Artillery / Self-propelled howitzers / M109

M109

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Self-propelled howitzer

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    M109G (German M109)
    M109A2-90 (Upgraded Dutch M109A2)
    M109A3G (German M109A3)
    M109A3GN (Norwegian M109A3G)
    M109A5Ö (M109A5 with Austrian upgrades)
    Panzerhaubitze 66 (Swiss M109)
    Panzerhaubitze 66/74 (Swiss M109 upgraded to A1B standard)
    Panzerhaubitze 74 (Swiss M109A1B)
    Panzerhaubitze 88 (Swiss M109A2)
    Panzerhaubitze 88/95 (Swiss KAWEST)
    ReStPz M109 (Austrian M109 converted to fire control vehicle)

  • DESIGNED
    1954 - 1961 (M109)
    1970 - 1971 (M109L)

  • DESIGNER
    ?

  • PRODUCTION
    1962 - present (US models)
    1986 - 1992 (M109L)

  • PRODUCERS
    United States

  • QUANTITY
    Well over 6.000 M109
    280 upgraded to M109L
    348 upgraded to KAWEST
    Over 900 FAASV

  • UNIT COST
    M109A6: 1.2 million US dollar in 2001

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited production costs
    Good range and firepower in later models
    Limited range in original M109
    Low power to weight ratio
    No NBC system

Introduction

The M109 is a tracked self-propelled howitzer of US origin. It was developed from 1956 to 1961 to replace the older M44. The M109 has a little brother in the form of the M108 which is armed with a smaller 105mm gun.

Layout

The M109 has a conventional layout with the driver in the front and the drive train to his right. The turret is mounted in the rear and houses the other crew members. The crew of six consists of a commander, driver, gunner and three loaders. The M109A6 Paladin has a reduced crew of four.

Firepower

The original M109 was fitted with a short 155mm M126 howitzer that provides a maximum range of 14.6km. Later models were fitted with the longer M185 howitzer with a maximum range of 18.1km. The latest models use the M284 cannon that can fire extended range ammunition out to 30km. The maximum rate of fire is 4 rounds a minute, with one round per minute being standard. A total of 36 projectiles are carried. For self-defense a 12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun is fitted on the turret roof.

Protection

The M109 is operated under full armor protection. The aluminum armor provides protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. Later versions are fitted with an NBC system. The M109A6 greatly increases crew survivability due to its improved ammunition stowage and safety features.

Mobility

The M109 has a reasonable cross country ability due to its tracked chassis. The average speed is somewhat limited. A Detroit Diesel 405hp diesel engine provides propulsion.

Users

The M109 entered US service in 1963. It was exported to most Western European nations and many US allies around the world. In its service life the M109 saw a lot of improvements. Some nations have replaced the M109 with newer self-propelled howitzers.

Variants

M109

The M109 is the original version of the M109 family. It is fitted with the short 155mm M126 howitzer. Most have been upgraded to later versions with longer guns.

  • Specifications:
  • M109
TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew6 (commander, driver, gunner, 3 loaders)
Length6.11 m (hull), 6.61 m (gun forward)
Width3.15 m
Height3.28 m (incl MG)
Ground clearance0.45 m
Weight23.8 t combat load
Ground pressure0.78 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetriot Diesel 8V71T turbo diesel, 405 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio17.0 hp/t
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-2A cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed56 km/h
Fuel511 L
Range
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient
FordingAmphibious with preparation
ArmorAluminum, up to 32 mm
NBC equipmentNo
Night vision?
SmokeNo
Remarks-
Armament155mm M126 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm M126 howitzer
28 rounds
-3 to +75°, 7/s powered
360° traverse, powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
500 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

M109A1

The M109A1 is an M109 with a longer 155mm M185 L/39 gun. The M109A2 is an M109A1 with an improved loading rammer and recoil mechanism. The M109A3 adds a new gun mount and reliability and safety upgrades. The M109A4 is an M109A2 or A3 with an improved NBC system and reliability upgrades.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew6 (commander, driver, gunner, 3 loaders)
Length6.11 m (hull), 9.05 m (gun forward)
Width3.15 m
Height3.28 m (incl MG)
Ground clearance0.45 m
Weight24.1 t combat load
Ground pressure0.80 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetriot Diesel 8V71T turbo diesel, 405 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio16.8 hp/t
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-2A cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed56 km/h
Fuel511 L
Range350 km
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient
FordingAmphibious with preparation
ArmorAluminum, up to 32 mm
NBC equipmentNo
Night vision?
SmokeNo
Remarks-
Armament155mm M185 L/39 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm M185 L/39 howitzer
28 rounds
-3 to +75°, 7°/s powered
360° traverse, powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
500 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

