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M109 155mm SP Howitzer International Variants

The 155mm M109 series self-propelled medium howitzers are highly mobile systems that provide both direct (line-of-sight) and indirect (beyond line-of-sight) fire support to combat vehicles. Versions of the M109 self-propelled howitzers have been made available in the past for use by foreign nations. M109 systems classified as excess defense articles are available to foreign nations through foreign military sales cases.

  • M109A3G, German version of the M109, many improvements including new ordnance..
  • M109L, Italian M109 fitted with ordance of FH-70..
  • M109AL, Israeli version..
  • M109 Taiwan uses the M108/109 chassis but with a 155mm weapon in an open mount. The short barrel version uses ordnance of the towed M114, more recent version has new and longer ordnance..
  • M992, Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle, uses M109 chassis with fully enclosed rear hull to carry 155mm ammunition..
  • FDC, Fire Direction Centre or Fire Control Centre, uses M992 chassis and hull..

Because of the large population of M109 Self-Propelled 155mm howitzers world-wide, there was a need for a users’ conference geared specifically to FMS customers. In October 1999, a total of 33 representatives from twelve countries [Austria, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.] descended upon Jumer’s Castle Lodge in Bettendorf Iowa for the first FMS M109 howitzer users’ conference. These visitors teamed up with 150 CONUS-based US government personnel and ten security assistance organization representatives to receive briefings on timely topics relative to the M109 howitzer fleet, exchange ideas and make valuable contacts.

Although the conference forum provided a great deal of information on the M109 system, supportability, upgrades and enhancements, most participants agreed that information exchanged during breaks or sidebar meetings was invaluable. It was a most unique opportunity for country representatives to work directly with FMS case managers, item managers, engineers and representatives from other nations. Highlights of the conference included presentations by FMS country teams for Austria and Belgium on unique initiatives associated with their own M109 programs.

One of the most important lessons learned from this event had to do with briefing presentations by U.S. personnel. Although all briefings had been carefully reviewed by all cognizant Foreign Disclosure Officers for releaseability of data and by TACOM for technical content, the Americans did not fully anticipate audience reaction. Some of the briefings were far too specific for the general audience and at least one failed to address releaseability of the system being briefed to all participating countries. The most common error was failure by the briefer to recognize that they would be addressing an international audience. Some presentations were “canned” DoD briefings and many briefings were replete with acronyms that were not understood by our foreign counterparts.

On 24 May 2000 the government of Egypt requested a possible sale of 279 M109A2/A3 155mm self-propelled howitzers, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost was $48 million. Egypt will use these howitzers to replace aging Soviet towed artillery and to complement the modernization of the M1A1/M60A3 divisions.

The State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Brazil for M109A5+ upgrade kits and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $110 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Jun 11, 2014. The Government of Brazil requested a possible sale of 40 M109A5 kits to upgrade 40 M109A5 Self Propelled Howitzers to the M109A5+ configuration, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

Twelve M-109A5 howitzers were delivered to Punta Arenas in Southern Chile 08 December 2014 as part of the US Army Security Assistance Command's foreign military sales program. Declared excess defense articles, the howitzers proved a win-win for both the Chilean army and the United States. EDA are equipment that are excess to Army requirements or no longer part of the Army inventory and have been designated available to approved international partners through the FMS process. Using the FMS process to divest the U.S. of these items has numerous benefits -- building partner capacity in a low-cost and effective manner; saving on potential storage and demilitarization costs; and offering opportunities for modernization, repair, renewal, and refurbishment work of EDA and FMS by public-private partnerships at U.S. depots.

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Page last modified: 29-08-2016 19:32:29 ZULU