artillery can be used to pinpoint high-value targets on the move at unprecedented ranges amid fast-changing battlefields.