Artillery: November 25, 2000


: RDM Technology has begun trials of an M109 self propelled 155mm howitzer modified to a new standard the company calls M109-2000. The 2000 package was designed as a private venture for those countries that are still using M109s. The company insists that it can turn existing M109s into highly effective latest generation weapons at a fraction of the cost of buying a new system such as the AS90 Braveheart, PzH2000, or Crusader. Some of the 30 systems upgraded include: 

@ A new 52-caliber barrel (52 times the bore diameter of 155mm) able to fire base-bleed shells to 40km or more.

@ A new breech mechanism and breech sealing ring.

@ A multi-slotted muzzle brake.

@ A ten-cartridge magazine to automatically feed primers to the cannon. Laser ignition is available as an option.

@ A flick rammer which provides a burst rate of fire of three rounds in ten seconds.

@ A Laser Inertial Automatic Pointing System by British Aerospace provides precise location and has a route planning capability.

@ The turret traverse and weapon elevation systems have been upgraded.

@ A small radar is mounted over the gun tube to track the muzzle velocity of the shells. This information is then fed to the ballistic computer to adjust the aim of next round.

@ A laser rangefinder is provided in case the cannon must be used in direct-fire mode.

@ A new auxiliary unit and nuclear-biological-chemical protection system are mounted in an enlarged turret bustle.

@ A larger engine is available but the original 450hp engine is considered adequate.

@ The crew is reduced from six people to four.

The upgrade package can be configured for any customer, leaving out some items or using a specific item of technology that the customer wants included.--Stephen V Cole


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