BAE Systems received a contract worth up to $688 million from the U.S. Army to begin Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program.
The PIM is a significant upgrade of the M109A6 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer, restoring space, weight, and power-cooling, while providing growth potential for emerging technologies.
“The award is a significant milestone for both BAE Systems and the U.S. Army,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems. “The PIM team, the program office, BAE Systems, and our suppliers have been working cooperatively throughout the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase of the program to ensure that the Army will field a highly capable howitzer on time and below budget.”
The initial contract was awarded for the base term, valued at approximately $195 million. During this period, BAE Systems will produce 18.5 vehicle sets — 19 PIM howitzers and 18 PIM Carrier Ammunition, Tracked vehicles. Through future options, the Army intends to purchase a total of 66.5 vehicle sets plus spares, kits and technical documentation for a total contract value of $688 million.
The PIM design includes a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system, and improved survivability, while the vehicle’s cannon remains the same as that of the Paladin. These upgrades leverage common mobility components of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, reducing life-cycle and obsolescence costs and enabling the PIM to maneuver with the Armored Brigade Combat Team.
The PIM uses a 600 volt on-board power system, leveraging technologies developed during the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) program. The state-of the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability integrates electric elevation and traverse drives, an electric rammer, and a digital fire control system. This technology provides significant growth potential for future payloads as well as accommodating existing battlefield network requirements.
“PIM will be a significant leap forward for the Field Artillery in terms of tactical mobility and force protection,” said Adam Zarfoss, director of artillery programs at BAE Systems. “Additionally, by incorporating the latest technology for power generation and management, and leveraging gun driver and rammer designs from the NLOS-C program, PIM positions the Army for the longer term with a platform well suited for growth.”
Work on the contract is expected to begin immediately, with delivery of the first vehicle in mid-2015. Vehicle production will take place in York, Pennsylvania and Elgin, Oklahoma.