Artillery: August 24, 2004


: The U.S. Army is buying new M119A1 towed 105mm howitzers. The armys reorganization into light brigade combat teams has created a need for more cannons to spread around, another 111 for active duty units and 164 for reserve units. Previously, the army had planned to remanufacture its existing stock of older M102 towed howitzers, originally fielded in the 60s and 70s. But the new M119 will be close to the same price as the refurbished M102s, and will have much greater capability. Fielding the newer cannon will allow the army to consolidate howitzer types; currently, the army has seven types of 105 and 155mm cannons, including the M119A1. 

The M102 was first fielded in 1964, requires a crew of 8, and has a range of 11,500 meters using standard ammunition, 15,100 meters with rocket-assisted ammunition. It fires all standard NATO 105mm ammunition but not newer extended range ammo. Built by a partnership between the United Kingdom and the United States, the M119A1 was first fielded by the U.S. Army in 1989, has a crew of 7, a range of 14,000 meters with standard ammunition and 19,500 meters with rocket-assisted rounds. It fires all standard NATO ammunition plus the M760 and M913 extended range rounds. The U.S. Army first became interested in the M119A1 based upon the effective use of the cannon in the Falkland Islands. 

Ultimately, the Army is thinking about going down to three cannons: the M119A1 105mm towed howitzer, the M777 155mm towed howitzer, and the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C), a tracked self-propelled 155mm howitzer. The M777 is in low-rate production while the army would like to field the NLOS-C in 2008 to replace the M106A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzer. Doug Mohney


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