Elbit Systems to provide self propelled howitzers to Israeli army

Elbit Systems announced on 27 March that it was awarded an approximately $125 million (NIS 460 million) contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to supply fully automatic self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The contract, which also includes the supply of training simulators, will be performed over a 12-year period.

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Battery 402 of the Artillery Corps of Israeli Defense Forces trained rigorously in the Negev to perfect their combat skills using M109 Doher 155mm self-propelled howitzer.  (Picture source: Israeli MoD)

The IMOD and Elbit Systems intend that further part of the automatic howitzer gun systems program, under an additional contract to the company in an amount that is expected to be material, will be performed by various U.S. companies including Elbit Systems of America, LLC, subject to completion of the receipt of applicable governmental approvals for the U.S. content. The automatic howitzers will gradually replace the existing artillery platforms of the IDF.

The new automatic howitzer system is based on know-how and experiences the company accumulated over decades of supplying artillery systems to numerous armed forces. It is capable of automatic loading and laying. According to the applicable mission, the new gun system automatically selects the required projectile, propellant and fuze, loads them and lays the gun to optimally engage targets. The new howitzer gun system will enhance the effectiveness of the artillery formation of the IDF while reducing the number of soldiers in each platform and significantly reduce life-cycle costs.

Bezhahel Machlis, president and CEO of Elbit Systems, commented: “We are proud to take part in building the future artillery formation of the IDF. This contract award is a vote of confidence in Israeli defense technology and an acknowledgment of the international leadership of Elbit Systems in the area of artillery systems. We believe that effective integration of precision, rapidity and autonomy together with built-in connectivity to the communication and command & control systems will become the required standard. We are witnessing a growing need for advanced and reliable artillery systems that enable powerful and efficient operation in all combat configurations.

Currently, the M109 Doher tracked self-propelled howitzer is the backbone of the artillery units of the Israeli Defence Forces. This artillery howitzer is based on the American-made M109A5.

The M109A5 is a modified M109A4 it consists of two major improvements: a new M284 cannon and a new M182 gun mount. These improvements provide the M109A5 with greater range and allow for sustained fire for prolonged periods of time. The main armament consists of one 155mm cannon which has a maximum firing range of 30 km with rocket-assisted projectiles.