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Cardom 155mm self-propelled gun

In IsraelDefense issue No. 6 (January-February 2012), the IDF's Chief Artillery Officer, Brigadier General David Swisa, stated that the Artillery Corps is interested in a new platform. "As long as my voice is heard, I will not recommend upgrading forty-year-old weapons to anyone. These self-propelled howitzers are coming apart. It would be like trying to upgrade an old car," Swisa explains. The procurement of new self-propelled cannons will be pursued in coming discussions in the IDFs next five-year plan (2013-2017).

The IDF multi-year budget plan Te'uzah (Valor) for the years 2014-2018 includes a project involving the renewal of the self-propelled guns. The Ground Forces Command was interested in a 52 caliber autonomous cannon with a 155mm barrel, high rate of fire, and a crew which is as small as needed for its operation. But fielding a new artillery platform in the numbers required by the IDF would represent a financial burden the IDF would be hard to accept. The IDF Israeli Artillery Corps next self-propelled gun, designated Cardom "Hatchet" should not be confused with the Cardom Israeli 81mm/120mm Recoil Mortar System (RMS), manufactured by Soltam Systems.

"Israel Defense" reported that in February 2013 Lockheed Martin, KMW of Germany and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed a cooperation agreement for joint production for the IDF. The development began after a decision was made in IDF Ground Forces Command to begin the replacement of the IDFs self-propelled gun during the next five years. The IDF is interested in taking the M-109 cannon (Doher") out of service, having been in IDF service for nearly four decades. The new self-propelled gun system project, like other projects, will be based on financing through US aid funds, so the bulk of the manufacturing will be done in the USA.

The proposed KMW/IAI self-propelled gun was in competition with a self-propelled gun offered by Elbit Systems (in cooperation with BAE) and against a proposal by Israel Military Industries to upgrade the M-109 Doher (in cooperation with the German company Rheinmetall).

In 2008, Anniston Army Depot [ANAD] and BAE Systems began a partnership to produce the M109A7 and M99A3 as upgrades to the M109A6 and M992A2 FAASV systems. Low-rate initial production on the M109A7 began in May 2014. The ANAD workforce disassembles Paladins and FAASVs to provide cab structures and overhauls gun and cannon assemblies and other vehicle components. In accordance with the scope of work, those components ultimately arrive at BAEs Elgin, OK, facility to be installed on an entirely new chassis for the M109A7.

IAIs Land Division presented the new platform to the IDF. According to the agreement among the companies, the selfpropelled gun offered to the IDF would be based on KMWs AGM cannon, assembled on the body of an MLRS rocket launcher by Lockheed Martin. The production would be carried out by Lockheed Martin in the US, so that the project can be funded by US foreign defense aid.

IN 2012 IMI teamed with the German company Rheinmetall Defence to offer an upgrade package for the Israel Defense Forces M-109A5 self propelled howitzers. The modular package would enable the IDF to introduce many long awaited upgrades, needed to maintain the M109 in service for 40 years. The upgrade, known as M109I7 Spark, comprised the introduction of a longer 155/52 caliber barrel with improved muzzle break and bore evacuator, sliding breech and automated loader or loader assist system (Automatic Munition Flow or AMF system), reducing the crew from six to only 3-4 gunners.




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