M109L

The M109L is an Italian upgrade of the M109G. The M109L is fitted with the 39-caliber ordnance of the towed FH-70 howitzer. As a result it also uses the same family of 155mm ammunition. The M109L has a maximum range of 24 km with standard ammunition and 30 km with rocket assisted munitions.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew6 (commander, driver, gunner, 3 loaders)
Length6.26 m (hull), 8.13 m (gun forward)
Width3.30 m
Height3.28 m (incl MG)
Ground clearance0.47 m
Weight20.0 t unloaded, 24.8 t combat weight
Ground pressure0.68 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width, 2.77 m track
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetroit Diesel 8V71T turbo diesel, 405 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio16.3 hp/t
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-2A cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed56 km/h
Fuel511 L
Range349 km on road
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient?
Fording?
Armor?
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionYes
Smoke2x3 smoke grenade dischargers
Remarks-
Armament155mm L/39 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm L/39 FH-70 howitzer
28 rounds
-3 to +75°, powered
360° traverse, powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
500 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

M109A5

The M109A5 is an M109A4 that uses the same 155mm M284 L/39 cannon as used on the M109A6 Paladin. As a result the M109A5 has an even greater range than the older M109 models.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew6 (commander, driver, gunner, 3 loaders)
Length?
Width3.15 m
Height3.28 m (incl MG)
Ground clearance0.45 m
Weight?
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetriot Diesel 8V71T turbo diesel, 405 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio?
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-2A cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed56 km/h
Fuel511 L
Range350 km
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient
Fording1.1 m
ArmorAluminum, up to 32 mm
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionYes
SmokeNo
Remarks
Armament155mm M284 L/39 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm M284 L/39 howitzer
? Rounds
-3 to +75°, 7°/s powered
360° traverse, 11°/s powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
500 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

M109 KAWEST

The M109 KAWEST is a series of upgraded Swiss M109A1 and A2. The KAWEST is fitted with a much longer L/47 howitzer which greatly increases the effective range. Standard ammumnition can be fired up to 26.1 km and assisted ammunition up to 36.4 km. A semi-automatic loader allows a burst of 3 rounds in 15 seconds or 8 rounds per minute. Additional upgrades include an increased ammunition stowage at the rear of the turret, improved navigation and positioning systems, a fire supression system and electrical improvements. The M109L47 upgrade by RDM Technology designed for the United Arab Emirates uses the same L/47 barrel, but all other upgrades differ from the KAWEST.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew6 (commander, driver, gunner, 3 loaders)
Length7.28 m (hull), 11.33 m (gun forward)
Width3.18 m
Height3.20 m
Ground clearance0.38 m
Weight27 t combat weight
Ground pressure0.88 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetriot Diesel 8V71T turbo diesel, 405 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio15.0 hp/t
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-2A cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed60 km/h
Fuel500 L
Range350 km
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient
Fording1.1 m
ArmorAluminum, up to 32 mm
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionYes
SmokeNo
Remarks-
Armament155mm L/47 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm L/47 howitzer
40 rounds
powered
360° traverse, powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
500 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

M109A6 Paladin

The M109A6 is a much improved version. It received the official US nickname Paladin. The M109A6 features a much higher level of automation, reducing the crew from 6 to 4. The safety of the crew has also been greatly increased. The 155mm M284 L/39 cannon is also able to fire assisted projectiles.

TypeSelf-propelled howitzer
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Length6.89 m (hull), 9.75 m (gun forward)
Width3.92 m
Height3.24 m (incl MG)
Ground clearance0.44 m
Weight28.8 t combat load
Ground pressure0.96 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetriot Diesel 8V71T LHR turbo diesel, 440 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio15.3 hp/t
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-4 cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed56 km/h
Fuel503 L
Range346 km
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient, 40% slope
Fording1.1 m
ArmorAluminum, up to 32 mm
NBC equipment?
Night visionYes
SmokeNo
Remarks-
Armament155mm M284 L/39 howitzer
12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon1155mm M284 L/39 howitzer
39 rounds
-3 to +75°, 7°/s powered
360° traverse, 11°/s powered
non-stabilized
Weapon212.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on turret roof
500 rounds, 100 ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

M992 FAASV

The M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle (FAASV) is an ammunition carrier based on the M109 chassis. The turret has been replaced by an enclosed superstructure. It carries a total of 90 rounds that can be conveyed to a M109 through a conveyor belt in the rear of the FAASV. A Fire Direction Center (FDC) has been developed on the same chassis and superstructure as the FAASV.

  • Specifications:
  • M992
TypeAmmunition carrier
Crew2 + 6 (commander, driver, 6 passengers)
Length?
Width?
Height?
Ground clearance0.45 kg
Weight25.9 kg combat load
Ground pressure0.85 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 7 roadwheels, drive sprocket front, idler rear, 3.96 m length, 0.38 m width
Turn radiuspivot
EngineDetroit Diesel 8V71T turbo diesel, 405 hp at 2.300 rpm
Power ratio15.6 hp/t
TransmissionAllison XTG-411-2A cross-drive, 4 forward, 2 reverse
Speed64 km/h
Fuel?
Range?
Wall0.5 m
Trench1.8 m
Gradient60% gradient
Fording1.1 m
ArmorAluminum, up to 32 mm
NBC equipmentNo
Night visionYes
SmokeNo
RemarksCarries 93 155mm rounds
Armament12.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun
Weapon112.7mm M2HB heavy machine gun on roof
100 rounds ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

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