In March 2016, Malaysia Army accepted the offer of 24 units M109A6 Paladin, self-propelled howitzer (SPH) from US under the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) program. The 'Paladins' will boost the firepower capability of Malaysian Army especially for units operating in Sabah. They are expected to arrive in Malaysia next year.
Malaysia is the only country outside the US that'll operate M109A6 Paladin. The Army is expected to field 24 M109 SPH upgraded to the latest A6 standard with another six vehicles used for spares and training.
The M109A6 Paladin is a further upgrade of the M109 self-propelled howitzer, which was introduced in the early 1960s. This M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer entered service with the US Army in 1991. Production ceased in 1999. A total of 950 artillery systems were built for the US Army. Export operators are Israel and Taiwan. With the cancellation of Crusader and NLOS-C programs, the US Army will continue to rely on the M109A6 Paladin artillery system, until it will be upgraded to the M109A7 standard.
The Paladin can stop and fire the first round in under 60 seconds. Brief redeployment time allows to avoid counter-battery fire and gives shoot-and-scoot capability.
Secondary armament consists of a roof-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun. Some vehicles were fitted with 40 mm automatic grenade launcher in place of the machine gun.
The M109A6 is fitted with an automatic fire control system with an integrated navigation and inertial positioning system. It is also fitted with a muzzle reference system.
The vehicle’s inertial positioning and navigation system is integrated with the automatic fire control system.
The 39-calibre 155mm M284 cannon, which is fitted with an M182 gun mount, has a range of 24km using unassisted rounds or 30km using assisted rounds. The projectile loading can be carried out using the full-stroke hydraulic system, or a semi-automatic loading system is optional.
Sources : Defence Blog | Military-Today | Defense Studies