M109A6 Paladin: U.S. army's heavy hitter joins the fight in Ukraine
The recent conflict in Ukraine, has once again highlighted the importance of artillery on the modern battlefield. As a response, the United States has announced a new military aid package for Ukraine, which includes the provision of 18 M109A6 Paladin 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers.
The M109A6 Paladin is a modern version of an older unit that has been used in various conflicts worldwide, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Its 155mm gun has a maximum firing range of 14.9 miles (24 kilometers) with standard artillery ammunition and 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) with assisted rounds. This range makes it a valuable asset for the Ukrainian army, allowing them to strike enemy positions from a safe distance.
One notable feature of the M109A6 Paladin is its ability to fire M982 Excalibur extended-range precision guided projectiles. These projectiles have a range of up to 40 kilometers and are capable of hitting targets with a high degree of accuracy. This capability can be particularly useful when targeting enemy artillery positions or other high-value targets.
The M109A6 Paladin is also equipped with a secondary armament consisting of a roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. Some vehicles were fitted with a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher in place of the machine gun. This additional firepower can be used to defend the howitzer against enemy infantry or light armored vehicles.
To support the M109A6 Paladin, the US is also providing the Ukrainian army with the M992 ammunition supply vehicle. This vehicle can carry up to 93 rounds of ammunition and transfer them to the self-propelled howitzer via conveyor. This ensures that the howitzer has a steady supply of ammunition and can continue firing for extended periods without needing to reposition or resupply.
Overall, the provision of the M109A6 Paladin and supporting vehicles represents a significant upgrade in the Ukrainian army's artillery capabilities. With its long range and precision firepower, it is a valuable asset that can be used to strike enemy positions from a safe distance and support ground operations. As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the importance of modern artillery systems like the M109A6 Paladin is likely to become even more apparent.