Sterling Heights-based BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Army to begin full-rate production of the company’s M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer and M992A3 ammunition carrier vehicles. The contract includes an initial $413.7 million award to execute the third and final option for low-rate initial production on the program, with additional options that could bring the cumulative value of the contract to $1.7 billion.
BAE Systems will initially produce 48 vehicle sets, with the options calling for 60 sets per year for approximately three years of deliveries after that during full-rate production. An upgrade to its predecessor the M109A6, the M109A7 program features a new chassis design for improved performance, upgraded survivability, and components common to other Army vehicles.
“We have been working with the Army to design, develop, build, and test this vehicle for several years,” says Adam Zarfoss, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ combat vehicles U.S. business. “By working closely with our customer, we were able to design a vehicle that meets the needs of the current forces and provides the system infrastructure and electrical power generation that leaves ample room to incorporate future capabilities.”
The M109A7 uses the existing main armament and cab structure of the M109A6, but replaces the vehicle’s chassis structure with a new design that integrates drive-train and suspension components common to the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The commonality reduces the overall program costs and logistical footprint by providing improved mobility and system survivability to maintain dominance on the battlefield.
The M109A7 also leverages technologies from previous design programs including 600-volt on-board power generation, distribution, and management system, paired with a high-voltage electric gun drive and projectile ramming systems.
Work on the M109A7 is currently underway at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama, and at BAE Systems’ facilities in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Minnesota, and New York.