Israel Defense Forces deploys M109A5 Self-Propelled Howitzers along Gaza Strip and Lebanese Border


In recent days, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have found themselves operating on multiple fronts, deploying M109A5 self-propelled 155mm howitzers both along the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese border. The deployment along the Gaza Strip is part of Israel's broader strategy to counter ongoing threats and infiltrations, particularly following a severe escalation that included the killing of 700 Israelis by Hamas gunmen. Concurrently, the IDF has also positioned M109A5 howitzers along the Lebanese border. These units were specifically activated for artillery strikes in response to a shooting incident from that area.
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Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have found themselves operating on multiple fronts, deploying M109A5 self-propelled 155mm howitzers both along the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese border. (Picture source: Israel Defense Forces)


In an unprecedented escalation of hostilities, the Israeli military is currently engaged in intense combat with Hamas terrorists in various locations in Southern Israel, particularly near the border with the Gaza Strip. The situation has deteriorated dramatically two days after gunmen from the Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens more. This marks the deadliest raid into Israeli territory since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. The Israeli Air Force has reported that approximately 5,000 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, constituting one of the largest attacks on Israel in recent history. In response, Israel has initiated Military Operation "Iron Swords" and declared a 'state of war.' Concurrently, the IDF has also positioned forces along the Lebanese border. These units were specifically activated for artillery strikes in response to a shooting incident from that area.

The Israeli M109A5 is a U.S.-designed self-propelled howitzer that has been in service for over 50 years and has undergone multiple upgrades. It made its combat debut with Israel in the October 1973 war against Egypt and Syria. The artillery system carries a 155mm/52-caliber L52 cannon that can fire six rounds per minute. While the M109A5 has been a reliable system, it is considered outdated, especially in terms of its defensive capabilities against modern threats like drones.

Israeli defense companies are currently competing for a $1 billion army program to replace the M109A5. Firms including Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems are considering partnerships with international companies such as Lockheed Martin and Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Defense. Two systems have emerged as the main candidates for replacement: Soltam Systems' Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer Systems and the Artillery Gun Module, also named DONAR, developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Munich, Germany.

The current conflict and the evolving nature of modern warfare underscore the need for Israel to update its artillery systems. The M109A5, despite its long service history and multiple upgrades, faces challenges in terms of its firing range and defensive capabilities against emerging threats like drones. The contenders for its replacement offer longer firing ranges and modern defensive features, making them strong candidates as Israel looks to modernize its artillery as part of its Fire2025 strategic investment plan. The deployment of the M109A5 howitzers along both the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese border indicates the IDF's multi-front preparedness and the critical role that artillery continues to play in Israel's defense strategy.