The US Army’s Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) programme has enlisted the R&D powerhouse of BAE Systems for additional engineering design, logistics development and test evaluation support.
The additional support will help complete the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the US Army’s PIM programme – the latest howitzer in the M109 family of vehicles.
The most recent business between the two firms involved a $63.9 million R&D contract in August 2009 to produce five self-propelled Howitzers as well as two other hi-tech vehicles. The seven prototypes were delivered on schedule in May last year.
The $313m contract was awarded to BAE Systems by US Army TACOM (Tactical Command), and is expected to begin next month, with completion expected at the beginning of 2015.
The new howitzer uses the existing armament and structure of a Paladin M109A6, but replaces previous vehicle chassis components with more up to date components common to the Bradley family of vehicles. These are incorporated in a more heavily fortified and thus more survivable chassis structure.
PIM incorporates a state-of the-art ‘digital backbone’ and power generation capability, and boasts a number of electronic weapons/deterrents, including electric elevation and traverse drives, electric rammer and digital fire control system.
Joe McCarthy, vice president and general manger of Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems said: “Since we built and delivered the seven PIM prototype vehicles last year, we have completed all contractor tests, as well as Phase One of the Army’s Developmental Test.”
He added: “The additional funding that we are receiving through this contract will allow us to support the remainder of the Army’s rigorous test program and complete the production planning efforts in support of the low-rate initial production decision.”