Army to Demo High-Tech Autoloader for New Extended-Range Howitzer

U.S. Army artillery experts said Friday they hope to demonstrate a working version of the sophisticated autoloader being designed for the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) by the end of this year.

On Friday, Army leaders attended the latest demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, for the ERCA, which launched a rocket-assisted 155mm round and an Excalibur precision-guided round out to 65 kilometers — about twice as far as traditional 155mm artillery.

Army leaders are confident they will field the ERCA’s systems to a battalion in 2023. That will include a M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) howitzer chassis mounted with a 58-caliber length gun tube that fires the new XM1113 rocket-assisted projectile.

“This provides a significantly longer-range capability, so it enables commanders to attack and fight differently,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin told defense reporters during a telephonic round-table discussion after the demonstration.

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Author: Dian Welle