If you have been following the latest developments in military hardware, you would have heard about the new howitzer the U.S. Army has been developing. What you see here is the new Army howitzer that has been development under its Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program and it is now officially designated M1299. M1299 is a brand new 155mm turreted self-propelled howitzer developed in response to the evolving threats (we don’t tell you what threats, do we?).
It was somewhat of a military technology marvel as it boasts two new technologies that enable the gun system to fire farther and with astounding accuracy. During testing at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in March, the ERCA gun demonstrated that it could hit targets with pinpoint accuracy at a range of 62 kilometers (38.5 miles), doubling that of M109A7 Paladin and over 20 km over what the M777 towed 155mm artillery piece is capable of. And mind you, this thing here is a SP howitzer.
But 62 clicks is merely the appetizer; with the experimental new XM113 rocket-assisted artillery shell and a longer 58 calibre tube that could potentially boost the range from 38 to 70 kilometers (23.6-43.5 miles), and eventually to an astonishing 100 kilometers (62 miles!). Pretty insane for a self-propelled artillery, if you ask me. The M1299 will further boasts a fully automated ammunition loading system that will crank up the gun’s rate of fire to 10 rounds per minute from the typical 3 r.p.m. Super long range of fire, rapid development by the virtue of it being a self-propelled howitzer and fast rate of fire sounds like a perfect recipe for deadly weaponry.
Anywho, that was the gun system, btw. We do know the body it will be getting – if it will even get one, or will the gun system gets incorporated in existing platforms. That said, according to a report, BAE Systems have been awarded the contract “to integrated various elements of the ERCA system into the service’s existing and future Paladin howitzers.” So, perhaps a M109AX?
Images: U.S. Army.
Source: Task & Purpose.