BAE Systems and Rheinmetall upgrade Next-Gen M109-52 Self-Propelled Howitzer with enhanced lethality and range


In a recent announcement on October 9, 2023, Rheinmetall disclosed the successful test firing of 155-millimeter projectiles from a modified M109 Self-Propelled Howitzer equipped with a Rheinmetall L52 155mm, 52-caliber cannon. The test was a collaborative effort with BAE Systems and was conducted at Camp Ripley, Minnesota. This modification, known as the M109-52, serves as a significant upgrade to the existing 39-caliber cannon, offering enhanced range capabilities essential for large-scale combat operations.
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Rheinmetall disclosed the successful test firing of 155-millimeter projectiles from a modified M109 Self-Propelled Howitzer equipped with a Rheinmetall L52 155mm, 52-caliber cannon. (Picture source: BAE System and Rheinmetall)


Dan Furber, the director of Ground Vehicle Production for BAE Systems' Combat Mission Systems business, stated that the integrated system of the M109-52 offers a viable solution for the modernization needs of long-range precision fires. He emphasized that the integration of these two well-established artillery systems results in stable designs and predictable performance.

The test at Camp Ripley confirmed the compatibility of the L52 cannon with the M109A7 platform during live fire exercises. BAE Systems has plans to conduct additional testing in 2024, focusing on the extended range of capabilities across a variety of projectiles. The L52 cannon is NATO JBMOU standard compliant and has been formally approved, ensuring interoperability with allied forces.

The L52 artillery cannon is already in use by nine NATO and allied partner nations' tactical artillery forces. BAE Systems' ability to integrate the proven M109 with established cannon platforms like the L52 is expected to provide immediate expanded interoperability with battlefield partners from day one.

As a reminder, the M109A7 program enhances the reliability, maintainability, performance, responsiveness, and lethality of the combat-proven M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer and M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles (FAASV) while providing increased commonality within the U.S. Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT).

The M109A7 is the latest howitzer in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, the primary indirect fire support system for the ABCTs. It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a M109A6 Paladin, and replaces the vehicle’s chassis components with modem components common to the Bradley vehicle. The improved chassis structure provides greater survivability and commonality with the existing systems in the ABCT, reducing operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.