BAE Systems yesterday said it received a $313 million contract modification from the Army for additional engineering design, logistics development and test evaluation support to complete the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program.

PIM is the latest howitzer in the M109 family of vehicles, produced by BAE.

“The PIM program will ensure that the self-propelled howitzer fleet is sustainable in the long term and provides significant growth potential for our customer,” said Joe McCarthy, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles at BAE. “Since we built and delivered the seven PIM prototype vehicles last year, we have completed all contractor tests, as well as Phase One of the Army’s Developmental Test. The additional funding that we are receiving through this contract will allow us to support the remainder of the Army’s rigorous test program and complete the production planning efforts in support of the low-rate initial production decision.”

The upgrade of the PIM ensures commonality with existing systems in the Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and reduces its logistical footprint and operational sustainability costs by replacing obsolete components.

The PIM  howitzer uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6 and replaces unique vehicle chassis components with modern components common to the Bradley family of vehicles incorporated in an improved and more survivable chassis structure.

PIM incorporates a state-of the-art “digital backbone” and power generation capability and integrates electric elevation and traverse drives, electric rammer and digital fire control system. 

Also, PIM is equipped with the company’s enhanced on-board power management capability, representing the first implementation of the Army’s On Board Power Management requirement. BAE’s enhanced on-board power management solution is expected to double the electrical power of most military vehicles, producing 70KW, significantly increasing the mission effectiveness of ground forces in theater.

In August 2009, BAE was awarded a $63.9 million research and development contract to produce five Self Propelled Howitzers and two Carrier, Ammunition, Tracked vehicles. The seven prototypes were delivered to the Army, on schedule, in May 2011.

The work under this contract will be performed at various BAE facilities. The contract was awarded by Army TACOM Lifecycle Command and work is expected to begin in February and is expected to be complete by January 2015.