The U.S. Army has awarded Sterling Heights’ BAE Systems a $45 million contract for the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) Increment 1 prototype to increase the range and rate of fire on current and future M109A7 self-propelled howitzers. This development is in collaboration with the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center.
The 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 into the M109A7 and will require its current 39-caliber turret to be replaced with a 58-caliber, 30-foot-long gun barrel. This will create firepower double the current range.
“ERCA is a significant technological step forward for the Army’s artillery portfolio,” says Scott Davis, vice president of programs at 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 program aims to provide the extended range while maintaining the weight found in current systems to minimize 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 ERCA firing environment. PGK-AJ is compatible with existing and new long-range rounds for multiple firing platforms, including the M109 self-propelled howitzer.
The company currently is producing the M109A7 configuration for the Army in the low-rate initial production phase.
Development work on the ERCA Self Propelled Howitzer will take place at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal and Bae Systems’ facilities in Sterling Heights, Minneapolis, and York, Pa.