UK purchases 20 M109 155mm howitzers from Belgian company for Ukrainian army

According to information published by the Ukrainian News Agency "Ukrinform" on June 18, 2022, the United Kingdom purchased and refurbished more than 20 M109 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers from a Belgian company and will send them to Ukraine.
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Belgian army M109A4BE 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source FTS)

On June 4, 2022, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that the Belgian private company Flanders Technical Supply (FTS) delivered to Ukraine a stock of 64 M109A4 howitzers which had been purchased by the company from the Belgian army in 2015.

According to this new information, it seems that the purchase of the M109 howitzers would have been made by the United Kingdom. Citing information from the British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, the United Kingdom has purchased and refurbished more than 20 M109 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers from a Belgian company that has been sent to Ukraine.

In fact, in 2015, the Belgian private company Flanders Technical Supply (FTS) bought 64 M109A4BE 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers which were previously used in several artillery battalions of the Belgian army. In 2008, the Belgian army withdrew from active service 64 M109A4BE 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers.

When retired in 2008, the Belgian M109A2/A3 155mm self-propelled howitzers have just been modernized to M109A4 BE standard through an “MLU M109 program” (Mid-life Update)

The M109A4BE of the Belgian army has a similar layout to the original M109A2/A3 and it keeps the 155 mm/39 caliber cannon with gun mount 178. It has a firing range from 18.5 to 23.5 km. It is fitted with the SAL (Semi-Automatic Loader) with Breech Activating Device (BAD) and Temperature Measurement System (TMS) that increases the firing rate to 3 rounds within the first 20 seconds and a total of 6 rounds within the first minute. The turret has a traverse of 360° with an elevation from -5° to +75°.

The M109A4BE is operated by a crew of six including 2 loaders, 1 gunner, 1 assistant gunner, 1 commander, and one driver. It has a combat weight of 24,948 kg with a length of 9.12 m, a width of 3.15 m, and a height of 3.28 m. The howitzer is powered by a Detroit 8V-71 Turbo Diesel engine coupled to an Allison XTG411-series transmission. It can run at a maximum road speed of 64 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 350 km.

It will be very easy for Ukrainian soldiers to operate these M109s since Norway has already donated M109A3GNs howitzers to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and these are already deployed for combat operations against Russian forces.

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