Artillery: January 8, 2001


United Defense has developed an export version of the M109A6 Paladin howitzer in order to remain competitive in the international market. The M109A6 has never been offered for export, and the M109A5 has been eliminated from several recent competitions for major overseas orders. Designated as the "International Howitzer", the new type is available either as a complete vehicle or as a turret that could be added to a rebuilt M109 chassis. The International Howitzer includes all of the features of the Paladin, such as integrated automatic fire control, on-board ballistic computer, digital communications, inertial and GPS navigation, automatic weapon pointing, embedded diagnostics, improved suspension and drive train, NBC protection, and heating and cooling. The International Howitzer includes the longer 52-caliber barrel, which reaches longer ranges than the 39-caliber barrel on US Army Paladins. There is a semi-automatic rammer to reduce crew fatigue and provide a rate of fire of up to six rounds per minute. The International Howitzer replaces the shock absorbers of the Paladin with a new hydro-pneumatic suspension system. The vehicle has a maximum road speed of 64 kilometers per hour. The International Howitzer uses 95% of the same parts as the Paladin.-Stephen V Cole


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